Thursday, October 31, 2013

Freedom

I'm done.  This shirt "fast" has been a good thing for the past two and a half weeks, but it's over.  Yes, I know.  I said until the 15th, but I have to stop.

My reasons:

First of all, mission accomplished, for now.  I AM now more grateful and satisfied with what is hanging in my own closet, and that urge to shop shop shop has died down.  I will remember this, and pull back on my wardrobe variety in the future when this issue crops up again for me.  I know it will.

Second of all, I realize my own foolishness.  I put burdens on  myself that neither the Orthodox Church nor God is putting on me, and this is a very heavy load indeed.   I need to learn to submit myself to a little bit of freedom every now and then.  I like rules and I like boundaries, but then I get depressed and go crazy with self imposed nonsense like this.  I am broken.

Thirdly:  I am betwixt and between.  I've lost some weight and most of my skirts from last fall/winter no longer fit me in the same way and everything is saggy baggy and very very frumpy.  I'm having a hard time finding replacements.  I am also finding that it is TIME to start sitting under my full spectrum light for 15 minutes a day.  Depression has started dogging me again.  Happens every year.

Fourth:  I have enough going on in my life without some silly shirt experiment.

So yes, all of you five readers out there who "know" me by now:  You were right.  I didn't last.  I don't mind.  This, too, is good for my humility.

Now, what the heckldydeck am I going to WEAR?  ;-) 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blue Shirt Project Update

Well, I"m about a week or so in to the blue shirt project...it's been a good week.  I wore my blue shirts except for the days when I was sick at home and in my jammies/lounge-wear.  There is a stomach bug making its way through our family. 

But other than that, there's nothing much to say.  I mean, it's JUST CLOTHES....and I sure do like not thinking much about what I'm wearing.  I sure do like not having a yen to hunt for things at the thrift store. 

And I DID actually go to the thrift store today.  Twice.  This morning I had to go to the dentist to get a filling replaced, and they shot me up with so much novocaine that I went to the Goodwill that is next to the dentist office before driving all the way home...so that the medicine would wear off for a bit and I would not be so shaky.  I bought NOTHING. 

It was a proud moment. 

Then, this evening I took Bethany out to get some supplies at the pet store for her Angora Bunny, and afterwards we swung in to the local Goodwill so that she could see if there was a suitable fall jacket to be found.  She did find a cute pink fleece jacket, and I browsed the skirts as I always do and found nothing worth getting.  Did not even glance at the tops.  I'm so sick of it all. 

This is progress, y'all.  This is exactly the kind of personal growth I as looking for:  Less of a shopping yen, and more peacefulness. 

I don't think I'm going to go out and get rid of all my clothes when I'm done with my plain blue shirts month, but I DO think I will be more content with what I already have been blessed with. 

Feeling grateful. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Quote

"Our seventh struggle is against the demon of self-esteem, a multiform and subtle passion which is not readily perceived even by the person whom it tempts. The provocations of the other passions are more apparent and it is therefore somewhat easier to do battle with them, for the soul recognizes its enemy and can repulse him at once by rebutting him and by prayer. The vice of self-esteem, however, is difficult to fight against, because it has many forms and appears in all our activities - in our way of speaking, in what we say and in our silences, at work, in vigils and fasts, in prayer and reading, in stillness and long-suffering. Through all these it seeks to strike down the soldier of Christ. When it cannot seduce a man with extravagant clothes, it tries to tempt him by means of shabby ones. When it cannot flatter him with honor, it inflates him by causing him to endure what seems to be dishonor. When it cannot persuade him to feel proud of his display of eloquence, it entices him through silence into thinking he has achieved stillness. When it cannot puff him up with the thought of his luxurious table, it lures him into fasting for the sake of praise. In short, every task, every activity, gives this malicious demon a chance for battle."
-- St. John Cassian
 
Perhaps a better translation of "self-esteem" would be vainglory, say some.  But yes.  This.  My struggle.  Forever.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Blue Shirt Project

Remember a few years ago, when I did the brown dress project, where I only wore a brown dress (I had two of them) for a month?  Well, it is time for me to do something similar again.

I am trying to curb my acquisitiveness.  I am like a magpie collecting shiny things when it comes to clothes.  This must stop.  And I am ready to do violence to this passion.

I am going to dress plain.  Or at least plainer than I have been.  Sort of.  I made some blue shirts, in a style that will work for me in the urban context in which I dwell, and this is what I will wear.  The reason I chose to make myself four blue shirts for this project as a collection of random reasons:  Blue is my husband's favorite color, blue is also standing for/reminding me of the Theotokos.  Blue is a pretty good neutral color that looks OK on me.  It is soothing and calming.  I chose to sew them from scratch mostly because I can, but also a little bit to gain an appreciation for how much work goes into clothes.  Every item in my closet was made somewhere, by some human  being whose hands were busy, whose back ached, and who likely got paid very very little to do that work.

Clothes are fast, cheap and easy for me, being the thrift store shopper that I am.  And I don't want them to be so anymore.  I want them to be slow, deliberate, a bit more difficult and much more rare.  Clothes and the creation of outfits as a form of entertainment....getting more because I'm BORED with what is already hanging in my closet....getting more because of that indescribable LONGING mood that strikes from time to time....so. not. spiritually. healthy.

I know some of you know what I'm talking about.

So this is a fast, of sorts.  It's not an experiment.  And perhaps I ought not to be blogging about this at all.  I don't know.  Look at me, I'm being WEIRD.  I'm FASTING!!!!

But the fact of the matter is, I identify a sin in my life and this is what my particular path of repentance needs to look like.  I am a person who does not do well without structure and boundaries and rules.  Without such, I am all dissipation, sloth, gluttony and greed.  

We are one month way from the start of the Nativity fast and for starters I will commit to a month of blue shirts.  I have an array of black and brown and denim skirts that I will pair with them, and cardigans as necessary.  My headscarf collection has been pared way way down as well, to only a few that will coordinate with these blue shirts.  This is about keeping it simple.

I'm not going to dump all that is in my closet...yet.  But I do want to pare it down at some point.  But nothing done in haste.  For now:  Blue shirts.