When I was a teenager I would buy clothes to impress others. In fact, I’ll never forget the day I received my first pay cheque from my part-time job at Mcdonalds. I was 15 -years- old and the first thing I did after I cashed my cheque was hop on the sky train so I could shop on Robson Street. I felt the biggest sense of independence. Finally, I was going to buy clothes my mom didn’t choose for me; I was going to buy expensive clothes. The more money I made, the more I spent. My part-time income became a bi-weekly shopping spree. I even skipped school to work shifts at Mcdonalds to fund my clothing addiction!
I’ll never forget the one time I walked into a store and spent my entire pay cheque on a belt. A belt! The price of that belt cost me two weeks of serving burgers and fries at Mcdonalds on the corner of Broadway and Commercial for 40 hours! But man did I ever look good. I mean, I had an iceberg belt. No one in my grade could afford an iceberg belt. Or they probably just weren’t stupid enough to spend everything they had on a belt! Or perhaps they didn’t feel the need to impress others with what they were wearing. But I did. I did feel the need to show up in the latest and greatest name brand clothing. And you know what, this need to impress others with my clothes didn’t end in high school. It actually stayed with me well into my adult years.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like” -Dave Ramsey
In my early twenties, I didn’t spend an entire pay cheque on a belt, but I would feel the need to buy something new every time I had a birthday, function, wedding, basically anytime I was going to be around people! I was so addicted to shopping that I would rip tags off of my clothes in the car before I brought them home so my husband wouldn’t notice I bought something new. And if he did suspect something was new, I would tell him the outfit was so old, he probably just didn’t remember it! My wardrobe became quite large, but my mind always felt like it wasn’t enough.
Once I became more comfortable in my inner skin, ( not the thick, tough outside who felt the need to impress others with external things) something in me shifted. I no longer needed the expensive belt to impress people. In fact, I no longer felt the need to impress anyone else except myself. My outer shell began to crack, and slowly I didn’t give a shit how much my outfit cost or where I got it from. I started to love to tell people my dress was $9.99 from winners, or my swimsuit top was $4.99 at target and you know what I still do. I think I’m wearing a $5 dollar tank top from H&M at this very moment.
The point of explaining my need to impress others in my past is because it was a shitty way to live. On the outside, it may have looked like I had my shit together because my outfit was put together. The truth is, I probably spent everything I had on that name brand outfit. And then, I would wait until I got paid again so I could buy some more clothes. This addiction wasn’t healthy for my soul, my finances, and especially my self-worth.
Don’t get me wrong I still love fashion, and I still buy things. I just don’t buy them because I feel the need to impress others with it. I buy it if I like it. I buy it if I can afford it. And, to be honest, most of the time I’m buying my kids stuff instead of myself.
And you know what?
And I can still whip together a cute outfit (on a budget!)