I am going to start this post with the least shocking thing you've heard all day.
Here it is: I love to shop. Like, a lot.
It's been a thing for as long as I can remember. The feeling of coming home with new dresses, jumpsuits and high waisted denim, each accompanied by a made-up scenario in my head about chic Happy Hours and whimsical museum trips literally gives me butterflies. Butterflies like the ones I got over my 7th grade crush, but bigger. Much bigger.
Now, there are people in this world who treat going to the mall like a fashion show, or the perfect opportunity to find their Friday night plans (side-eye emoji). So, they get dressed in the cutest crop tops, lay that lash glue with precision and make sure every hair is in place.
I am not that person. Nope. Not even a little.
I treat shopping the way some treat sports. You don't contour your cheek bones for hours of strenuous thought, mental activity and kinetic energy. Nope, you absolutely do not.
I hit the mall with a naked face and a bun. I may wear glasses, out of fear of a turtleneck sweater brushing my eyeball and knocking my contact lens out. We can't have that. One cannot continue shopping with lopsided vision.
In fact, if you see me in athleisure, there is a good chance I am either going to, or returning from, the mall.
The point is this- I take shopping seriously.
And there is a method to it. Once, I've perused the aisles and made my selections, I have a whole fitting room system. I usually put on each piece, do a turn or two, photograph it and give it about 5 seconds of serious thought.
Then, I place it.
It either goes on the "yes" peg, the "no" chair or the "maybe" hanger hook on the back of the door.
Obviously, the first two are pretty self explanatory.
The "maybe" pile, however, can be tricky. You see, for something to land in the "maybe" hook, it means I never had that "wow" moment. Whether it be a dress that hugs in ALMOST all the right places or boyfriend jeans with that one rip that they could have done without.
Some detail, usually small, kept the "wow, this is everything" moment at bay.
A small thing, because a big thing, would have landed it on the chair.
Recently I went shopping at the Dillard's Discount store in Montgomery. I was with a girlfriend, and we took full advantage of the President's Day Sale that featured an additional 50 percent off of the already marked down pieces in the story.
For two early 20-somethings working in news, that was a call to pull dozens of dresses off the racks and spend hours sifting through them.
So, inevitably, I had my three piles. I had finished sorting through my finds, when I was getting ready to go back through my “maybe” pile and make my final decisions.
But something stopped me.
I looked at my "yes" peg. The shimmery wrap dress that screamed "New Years Eve on a rooftop with a red lip and a bubbly drink", the edgy red and black blazer that I instantly felt was the solution to my stations no-sleeveless rule and the orange body con I just knew would make a live shot pop.
Each of the things on my "yes" peg were pieces that made my heart flutter and created an image in my mind of a great day, with great memories and fierceness.
Then, I looked at my "maybe" pile. Things that didn't make me feel that way, things that would cost me money and things that could absolutely make someone else's "yes" pile if I would just release them back into the sea of discount dresses and jumpsuits.
I put them on the go-back rack and checked out.
For the first time in my shopping career, I put my "maybe" pile back and simply just enjoyed my "yes" things.
Now, as ridiculous as this whole thing sounds...it really happened (it did), I realized I want to start approaching shopping and (mostly) my life this way. Embracing what fits and serves and shines, and being okay with letting go of the things that don't really mesh.
You see, I know it can be really easy to put something down if it makes you feel bad, look bad or just flat out hugs you the wrong way. I'm pretty sure lots of people have no problem with passing on licking the bottom of your rainboots, driving into oncoming traffic and stapling their own fingers together.
It's also really easy to embrace the things that come naturally to us and instantly make us feel great. Think your discounted dresses, beach trips and extra whipped cream on your ice cream.
But it's the things that make us stop and consider....could this work? Could I somehow make this fit and be good for me? Those things are trickier.
And I'll say this- I think some things deserve the question. They do. I think going to the gym the first few times feels like crap, but with some consistency and discipline...you learn to love it and it makes you better.
I think learning to cook healthy food instead of running through the drive-through on the way home, waking up an hour earlier to spend time with the Lord, creating a budget, telling the truth and forgiveness are all things that initially don’t come easy. They get better with time.
But friends, I think there are some things that were meant to be put on the rack to be sent back out. Out to somewhere that isn't your life and your heart. Somewhere that's frankly none of your business as long as it's not with you.
I think these are things like toxic friends who constantly make us feel like we're never doing enough, hurtful boyfriends and girlfriends who often leave us feeling empty and thirsty for a genuine kind of love and activities and jobs that just constantly leave us anxious and tired without the satisfaction and assurance that we are, in fact, where we're supposed to be.
Lunch dates with people who aren't for us, extra long to-do lists that don't move us forward and hours of stressing over things that only ever make us feel small. Things that don't fit. Not because we aren't enough to make them fit, but because they were never meant to.
And please know that if you make it your business to desperately hold on to your "maybe" pile, the things that really aren't for you, there will not be a day where those things ask you to let them go.
People will absorb your love and energy, without any intention of giving it back.
Why would someone cut your love off? Why would someone say no to your affection, body, endless giving, favors and attention?
They won't, friend. They will not. They will, however, take and take and take until you are left with nothing. Then, when you muster up some more stuff and stand back up, they will gladly take some more.
You have to stop, friend. You have to stop trying to love someone into being good to you. You have to stop offering up yourself as a human sacrifice to someone or something that has repeatedly, or honestly even once, shown you that it will destroy you if you let it.
If you're honest, and that's totally up to you, you will know what's right and what's not.
You don't have to tell everyone, although I do think you should tell someone. You don't have to wave it like a banner of pride. You just owe it to yourself to ask yourself how long you are willing to deal with nonsense. Ask yourself if you deserve it. Ask yourself why you're willing to wade through pain, disappointment and dissatisfaction when there are so many things in this life that will leave you full and closer to your purpose.
I have been steadily asking God to search my heart, and show me things that offend Him. Show me the things, relationships and habits that I've been clinging to but only push me further away from what He made me for. If you've never prayed that prayer, I dare you to do it. Like, really do it. Then, expect him to answer.
So, no, this isn't really about polyester wrap dresses and cotton sweaters...but as I walked away from my "maybe" pile on that sunny afternoon, I couldn't help but smile to myself.
Walking away from things that don't fit, feels good. It's not always as easy as walking out of a tiny dressing room and handing a bunch of hangers to sales person, but it will always be worth it.
Be honest with yourself. Ask the tough questions. Receive the answers. Let go of what doesn't bless and fulfill you.
Hold on to what does fit with all you have.
It's worth it.
With Love & Glitter,