Friday, 20 September 2013

My shopping ban

On the 20th August 2013, I put myself voluntarily on a shopping ban. I got a dear friend to join me. It did not take much convincing because we both did it once before and spectacularly failed within 3 days. In the interest of full disclosure, my damage was a big box of Calvin Klein underwear, which I desperately needed at the time. Note to anyone contemplating on embarking on a shopping ban: make sure you have decent underwear before you do anything.

The shopping ban was supposed to be a month, loosely defined by me as 30 days. That pretty much meant it concluded on the 18th September 2013. We both graduated with flying colours. I officially ended my ban, while my friend continues with hers until Christmas. She asked if I would like to continue with her, I was not sure. And as in the case when I was not sure about something, I declined.

The aim of my voluntary admission into the shopping ban is primarily because I want to know whether I have a shopping addiction (and also because I desperately want to have something to blog about). A lot of people define shopping addiction differently, and I am not really interested in going down that discussion path. During the ban, my test would in the form of the kind of withdrawal symptoms I experience. I admit that there were moments during which I felt edgy and rather annoyed that I did not have the choice to purchase, but I am happy to report that I did not feel like purchasing all of those things that were loaded in my virtual shopping carts - a sure sign that those potential purchases are impulsive in nature. It was especially hard when ASOS was having an additional 10% off sale items, which made certain things ridiculously affordable, definitely desired but totally not needed.

I guess in some ways, I do have a shopping addiction. I am not sure I can ever be free from this "addiction", and I have resigned to the fact that the best I can do is to actually manage it. This is because as I have said over and over and over again, I like beautiful things: looking at them, touching them, smelling them... ha!

There is no secret to the successful execution of not-shopping other than the fact that one has to actively work on the passive act of not shopping. Controlling the urge to do anything is difficult, almost as difficult as motivating oneself to do something, perhaps because they are essentially the same thing. To not do something often requires us to do something else, which we may or may not like as much as the thing that we are abstaining from.

Whilst I temporarily stopped shopping, what I did not stop doing is evaluating my wardrobe, and this is one of the many revelations that I had during the ban: my hobby is associated with my wardrobe more than with shopping. So I learn this rather powerful skill called editing, and for the first time in my life, understand why there are professions called "editors".

The shopping ban was not easy, takes a lot of concious effort and is definitely worth it. I say this because I did not have a binge session at the completion of the ban, although I realised that this was a very real possibility, and was something that I was rather scared of. I don't have a secret weapon on how to handle this, it just that while the opportunity to binge did present itself a number of times, I have no desire to succumb to temptation. Why this was the case I have no idea. Meanwhile, I will just be happy to getting one step closer to a well-curated wardrobe.  

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