Near Misses and Misplaced Fear

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

 Hello, g’day and kia ora on a crisp autumn morning here in Auckland. We are up to blog #35 and today I’d like to share what’s happened this week on the shopping challenge. Being away from home has a way of helping shift your perspective and see things differently. There’s something about the surroundings being different that somehow gives you a new lens to look through, isn’t there?

This week I had an insight about the shopping challenge, and more specifically, the emotional aspects of it. And I had a near miss, a narrow escape – my visa finger was itching and I was seconds away from breaking the challenge. In backwards order:

Near Misses. No, this is not a new clothing store for tween girls. It’s an experience I had yesterday in downtown Auckland. Now, I should tell you that I absolutely love the Maori Koru symbol – it is beautiful and also meaningful (beginning of life). Knowing I can’t take home clothing, shoes, accessories (mainly because I can’t buy them), we’ve been checking out souvenir shops so we can take back a memento of this trip for the house. I saw a gorgeous glass Koru in a window yesterday and sauntered into the store to check it out. Lo and behold, if this shop didn’t also sell (gasp) jewellery in this same design. They had a stunning Koru glass pendant in my orange tones, at a reasonable price. I put it on and checked myself out in the mirror.

Tell ya, I entered into a temporary state of amnesia at that moment; it was like I had completely unremembered that I was on this challenge. My thoughts were something like: oh isn’t this gorgeous, wont it go with heaps of things, it’ll be a great reminder of this trip, how unique and stunning it is, and oh it’s only $39.99 which is about $12.50 with the exchange rate taken into account. Oooh, I love it! (not only did my memory suffer a loss but clearly my mathematical ability suffered a blow during this time period).

It was like I was in the grip of a powerful force that rendered my rational capacity to think clearly a quivering mass of jelly. Now, we’ve all had a laugh at Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic – cute film! But when she describes the narcotic effect that shopping has on her parasympathetic nervous system (well, she doesn’t use those words, but that’s what she’s talking about), I confess I could relate to it. I was in a semi-hypnotic state, induced by a shiny glass object about 3 cm square.

Somehow I snapped myself out of it, and got myself outa that shop, trailing words over my shoulder….. I’ll think about it… I may be back….

A lucky miss. (which is probably how the girl who got a hug from Justin Beiber felt)

Misplaced Fear. We were wandering around Takapuna the other day (one of the few places in NZ with a Maori name that I can confidently pronounce without fear the locals with laugh politely at my inept pronunciation). When we’d driven through Takapuna, I’d seen a number of clothing, shoe and accessory stores that looked worth looking in. If I wasn’t on the challenge, naturally.

I found myself saying – no, I will not go into those stores! I must stay away from them! That’s the only way I can avoid temptation! When I examined this internal dialogue a little, I noticed something I’d not recognised before. Which is that I’ve been harbouring a secret fear of these stores. Like they’re the enemy somehow. That I will feel so drawn to their contents that I will be unable to resist should I cross their threshold. This seems slightly nuts to me, now that I’ve recognised it and thought about it. These stores may be alluring, but they don’t have the power to bewitch unless I give them that influence.

Easy does it…. So, having that realisation, that I don’t have to literally avert my eyes as I walk past a store displaying attractive clothing, shoes or accessories, is a Good Thing, right? What I need to be aware of is that this doesn’t mean I’m ready to wander into them and pluck inviting items off the racks, dash into the dressing room and try them all on, then with a sanguine toss of the head, walk out of the store purchase-less, without nary a qualm or backwards glance. Such a course of action strikes me as being unnecessarily sadomasochistic (necessary sadomasochism is another matter entirely). So, I’m going easy. I’m stopping to look in the windows, even casting an eye on the racks outside the stores. Such as the shoes in this shot – photo take in Takapuna on Tuesday.

This feels like progress to me. Not necessarily progress you’d notice, but it’s internal progress. Progress I can feel. And that’s got to be a good thing. Right?

In other news, Estelle from Classic Hits FM (a national radio station here in NZ) is interviewing me this afternoon on her drive time show. We’re going to have a chat and a laugh (possibly on me) about my year without clothes shopping. Then Estelle’s going to invite listeners to call in and discuss things they’ve given up (or tried to) for 12 months. Sounds like a lot of fun. Right?

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