Hello and welcome from a chilly Melbourne to blog #63. Today is the official Month 8 mark of the challenge. I think I'm getting into the swing of it now....
I love coming to Melbourne. Apart from the very shallow reasons of I get to wear my winter boots and overcoats for longer than 10 minutes (which is about how long you can stand to wear them in Queensland before your feet and body turn into blocks of fire), but I get to experience something closer to the season we call Winter. It gets fairly cold here in Melbourne - about 10 degrees Celsius during the day. Throw in howling wind and driving rain and the weather really does become quite fascinating!
So am having a divine time here in Melbourne, negotiating the wind and wearing my woollen overcoat. I was out and about in Collingwood the other day and in one of the many used bookstores, I came across the book that illustrates this posting (left, or above, or where it is located here). How's that? Not only are there 50 shoes that changed the world (who knew?) but someone wrote about it!
Like I did at the Official Month 4 mark of the challenge (remember blog #31?), today seemed a good day to do a review of the last few months. We'll pick up from Month 5 (since the now-classic blog #31 took us up to the end of Month 4 - you can do a quick review of Months 1 through 4 by clicking here, then you'll be ready to take on the review of Months 5 - 8!).
In Month 5, I was in the lead up to my birthday and a one month trip to New Zealand. I blogged about mixing and matching -- a key to "shopping your wardrobe". I took you into my private packing world with Pack it Baby! and when we arrived in Auckland, I wrote about the City of Sales (or Sails, as they insist on spelling it). I had a moment of Near Misses and Misplaced Fear, and I got courageous with Going In - this was also when I first identified with the seagulls in Finding Nemo, a theme I have come back to a couple of times since then. I had my first television appearance on May 5 and blogged about that in blog #37. And I finished the month by waxing lyrical about What's In and Why, leaving us collectively pondering where our own sense of style comes into the equation. Surely, we're not all at the mercy of the fashionistas who determine the trends and merchandise them relentlessly. Right?
Month 6 and I had turned a psychological corner -- I was sure that clothing stores were not the enemy, and I'd had some experiences to back up this developing belief. I'd actually gone into some stores and discovered that I did have the willpower to appreciate what was on display without purchasing or leaving sans-purchase but with a feeling of regret. This felt like progress! I blogged about Napier, the world-wide capital of Art Deco Style. I talked about how I had to be me in Just Looking. I identified 3 kinds of Not Quite New Shopping. We arrived home from New Zealand and I invited you into my arrival home in the ground-breaking Unpack Me! post.
One of my favourite, like ever, posts was written (blog #43) on What Do Clothes Mean? toward the end of May, followed by the final post of the month where I mused about the world of fashion shows in It's Art. It was a prolific writing time for me, and I continued in June with a whimsical post about recycling - Recycled - Buy It Here!, then did a Quick Review of my favourite and most popular posts written so far.
The last post of Month 6 marked the half-way mark of the challenge, and I reflected on the challenge so far here. I wrote about what I'd noticed was how the emotional and psychological parts of the challenge were really the essence of it. Sure, the "not" part (not going shopping) was what was obvious. But the real juice lay just out of line of sight. Who needs Le Carre, Childs and Cornwell when you've got this stuff. Right?
Month 7 and we were sneaking up on Winter here in Australia. In Go Shoppa! I shared some of the studies and statistics that have been unearthed about women and shopping - shocking stuff. On May 10 I was back in New Zealand for a command TV appearance, this time on the Good Morning Show. I also had a boring shopping experience that somehow seemed worth writing about.
Winter proper had arrived -- not only from a seasonal perspective but an emotional one as well. I had some tough times in mid July and blogged about them in Emotions Go Shopping and The Princess Bride. I picked up the theme of a previous topic with Not Quite New Shopping - Clothing Exchanges, rounding out the 4th kind of shopping that doesn't involve buying new. A fun post in New Old Shoes had me musing on the exact rules of the challenge, concluding that gifted and swapped items were allowed. Reasonable. Right?
Month 8 started off with the insightful Exit Here - Via Your Visa. Stuck for ideas, I wrote the forgettable Same Old but New Somehow post which I wont even link to, it's that ordinary. Another favourite post came along in 5 Things I'd Tell You - a round-up of my accumulated wisdom garnered from being on the challenge, which may contain some surprising ideas. I had an emotional Breakthrough toward the end of July -- something I would not have thought possible 7.5 months ago. This which was good, because Today Tonight (the evening magazine TV show on Network Seven here in Australia) came to acquire some footage for a show they're doing on recovering shopaholics. As at the time of writing (yep, on this very day, here in Melbourne), the story is yet to go to air, but I'll keep you posted! I finished up July by giving a Working Definition of "Shop Your Wardrobe", identifying the building blocks of a working wardrobe. It was killer.
Into August we collectively travelled, and I gave some reasons why 12 months without shopping could fulfil your life in ways unimaginable, and why others who had attempted this (the good GAAD people) may have had such trouble with a challenge like this. I wrote about Ange's experience of Skinny Jeans and Poor Service, which boggles the brain. And I finished up Month 8 by devising a definition of Conscious Shopping. All in all, a pretty rich and random set of posts. Right?
Rules schmules? There are rules to writing, and blog writing has its own set of niche norms. Blogs are springing up everywhere, on every conceivable topic, written by citizen journalists all over the world who want to share! Have you noticed?
I try not to follow too many of those writing rules when I sit down to blog twice a week here. This blog is intentionally diary-style and a record of my own experiences, filtered through my particular personality and psychological twitches. When I write about things that may help you (the building blocks of a working wardrobe for instance), I'm reminding myself as much as sharing with you.
I know I'm probably offending the blogging gods somewhere somehow with this approach. I also hope I'm delighting you, dear reader. At least some of the time. I hope that by just being me, that I'm connecting with you. That's the leap of faith I take every time I write like this. Because if I can't be me, and the me I am isn't able to connect with you, then the only reasonable response is to fall to the floor in a foetal position. And that can't be right.
Plus, who's going to make the dinner and bring in the washing? Challenging to do that from the foetal position on the floor. So I continue to be me and live in hope that this is working for you as much as it is for me. Right?