This week I’ve been very indecisive. In fact I still haven’t decided what this blog post should be about and as a result have written a few half-finished articles. I haven’t recorded the video I wanted to post either. Not sure which of two ideas I should go with. The only thing that’s finished is my drawing. And my deadline for all this was yesterday. So why did not make it this week? Did I sabotage myself? What happened?
I set this goal about a month ago. Excited and ready. And, yes, a little scared (okay a lot). I was going to write a blog post each week and make a drawing and post those on the Friday of that week. I was going to post a video every two weeks, also on Fridays. Then, after my deadline yesterday, I would evaluate how I felt about this way of working and decide on how I would like to continue.
Somewhere this week I lost the connection to my goal. Or actually it started the week before I think. I had planned to go shopping for clothes on Friday with my mom. Hadn’t done that in about two years and really felt like it. I would just finish all the blog stuff on the day before. Even though I did do that (well, almost), I didn’t post it until Saturday. Because I had announced my new blog on social media on a Saturday as well, the week before. And I still had to find some pictures to add to the blogpost and take pictures of my drawing. It didn’t seem like a big deal then to post on Saturday instead of Friday. But clearly it does feel like ‘slipping’ now that I’m doing it again this week while my final goal deadline was Friday June 9th.
The shopping spree was a lot of fun. Great quality time with my mom. But shopping also changed my focus and energy. For the past years I only went shopping for something if I really needed it, because I don’t want to have too much stuff anymore. I had decluttered a lot and that made me feel much more relaxed, free and light. For some reason having a lot of clothing, and other possessions, takes up a lot of mental space as well. It clutters your brains as well as your closets. It is baggage. (Tip for if you are interested in decluttering/tidying up: Marie Kondo’s work helped me a lot, see below for more info).
When I do go shopping for clothes (or other things), whether on- or offline, I become restless, because all of a sudden I’m in need of stuff. I’m lacking. Fed up with not having a certain type of dress or pants or top or, in this case, all of those and more. On a quest to find them, the pictures I have of them in my mind. As if I have decided that from now on I cannot go on like this anymore and need to get the lacking items as soon as possible. But of course I know that it wouldn’t matter much to not have the new clothes or whatever for another few weeks or even months because I’m doing okay without them. I travelled for months with only a backpack and I was fine. It is more that once I have made the decision to get new stuff, I want the process to be over with. Almost as if it’s a dirty or a bad thing.
I think there are a few reasons for my feeling bad and anxious about shopping. One of them is the decluttering. I’m afraid I will end up with too much clutter again. Even though the idea of decluttering and tidying up is not that you are never allowed to buy new stuff (but more that you only buy items you really love and need), I do feel kind of guilty about doing that, as if I have given in to meaningless consumerism.
Also, buying new things makes me more tied to where I live now. At least that’s how it feels for me. Because I cannot take all of those things with me when I go away. And I want to go away again. I want to travel again, maybe emigrate completely, go from country to country and see where I end up living, for a while or forever. However, for as long as I am still here, I do want to make my life comfortable. Since I came back from my travels in April last year I have been trying to get by with as little as possible, not having my own place to live, almost punishing myself, as if I had to continue the lifestyle I had while traveling, as if that was the only right way to live. But of course that is not true and there was no real valid reason for not making myself comfortable and buying some nice things for myself any longer.
And then there is the fear of becoming trapped by choice stress. We all know by now that having too many options, too much to choose from only makes us less able to choose, stressed-out and unsatisfied. Going online to look for a new bra can quickly turn into hours of frantic browsing through pages and pages with hundreds of similar, beautiful and even cheap options. And when there are so many options, you set your expectations high. You want the perfect bra. And you’re frustrated when you don’t find that perfect bra. Whereas, if you had had only, say, three options, you would have been satisfied with a reasonably good one.
This choice stress brings me back to the rest of the past week. After the day of offline shopping, the choices didn’t end. There were a few things I needed that I hadn’t been able to find in the stores and therefore wanted to order online. Hence my example above about the online shopping for a bra. It actually happened. I’m also in the process of deciding where in Austria I will go to for my vacation next week (woohoo!!) and how I will get there, what I will do there and so on. I had to choose which plays I was going to see at my old theater school and when. On Sunday I got to be a participant and training actress in a very nice HSP workshop that I had been really nervous about doing and this experience, what I could learn from it and how to evaluate it with the coach still occupied my mind as well.
In general, I was dealing with how best to divide my time, what to give my attention to, which decisions were best for me. All on ‘luxury first-world problems’, fun things really, not exactly life-threatening issues. Just like many other weeks. Just like many other people deal with all the time. General life, basically.
Then why did it throw me off track this week? I wasn’t that much busier now, I just felt busy. Was it the cumulative effect of all the past weeks of blogging and trying to get more done after months of migraines and not being able to work? Was it really that anxiety and guilt that came from all the shopping for and buying new stuff? Maybe I am using all of this as an excuse to sabotage my week, because I was afraid to reach my goal. Do I lack the self-love to give myself the victory of success and did I therefore secretly punish myself by not achieving my goal?
Or was I just really hormonal? Because, by Buddha, I was. To all the women out there with periods that make them desperate sometimes: I feel you! I had (and usually have) heavy cramps, heavy bleeding, felt dizzy and sick at times and really emotional, and I was trying to learn how to use a new menstrual cup. To all the ladies who are getting used to using a menstrual cup: again, I feel you! It can be uncomfortable and confronting, the clumsiness and the blood. So perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about this week, because my body was having a really hard time.
Maybe I am reading way too much into all of this and it was just a bit of an off-week and a no-big-deal deadline delay of one day.
So I guess this blogpost could be about how a seemingly innocent and fun day of shopping can spiral into days of worry and choice stress in the mind of a highly sensitive person. Or should I make it about how a perfectionist can over-complicate having to do some activities, making a few choices and meeting a simple deadline?
Maybe it should be about how an over-analyzer can turn just some off-days without focus into a whole process of self-evaluation, evidence of relapse into old patterns and overall failure to achieve goals. Or, about how some tiny hormones can set off a chain of reactions that lead to a bloody mess ;-).
But then again, maybe it should really be about how that hormonal highly sensitive and therefore perfectionist over-analyzer can use all of those things to write a blog post that helps untangle this mess for her and hopefully makes some other hormonal highly sensitive perfectionist over-analyzers feel less alone in their own brain-spiraling struggles. I feel you!
And now I’m off for a run in the park…
P.S. Marie Kondo’s books: ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ (I haven’t read this one yet, it wasn’t available in the library when I needed it. Instead, I read the next one:) and ‘The Illustrated Guide to the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’