The urge to shop
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 23:55:29 +0000
I haven’t lived in my bus Shid since May 14th.
When we learned we couldn’t live in it for awhile, we thought it was only going to be a couple of weeks. So we grabbed a couple of outfits each, a handful of tools and only what we thought we would need to survive for a short period of time.
Soon, weeks stretched into months. Fast forward to the present, we have been away from Shid for 151 days (4 months and 28 days).
After moving 15 times in 3 months, at the beginning of September we finally moved into a permanent place where we knew we could stay as long as we needed. I let out the longest sigh of relieve when I realised I was going to be able to store my few possessions in a real wardrobe instead of fishing out my clothes from a backpack.
However, now that I had all this space, I was soon hit by an unexpected urge to shop.
After all that time wearing the same two outfits, I was longing to look different. I wanted to wear something, anything, else. I was craving dresses and skirts, as well as makeup. All I had been wearing in the previous months had been black jeans and baggy jumpers.
I found myself roaming into shops quite frequently. Even though I hardly ever bought anything, I did spend quite some times checking out and trying on clothes, just to see what that felt like. I wrote things down in my wish list and thought about them a lot.
I ended up buying a couple of things, and I was also lucky enough to be given a mountain of hand-me-downs from different friends. I also acquired some minimal makeup.
It’s been so much fun to finally wear more feminine clothes. I love playing around with gender, and clothes and makeup play a big role in challenging gender stereotypes. But now that we are moving out again (stay tuned to know more about upcoming adventures!), I found myself overwhelmed by too many possessions again.
To be fair, it seems like 90% of my life consists of getting rid of stuff. In spite of trying my best to be intentional with everything I own, I still struggle to say no to things coming into my life (like in this case, most things I acquired were actually given to me).
So yesterday I dumped all my clothes on my bed and went through the pile thoroughly. I ended up getting rid of a lot of the hand-me-downs and, although I decided to keep everything I had bought myself, I still held up every piece and asked myself whether it carried enough value and purpose to be worth keeping.
As I brought an enormous box of stuff to the op shop, I found myself reflecting on why we feel the need to buy things.
The fact that I had managed to live off of two outfits and barely nothing else for almost five months surely meant that I actually didn’t need anything more than what I had. But I certainly had been feeling constrained by my limited options, and unable to truly express myself. I had no idea clothes played such an important role in my gender identity, so that was something interesting to learn.
I also think I had this buzzing urge to acquire more things just because I could. Of course I wouldn’t buy anything new if I had to carry it around with me in a backpack at all times. But once I had a bigger space that could accomodate more possessions, it was way easer to introduce new things into my life.
Between me and Luke combined, since we’ve been living in this house, we have acquired a desk, a bed frame, some hiking gear, new hiking boots, more clothes, and generally just more stuff that we will have to deal with once we move back into the bus.
That’s why I am excited to go back to a smaller place. I do believe that living in Shid makes me more intentional about everything I own, and it’s a great middle ground between living in a real house and out of a backpack.
Stay tuned if you want to know what’s coming up in my chaotic life. In the meantime, stay well everyone, and think twice before buying new stuff!