Filling the Void
The day after I wrote my last blog I woke up feeling pleased that I had posted my piece on my ‘buy nothing new’ challenge. However, the way I communicated it feels ALL wrong and in contradiction of where I would like to be in the New Year.
Fashion may be one of the biggest pollutants but did you know that social media is possibly worse. The energy used to power the hard drives and tech to keep the social media wheel revolving has a massive carbon footprint.
That aside I don’t want to communicate through social media. A brilliant woman said to me the other day – it is better to have an audience of 10 real contacts than a thousand empty ones.
So step two is to ditch the social media that we have become so reliant on. I realised that all my creative and business ideas have an element that depends on social media and that way of thinking must change and will change. Yes, my audience will become smaller, yet the feeling of being spread over different audiences is not one I am comfortable with any longer.
I have deleted Instagram, ditched the i-phone and next stop is to delete Facebook. Yup, it’s going to have to go. I don’t mind if anyone else wants to communicate my work through social media but personally I won’t be doing it. I want to BE HERE NOW not spread over the pixels.
I have known what changes I needed to make about social media for a while but the other wake up call I have had over the past week..
Of course, there have been loads of other things happening (Christmas, lovely times hanging out with the kids and playing, eating too much cheese and drinking too much wine!) This holiday season has been truly lovely so far but buzzing away in my brain has been the following –
Since I made the decision to start my Zero Hero ‘Buy Nothing New’ challenge combined with the enforced stillness of the holiday season I have gone through an interesting process. Firstly, I started thinking about whether there was anything I might need to buy for the year ahead. Whether I needed to stock up on anything before my challenge begun. Somehow I decided the most important thing was having enough jeans. That in itself is just ridiculous. However, interestingly, what it has done is made me actually start thinking about my wardrobe. Thinking about just how much I have and realising just how long many items of clothes last.
Some of my pairs of jeans have lasted twenty years. My favourite, favourite pair of jeans I bought for £3 in River Island just after I moved to London 23 YEARS AGO! That is just nuts but also brilliant.
So why do I feel I need to start panic shopping for jeans just because I am not going to not buy anything for a year? The shopping and the need for clothing is not the real issue.
What shopping has become, for me, is a way to fill a void. From looking for an item, to browsing and pondering, to obsessing about the item, outfit planning in my head (even though I work from home most of the time and live in wellies). Then there is the guilt I feel when I order something, the thought that the money could have been spent on the children, the feeling that I can’t really afford it nor do I really need it. It doesn’t stop there, once the order is in I wait for the post or the courier to arrive, I feel disappointed that it doesn’t show up quickly, more outfit planning then thinking about whether it will fit.
What is significant in this process is the feeling that if I am having a bad day, the item arriving will make it all ok. It will brighten up my day and make me feel better.
But, and the big but, is this relief doesn’t last. It temporarily fills the void, gives me something to look forward to. So does that mean that there is something wrong with me? Is there something missing in my life or is there something I am not dealing with, not processing and getting to the bottom of.
This thought process is a good thing. This is bringing freedom and this is also making me realise how fricking hard it is going to be to keep this challenge going and to not buy any thing new in the new year.
This drives me to go a step further with this challenge. I need to try to not buy anything other than food and things for the kids because this is deeper than reducing waste and not fuelling the fast fashion industry. This is addressing unknown baggage and facing up to the fact I need to live differently.
We seem to ignore what is really going on in our minds and find little pleasures to fill voids, to brighten up our days. If I could stop this cycle what will it reveal about me as a person? Am I the only person that does this or are we all caught up in a revolving cycle of filling our voids in whatever way we choose to do so?
For me personally, social media makes the void much bigger. Being outdoors makes me forget about the void and riding my horse enforces my brain to be blank - aside from being on pheasant and hare watch (that’s basic survival when up on top of a rather acrobatic and lively horse).
Christmas day was very revealing and made my mum-guilt go through the roof. What made me stop in my stride was the joy that beamed from my five year old when I stopped and lay on the floor next to him to play with the Bruder toys he got for Christmas. Yes, I work from home and I am always there for my kids but how present am I really. There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done. There is always a void to fill. But what if I can find the core of what that void really is. Deal with it and find peace and stillness. Maybe just being still will stop the void from opening again and again? Can I keep it simple? Can I go back to source?
THIS is the real challenge for 2019. This is it!
PS. I did buy two pairs of jeans on ebay but it is still 2018 and they were pre-owned so that is ok.