Could the obsession be over?

2014 has offered me up a bit of an identity crisis – in terms of clothing that is. It’s hard to believe – could it be, why not, who could be mistaken?

I might just not care anymore.

I asked my brother to accompany me to Anthropologie for a sturdy price adjustment from a purchase months ago. My brother has in my weaning period become a reluctant supporter of what we term this duty of price adjustments for what it is: “nonsense.” His presence has tempered the derailing that can happen in a store with precious notions like Anthropologie.
Like all price adjustments, it was work, time-consuming. Money with multiple purchases and returns has been recycled and returned to the credit card, and requires jumping through hoops to get a restart purchase date. Two weeks after the latest re-purchase, now, the day was nigh. But we are in a new year, with new eyes after a trip.

We walked into the store, immediately smacked by the lovely and comforting scents of candles. It’s a smell that usually at once makes me feel comfort and luxury, mixed with my own heroin(e) smack adrenalin sweat of a gambler about to hit a craps table.

I bee-lined to the register, tasting cash back like a fresh kill. I’ve always softened the rush I get because pretty clothes are at the other end. I get the ground level of bartering at a bazaar, and a one-up on corporate greed. I got 80 bucks back – money I intended to spend on printing photos for my son of our spectacular trip to Africa.

It worked. I liked getting an item for what it’s actually worth, rather than settling for the corporate mark up. At this point, habitually, I would walk around to see if there was anything new I liked to obsess over for the future, or items I already had that had gotten “furthers,” a term retail uses when something on sale gets marked down even more. I found two items that had been further marked down. The sizes were different though which meant I’d have to settle for the wrong size just to keep the price where I liked it.
But the amazing thing was, I couldn’t even remember what I’d paid. My brain had been wiped clean. I’d been in markets negotiating with Zimbabwean ex-pats; I’d been traipsing around Mozambique watching seamstresses sewing the clothes from brightly colored fabrics right there in front of you. Artisans working on their own goods, a far cry from the corporate chain of bottom lines.

Looking around Anthropologie, it hit me. I was bored. To the core. I was uninspired and everything smacked of pretension. I’ve grown weary of these flouncy, lace-choked, over-priced, precious items I formerly had viewed as darlings. The scents and people in Africa were real and gritty, not this prefabricated candle miasma.

Africa had cured me. Real life was happening all around us, and traveling reset me. Yes, I’d shopped, but gathering my own collections from around the world instead of settling for what is being presented just because it’s here, has more merit to me, more memory of an experience.
I have ideas for fabrics, but those are of my own designs, though I’m a long way from feeling steady with a sewing machine.

I took an armload of clothes back to Nordstrom Rack’s, too. And that felt even better. I got two huge boxes and started pulling down endless shirts that had been falling on my head. I may not give them away or sell them just yet, but I certainly don’t need to be buried alive under them either. I want to live!

2014 will be all about enjoying and appreciating the beautiful clothes – many still with price tags attached – that I already have. And if it is past its time, in the box it goes. Stay tuned for the minimizing. This huntress and gatherer’s stomach has shrunk. The splurge is in the purge.

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