Wow. I actually managed to ruin three of my autumn/winter jackets at the same time, plus several T-shirts, jeans and sweaters. Our dryer seems to have switched from thermostat-controlled settings to a simple on/off function, with ‘on’ being the equivalent of ‘blow-torch’. As a result, a substantial part of my wardrobe is now doll-size. Which means – shock-horror – clothes shopping.
I’m the opposite of a shopaholic. A shopaphobic, if there is such a term. Yep, this is about skewed self-image and non-existent self-confidence, an ugly left-over from when I was a spotty teenager, covered in puppy fat and bulging out in all the wrong places at a time when females were ‘supposed to be’ skinny and flat-chested. That’s where it comes from, this deep-seated, crazy-mind certainty that there isn’t a pair of jeans in the world that fits my weird shape, nor a T-shirt that doesn’t make me look like a blob. And I just know, deep deep down, that I am a misshapen goblin on a planet of elves and there are no clothes that will suit me. Ever.
For the record, we do have mirrors in our house. Rationally, I know what my body looks like. Relatively short, average figure, average weight, not ugly not beautiful but somewhere in-between. I quite like me and what I look like. It’s just that the minute I need to buy new clothes my logical mind goes AWOL and is replaced by hyper-hormonal early-teenaged supposedly goblin-shaped me.
So imagine my surprise when my lovely sister and I walked into a fashion store in our local market town yesterday and I felt – fine, actually. I stopped to give goblin-shaped me a chance to catch up, in case she’d slowed over the years, but nothing. I tentatively moved about the aisles, all the while expecting her to jump out at me with the usual chant of ‘you cannot seriously imagine you’d fit in that … this is for normal-shaped people!’ I bee-lined towards some wonderful colours and found a beautiful soft sweater, love at first sight, and still no objections, no jeering from goblin-shaped me: I was clothes shopping for the very first time without any signs of anxiety. Usually I am sick and tired of dragging around clothes shops in ten minutes flat but this time I actually enjoyed being there, looking at all those gorgeous items, selecting the ones I would love to wear on my body.
I’m not sharing this because I want you to know that, at my advanced age, I was still hung up on the same skewed body image I had when I was thirteen – I really don’t! I’m sharing this because I realize that whatever our hang-ups, we are not stuck with them forever. We can change them, and sometimes they even change as a consequence of something else altogether.
That’s what seems to have happened with me, anyway. I never decided to work on my shopaphobia. But I did quite some work on the way I relate to the world at large and where I see myself within it, and I decided to become more aware of old habits that don’t serve me anymore, such as where I settle for mediocre instead of reaching for wonderful, where I put up with what I don’t really want, where I live around others’ expectations instead of actively pursuing my own bliss. Not having done any serious clothes shopping since, this lovely little side effect came as a total surprise. It needn’t have, though, because as T. Harv Eker says: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” Good to know!
So there you have it, folks – I’m now officially an ex-goblin with elfish tendencies and a new-found delight in clothes shopping J ! I wonder what’s next…