I have a long, storied and not-so-glittering history of self-medication.
Men. Food. At times, though not consistently, alcohol. (Sometimes, all three at once.)
And, since landing a senior-level job and having a lovely amount of disposable income, shopping.
In particular, clothes shopping.
When I was younger, my natural, low-maintenance prettiness allowed me to get away with not investing a whole lot of time or effort on my appearance. I was always clean and smelled good, and attire-wise, I, you know, at least matched, but I didn’t do a lot with makeup, nails or shoes (I lived in strappy, ripstop, multicolored and highly utilitarian Chaco sandals until the very second the snow flew, after which point I would then “upgrade” to Danskos). I rarely even bothered to blow-dry my hair, coming in to work with it hanging in limp, damp chocolate strands, only combing it out once it was dry. Whatever. I had a cute butt and a cute face, and I looked just fine.
Then, one day I woke up and I had a title. The bar had been raised. Stringy tendrils in my seven hours+ of meetings per day just wouldn’t do.
The T-personification of my position started small, with a few trips to Express for some moderately priced, well-cut jackets and pants which did not require ironing. It grew from there, into White House Black Market for form-fitting, flattering but still very work appropriate dresses.
The compliments started. Asides about my fabulous style and “presence” (and yes, I admit did drop a market size or 36 when I moved) were made by my peers and my leadership. I felt pressure to maintain the look, to sustain the daily “You look great!” refrain.
I shopped some more. And more, and more.
I gained a little weight – thank you, stress-eating! – which required me to shop more, and more carefully. I, blessed with an inability to gain weight in the stomach, even post-C-section, started to rock a 50s pinup shape. I upped my style game again.
The compliments continued. They helped mask some deep unhappiness I was feeling (more on that later – maybe). So I kept shopping. And shopping. And shopping. Purses. Shoes. Great underthings. Pajamas – never underestimate the power of a good pair. And dresses. Dresses. Always dresses.
I could cover this, expense-wise. I wasn’t maxing out credit cards or causing myself any real financial consternation, but … this winter, after running down to the mailroom and collecting yet another pile of packages, I decided this unhealthy self-medication, like eating, was something I needed to get a handle on.
So, the No Spend Challenge was born.
Here are the rules:
1) Toiletries, necessities, basic upkeep, and, of course, food allowed. No makeup or expensive skincare/spa treatments.
2) Items for my businesses are allowed.
3) Gifts for others are allowed.
4) Experiences are allowed.
I’ve found this remarkably painless so far, and, though I have a large Amazon shopping cart full of saved items – just so I don’t forget! – I’m managing just fine. This morning, I “shopped my closet” again and put together a bang-up executive outfit. Kinda fun.
84 more days to go!