Six months ago, I whittled my embarrassingly vast wardrobe down to nine paltry items for thirty days, on journey with Jen Hatmaker’s 7.
Today, I stomped around town in pink and orange striped flats, bought for a song at our local grocery store.
These flats encapsulate my inner struggle so perfectly that I’m tempted to leave well enough alone and let them do the talking. But in the end, no one can be expected to concentrate when it comes to talking grocery store shoes – no matter how cute they are.
Here’s the deal, I’m not really “that girl”. That girl is off somewhere teetering around in four-inch Louboutins, or at least wearing trendy jeans, right? She’s not you or me. She shops online under cloak of night. She stuffs bags in the back of the closet when her husband isn’t looking. She maxes out all her cards. She’s the one who has the big, bad problem. Not this girl. This girl doesn’t shop that often. She always pays cash. She’s not a name-brand sort of girl. She finds bargains that will make a weaker sister weep.
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of rationalizations, or as I like to call them, lies.
Because the real truth is, I just really love buying clothes. Clothes I don’t need. Clothes I don’t even love. I can’t possibly be expected to go to TJ Maxx without bringing home a new shirt. I skim those racks so fast it would make your eyelids twitch and oh, will I ever snap something up. It might be a seventeenth gray t-shirt or a thirtieth striped little number. It might possibly be an ill-fitting prairie-girl blouse that I will never wear but that I must have because I’m stuck in a short-lived cowgirl fantasy.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m Pavlov’s dog and “clearance rack” makes me drool.
When I read 7, I did what any fashionista (recovering, repressed, or otherwise) would do – I stuck my head under the covers and tried to believe that the problem wasn’t mine. I stayed there longer than you’d think, but every time I poked my head out, my closet stared me down, the stacks of “smart” purchases sneering back, daring me to tell the truth – that I’m consumer-driven. I care more than I should about my image. I’m greedy. I’m entitled.
So, I jumped in. I fudged Jen’s number (I promise, it’s allowed) and picked 9 items to wear for a month. (You can read all about it here.) In the end, I survived. In many ways, I thrived. And okay, fine, there were isolated moments of muttering unkind words about Jen Hatmaker under my breath as I pulled the hateful red Henley over my head for the umpteenth time.
March came and went but part of me remained changed. No, I didn’t burn my entire wardrobe when the month was up. I didn’t even donate it to charity. But I now take a harder look at the $12.99 wonder making eyes at me. I’m uncovering the unique beauty of being content with what I already have and, even more shocking, what my kids already have (that’s a whole ‘nother post).
I have 30 days of proof that what I wear doesn’t make me happier, smarter, or more interesting. I don’t need three kinds of gingham competing for my attention. Life without stripes is still worth living.
I’m not there yet. I’m still right here, a mess of humanity in frivolous shoes. But my one-month experiment with 7 brought me closer to the edge of less me, more Him. That’s a journey worth taking in any old shoes.