Monday, April 15, 2013

Month 4 of No Shopping for Clothes + Partnerships

These fabrics will soon be swishy dresses and skirts...
So I'm halfway into the fourth month of the year I've vowed not to buy clothes, and I'm itching for something new to wear for spring. It was easy the first couple of months, but now...not so much. In the droll winter months, when the world is grey and dark, it's easy to forget about fashion.

But then the season shifts, and ahh, it's spring.

And warm.

And all I want to wear are long swishy skirts or dresses with sandals. I don't want to think about my outfit; I just want to throw it on, brush my hair, and be ready for the day. Although that's not quite how it happens...I do spend alot of time picking out my outfits and it takes at least 20 minutes a morning to get the comb through, then tame with a variety of oils, my hair. Still, I like to look as though it is effortless. Only thing is, for some odd reason, at the end of last summer, I gave alot of my long swishy skirts and dresses away. I had been hurt, and foolishly believed that reinventing myself somehow would ease the pain. But here's a fact - in warm weather, I hate to wear pants. Now I have a closet full of smooth, professional pairs that look like they belong to a middle-aged attorney. A middle-aged male attorney.


So, it's off to the fabric store on Saturday, where I find a delish African-ish fabric to make a new dress. Later that weekend, someone gives me three 5X tops, brand new, that I'll cut into strips and make a skirt with. I'm very excited about these projects, but here's the catch - I prefer to sew by hand. Always have. To be totally honest, my sewing machine freaks me out a little, and while I've already made two dresses this year (part of the reason I took the vow not to buy any new clothes was to inspired myself to make them,) I've not taken the bloody machine out in months.

What does that mean? It means that, in order to reach even these small dreams and goals, I need time. Time that is precious, and in short supply.

Talking with a friend yesterday, we discussed partnerships, i.e. marriage, and the notion of 'double income families.' Is it really the ideal to have as much money as possible at the cost of very little time together? I ask the kids in the neighborhood if they are excited about summer break, and several of them sigh and say, "No, I'll just be in daycare instead of school." I think about some of my friends, who do not work outside of the home in order to either homeschool their children, or simply be there as a steady, constant part of their day when they come home from school. Money can be tight, so they live simply. But here is the thing - they live. And one thing they have that I envy is time. Time with their children, their spouses, and time for themselves. Life is not a mix of running to a from a timeclock. They don't live just for weekends. They have a sweet sense of freedom, and their spouses/partners? They, too, are less stressed. They work, and they handle the finances, and they come home and enjoy time with their families. Some of the stay-at-homers are men. Some are women. But here's my theory - I believe we are at a point in society where we're realizing that allowing our children to be raised by schools and daycare and having precious little sacred family time just so that we can have all sorts of gadgets and huge house and this, that, and the other...well...maybe that's not progress.

Maybe somewhere, somehow, someone needs to actually be there with the children, and for the children, and the home. I don't mind being the breadwinner, no. I don't mind being the homemaker, either. But being both affords precious little time to be, well, anything else. A writer friend of mine quit working years ago when it was determined that the family could make it just on one income. While her child is in school, she spends half of her day writing books - something that was difficult to accomplish when she was juggling a 'career' with being a parent and a wife. She's deliriously happy and by making simple adjustments to their lifestyle, they have not only done fine on one income, but they've even traveled abroad...twice. Now her books are beginning to get attention. The second income is coming in, and her dreams for herself and her family are being realized. Hmmmmmm....

Someone has to work. Someone has to take care of home and family. Everyone has dreams. Kids need parents who are not exhausted and overworked. Dreams are damn hard to realize when, at the end of the day, one is too exhausted to move, much less sit down in front of a computer, a sewing machine, or an easel. So here's my theory - life's just easier if you a) live simply b) have a partnership c) realize that sometimes we need to live simply and have a partnership if we want to reach our dreams, whether they are small ones like making a few clothing items, or big ones, like becoming all we know that we can be because there's someone else who believes in us, who makes our life easier by being the other half of our partnership.

Of course...that's just my observation. Now I must step over the basket of laundry that needs to be put away later and step into the bathroom that has to be cleaned this evening, and get ready for work, a stressful work that will consume the bulk of my day's hours. The stacks of fabric sit in a chair. Outside there are seedlings that need to be planted. My son has a guitar lesson later this afternoon that he'll need to be taken to, and groceries will need to be purchased. My eyes burn from lack of sleep, as I have a deadline on a article that I've been burning the midnight oil to write.

Everything seems to have a deadline when there's only one person to meet it.

But summer is coming...

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