Pretty Cotton Tops and Designer Jeans

Starting on the non spiritual basis of materialism: I desire to spend coming on and I’m not quite sure why.

I’ve been scrolling Hiut Denim’s website (£200 for a pair of jeans) and Toast: ‘Tops and Tees”. I am fantasising about blasting my meagre savings in one fell swoop. This would be a terrible thing to do.

I found myself putting together outfits in my head to wear for my new volunteer job in a local mental health drop-in centre. So perhaps it has something to do with that and feeling anxious about a new round of commitments on the horizon. I calmed myself down with a promise to buy myself some new clothes when my spending target has been met in roughly eleven months. After that I can be as irresponsible as I want.

I did have some Hiut related experiences today. Firstly, I had to go to a new cafe today, horror of horrors. My usual venue has discovered some potentially unsafe wonky flooring since yesterday and is closed until further notice. This really threw me off course. My usual cafe is very spacious and quite ordinary, the staff are friendly, and I can get a bowl sized filter coffee for about £2.30. But because this option was not available, and I had to be out because I was having some property management visitors at home, I was forced to branch out to the local middle-class arty place.

So anyway, the very fresh-faced late middle-aged proprietor of arty venue was wearing Hiut denim. Actually, she was a model on the website until recently, which is how I knew she was sporting designer jeans. This is because she is a local entrepreneur, and the managing director of Hiut is very into trendy locals. My ex yoga teacher also models for them.

I would say that they have a pretty effective marketing strategy. Take a look at their website. I also happened to see the owner of the company on the high street, by Barclays’ cash machine, before I went to the arty cafe. This guy was featured as one of Apple’s revered ‘creatives’ of the year, a while back, along with people like Michaela Coen.

Sometimes I just like to take a look at Toast and Hiut for something to do — relaxation. I like nice designs. This doesn’t always precipitate a desire to spend money. But today I noticed that they have larger female models now, and larger sizes, and I think it was this that made me want to buy a new pair of jeans. The jeans on the larger women looked equally nice. I do actually have a pair already, but they are too small since my lockdown + anti-psychotic spread developed.

Once I had found the suitable pair of jeans (£185) then of course I needed some new tops to complete my look. By which time my spending spree, with an extra pair of jeans thrown in for good measure, was the new hole money had burned into my pocket. I’m hoping that by writing about this I can figure out what’s going on, and not going on a spending spree. I’m ‘taking inventory’.

When I saw my therapist yesterday she was very impressed that I have managed to save some money. “That’s a real change,” she said. I really wanted to go on and on about what a big deal this was, but she got it. Maybe, because things are looking up: I’m back in therapy, doing a couple of new voluntary jobs, and applying for another one; as well as writing this blog and enjoying being lazy watching TV every night (no partner to worry about), maybe I want to sabotage. Create some problems for myself and feel bad about. Feeling bad is very familiar territory.

Yesterday I put foundation on for the first time in weeks. I have been happy being make-up free and not really worrying about how I look. I’m not sure I don’t look better without make-up and yet, since I was fourteen or so, I have very rarely gone more than a day or so without any make-up.

There is less pressure in Wales to present an image. There are more fashionable folk around here than used to be the case. But it’s nothing like living in London, for me anyway. I always felt like I was on display. Having to match up to some impossible standard. But being older now as well, and not worried about finding love, I don’t really care that much how I look or what clothes I wear. That said, I do have quite a few nice things hanging in my wardrobe. I’m not walking about in rags from The Salvation Army shop.

For the past two days I started wearing make-up again. Yesterday my therapist and I decided I’m not really depressed now. As I was a couple of weeks earlier. So perhaps I’ve just been too depressed to wear make-up. And perhaps that’s why I want some new clothes, because I’m no longer depressed and have regained in interest in my appearance. Or maybe I’m more on the manic side.

I’m also withdrawing from nicotine nasal spray, which is quite intense and my feeling are crashing about like waves.

I could ask myself the somewhat embarrassing psychoanalytic question: What would the new jeans and tops allow me to do that I can’t do at the moment? A: I’d feel complete like there was nothing else to be achieved. I’d be me. I’d have a sort of uniform of pretty tops and smart designer jeans and would be free to concentrate on other stuff. I’d look nice.

Hmmmmm. So there it is, my analysis of the situation. Let’s see if I go on a spending spree between now and tomorrow. I somehow doubt it, noting my ludicrous rationale. Is it greed? Is it envy of the successful entrepreneurs dotted about where I live? The ‘well to do’?

I am usually protected from the well-to-do in my go-to cafe. Now that I am taking on these humble voluntary roles am I being faced with the spectre of the lack of my status as a well-to-do person? So do I want to compensate for my lack of status in the world with expensive clothing; as though I really were well-to-do rather than not an involuntary and humble pauper? I think that’s it. I am a wannabe well-to-doer that isn’t.

One of the reasons I got sober in my twenties, and went to art college, was because I wanted to be well-to-do. A successful X. Maybe artist. It never occurred to me I might fail to achieve status. I mean, I didn’t fail to become an artist, but I can’t earn a living from painting or writing. I never worried about that at all. Earning a living was no concern of mine. My mother was like this — above worldly concerns, or else not overly concerned with them. But my mother grew up with multi-millionaires and inherited a small fortune. I don’t have a familial cushion to fall back on, thanks to my mother.

It’s hard to know where to go after that thought — am I still so angry with mum that I am refusing to take responsibility for myself? To grow up finally? Maybe.

I really should be over this childish obsession with presenting an image rather than trying to work on building character. Haven’t I learnt anything from all that TV I watch! Drama is all about the building of character, about character’s that fail to live well e.g. become murderers or the like. The pitfalls of living. Of being human. Life beyond the superficialities consumerism forces upon us.

The truth is that I rather enjoy being a bit scruffy. Being beyond the ability to present a perfect image. There’s a certain amount of freedom in it. Facing the fact of ones own personal powerlessness when it comes to the option of others and what they are going to do and to not do. One can’t, for example, make someone fall in love with you by looking good, or trying to present some kind of alluring image; contrary to what the adverts tell us. The flashy marketing strategies.

I recently (a few days ago) returned to Twitter, after swearing off for at least six months and failing. And I have been viewing the adverts of Hiut. So maybe that’s it. My behaviour is attempting to be modified by one of the social media giants. My thwarted needs and desires are being accessed by businesses attempting to extract my funds. I am engaged in a battle for my soul. And who knows, thanks to step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it, the spiritual life is winning — just for today.

Published by unipolar2

I’m a writer living in Wales

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