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Friday, January 07, 2005

Discovering self-indulgence

Did something yesterday that I rarely do. I actually went shopping and bought myself some new clothes. To put this event into context, you need only hear the words of my Patrick who said:

"Mom, I've never seen you buy clothes for yourself."

He's right. I didn't mean for it to be that way, but it is. And there are a number of reasons. Of course the first is always financial. By that I mean there are always other things deemed of higher priority (by me, not anyone else). Second, and probably equally important, is that I'm NOT a shopper. I've never had the patience, and I get easily overwhelmed by it all.

And then there's the worst reason of all: That somehow I don't feel myself worthy of being able to buy myself clothes. It's stupid, but I am prone to buyer's remorse, wondering if I shouldn't have spent the money after all. This can set in even after spending a measly $30 on a ribbed turtleneck (my winter uniform).

There's hope for me, I believe. Yesterday I partook of guilt-free shopping. I knew it was a successful trip when, after having modeled my purchases for my hubby, I heard not one: "How much did you spend?" comment. He approved, and even seemed pleased that I had spent money on myself.

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions, I believe in making incremental life changes as they become clear to me. Last March I set about on a weight-loss regimen. Really, it was about exercising regularly and eating a LOT less — more a lifestyle change than a diet. As a result, I lost 25 pounds.

But for the past year, I've not bothered to buy myself new clothes, particularly pants, because I've been enjoying the feeling of loose clothing. And maybe, deep down, I wanted to make sure I could maintain the weight loss.

While staying at my sister's at Thanksgiving, Jen, who's much better at shopping than I (and really the only person I care to shop with) looked at me and shook her head when I got dressed.

"You're not still wearing those Big Yank jeans are you?" she asked. I looked down and realized yes, they were awfully big (but REALLY comfy). "Come with me," she said, grabbing me by the arm and shuffling me off to her splendid walk-in closet, loaded with all the latest fashions. "Try these," she said, holding out a pair of hipster, bootcut jeans.

"I'll never be able to fit in those," I said. (That's always been my pat answer.)

"Try. Them. On."

"Okay, okay," I said. I put them on and couldn't believe they fit really well. Jen was ecstatic and ran back into closet, emerging with a very cool belt. The outfit was complete.

"You look FABU!" she said. (You've got to know Jen to understand her lingo.) The true test is what my guys would think. They were all very sweet in their approval. Jen gave the jeans and belt to me as a gift and inspired me to buy more. How sweet it all was yesterday finally spending guiltlessly. It improved the way I look but – more important – how I feel about myself.

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