The Myth of the “New”

For Lent I gave up “buying things”. I can buy food and gas (sometimes the gas is thrown in free depending on the kind of food I buy! Ba-doom Ching!), and last week I bought supplies for Luke’s birthday party. But other than that, I do not buy anything. Now, Sunday is the feast day, so I could be buying other things on Sunday, but I have not done that either. I feel good about that. And I haven’t slipped up. It hasn’t been too difficult, though getting a “30% off your entire purchase” at Old Navy online the FIRST day of Lent and at least one Sunday since seemed like very obvious temptation! But I have stood my ground. Even though I could have got Marc three sweaters, two shirts for me, and a shirt for Luke for his birthday all for $50! I won’t regret that. Really. (Because I obviously haven’t saved the math in my head for that one at all.)

It has really been a good thing. The struggle, ironically, has not been with the lack of spending. Instead, it has been with something that I discovered a few months ago…

Sometime around Christmas I realized that one of the reasons (possibly the main reason) I like to buy new clothes is because of the way I feel in something new. The way I look in my clothes does not change as the months go on. The way I feel does. The more I wear something, the more chances I have to feel bad about myself in it. The more likely I will have thought, “Dixie you look fat in that.” “Dixie you look really bad today. Look at how tired you are and how your face is getting chubby.” It has nothing to do with the clothes and everything to do with my state of mind.

Aw, but new clothes… In new clothes I have not had the chance to experience the self-loathing. So the new clothes make me feel good! Right? It’s gotta be the clothes! And if I just keep buying new clothes, I’ll never feel ugly again! Right…

Says the girl who has 50 shirts in her closet…

So now I see why during Lent I have really realized just how my body has changed over the course of 2.5 years of study. 2.5 years where all of my free hours have seen me planted on my butt in front of a computer or with a book in my hand. It’s so frustrating. And I want to change. Not my clothes. My body. I want to lose the belly and the hips and the thighs that have gotten so smooshy over the past few years. Really. They have. I compared today. It’s frustrating.

But what would be more frustrating is if I continued to feed this frustration with new clothes.

Instead, this frustration needs to be dealt with by recognizing that it is not the clothes or even the way my body looks that is the root of it all. It is the way I look at myself. The way I talk to myself. And I have gotten so much better at being okay with the way I look. Maybe too much… since it’s resulted in me being so comfortable that there’s now more of me to be comfortable with.

But, it’s a season. And however I look after this season, and whether or not I lose weight or gain more weight, I am trying to be content with whatever season I am in.

And during this season of Lent I am working on demythologizing the “new”, and seeing myself as I really am. Smooshy bits and all.

Posted in Finances, Life, Life & Faith | 2 Comments

2 Responses to The Myth of the “New”

  1. Toni says:

    It’s good to see oneself as one really is: excessively thin, fat, attractive, ugly, kind, grumpy, peaceful, angry or even just boringly unremarkable in any of those areas. There’s an old saw about ‘God give me the strength to change the things I can, the peace to live with the things I can’t and the grace to know the difference’. The thing is, we love to beat ourselves up about the stuff we can’t fix – or allow ourselves to be told we’re worthless because of them. Either way, the end result is inaction where we could do something helpful or misery at where we can’t, the idea being to keep us in a place where we’re neither able to be happy, nor to get better.

  2. Dixie, I would love to read your paper on reconciliation, I have learned much from articles about Barth and the Torrance brothers through other writers.

    About the sedentary lifestyle and the ministry and your current place in life, I appreciate your struggle with acceptance and body image, we all have the same struggle, harder for women. Also the economics of eating healthy on a budget etc. I discovered I have had blood pressure my senior year in seminary, Went on a heart healthy diet and entered the ministry 6ft, 190 lbs. 36 years later I weigh 220, but have been as high as 250. Somehow, when you start your pastor/counselor life you must find a way to eat to fullness without overeating and get a movement plan that works, from walking to weights. Salads, veggies, chicken and fish, splurge on date night. All carbs turn to sugar, all sugar that is not used is converted to fat, its downright unfair that the thing I love most does the most damage now that I am tens years diabetic. You will be fine, and you will find the balance. I have a slender wife who is 58 now and looks great and I am thankful that we work on this issue together and every day.

    Don H

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