I have been avoiding writing a post for several days now. I am so pleased and flattered to be Freshly Pressed (thank you, by the way, to all of you who subsequently read my blog, commented, and/or followed me; the feedback has been much more meaningful than I had anticipated), so I was surprised to find myself willfully procrastinating about my blog when I should have been gleefully following its momentum. It’s not that surprising though: my personality trends towards the anxious and avoidance is one of my favorite mechanisms; even the minor (in the greater scheme of things) attention generated by Freshly Pressed made me too nervous to post something new.
It started with a desire to impress all of you, which was followed by a confusion about whether this would be most easily accomplished by writing more of the same (i.e. something about books and reading) or by posting something totally different but hopefully, somehow more charismatic. But of course, the instant you’re aware of a desire to impress someone, you’re deservedly doomed to fail and you have to remove the back end of the the thought from the front end before it consumes itself. Too much self-awareness leads to a paranoia that you’re not ever actually being authentic.*
I’ve been trying to write about my recursive closet, how I keep buying the same things over and over again. I’ve already confessed my white t-shirt problem, but the problem is more generalized. There are other items that I own in excess as well:
- Skinny jeans (black, grey, white, blues/denims ranging from dark to medium)
- Silk dress shirts (range of solid colors)
- Oxford shirts (white, blue, blue and white vertically striped, usually boys’ sizing)
- Blue and white horizontally-striped shirts (any/all)
It’s not just that I already own more iterations of these items than seems, in the unforgiving light of day, necessary, it’s that I am also always drawn to these items when I am shopping (the window version of which I consider a serious and time-consuming hobby), and often purchase something that is almost identical to something that I already own. I’m very aware of these proclivities, but that has done nothing to stop me from giving in to them.
Of course, there are things that I’d like to hoard that I’m able to resist. I am forever trying on boyfriend jeans, for example, but am able to convince myself that since I already have a dark and a light pair, I don’t need any more. In a different life, I’d have a bigger shoe problem, but I almost never wear heels and somehow always like the prohibitively expensive pairs; I’m satisfied by just looking.
The sum of these behaviors is that I have (I think and hope) a personal style that is defined by what I choose to be aware of and accept, and the things that I am smart enough to avoid. What I’m trying to suggest is that my self-awareness in the context of my closet is healthy: I’ve identified the things I like, I’m familiar with my own habits (as obvious as that sounds like it should be), and I indulge myself in certain useful areas (e.g. white t-shirts) while restraining myself in less practical ones (e.g. these). I’m not sure why these principles seem so straightforward when it comes to my closet and so mystifying when it comes to other parts of my life, such as my recursive self-analysis (e.g. Who’s to say that my extraction of principles from the contents of my closet isn’t a pointless exercise in over-analysis?). Fashion, for me, is far from frivolous; I need to learn from my sartorial choices.
Do you have a recursive closet or a recursive consciousness? Both/neither? And do you have coping strategies? I’m curious on both a shopping and a mental health level.
*It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been guzzling down D.T. Max’s biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story. DFW was painfully self-aware, on such a meta-level that he never knew what to believe about himself. Sometimes he’s a voice in my ear, encouraging me to give in to my thought-vortex. From recent blog posts it probably seems like DFW is taking over my life (possibly he is), but it’s just because he’s such a specific person that I can’t shake the compulsion to read everything by and about him. Seeing as he was not the most succinct of humans (I’m sure he would object to this by saying that though his books are long, every word is totally necessary, and I wouldn’t disagree with him), you had better resign yourself to constant DFW references. Jump back