Friday, June 02, 2006

Watershed Moment

Can a pair of jeans change your outlook on life? Read on...

I did wonder on Wednesday evening whether I'd wake up the next morning, slightly the worse for wear, wondering precisely how I persuaded myself to spend so much on a mere pair of jeans. I wondered whether I'd be plucking the receipt out of the bag and scurrying back, red faced for a refund.

But no. Oh no. Instead I realised that I had Spanish on Thursday evening, which was a perfect opportunity to get the "cost per wear" figure heading downwards. Because this is the important thing. They may be expensive, but if I wear them often enough they will turn, by a miraculous process, into a bargain. Obviously this continuous wearing theory only works if I remain thin enough to wear them, but I'm liking the idea of jeans as motivation anyway.

And then dress down day today. Another opportunity to wear them (see, down to £70 per wear already!). Except that dress down day is becoming a little bit of a misnomer. Because when you have fantastic jeans the last thing that you want to do is to dress them down by throwing a baggy jumper or shapeless race t-shirt or rugby shirt over the top or wearing them with trainers. No, instead it's time to pull out the heels, flattering top, jewellery and make up. Not to mention the perfume scented shower gel and moisturiser.

And boy can these jeans make an outfit. The rest of what I'm wearing is cheap. Primark, mainly, with some red wedge sandals from Evans thrown in. But with the jeans, and with the posture that the jeans require (stand up straight, stomach in, leg lengthening 4 inch heels), I feel good.

It's not just that the jeans are flattering (although they are, someone who sees me every day remarked how thin I look in them) or well cut or a lovely colour, it's the feeling inside that I've finally found it in myself to treat myself to something fabulous. Without sounding too cheesy and hair commercial inspired, recognising that I'm worth it has put a smile on my face and some confidence in my stride.

I've been a bit slack at treating myself through this journey. The clothes that I've bought have been necessities rather than indulgences for the most part (or ill thought out frivolities that don't actually match anything but were on sale). I've tried to buy cheap clothes wherever possible because I needed so many of them. I've needed hair cuts so I've got them, but I've never just gone out and bought something more expensive than I need just because I wanted to. But after all the hard work I put into my body, what is the point of not showing it off and not treating it with the respect it deserves? For some reason I've seemed to equate treats with money, but if Wednesday evening (post-retail therapy) proved anything, it's that taking my time to do something like eat a drawn out meal can be far more enjoyable than wolfing it down, and that taking a bit of time to do those things you keep meaning to do can make you feel so much more sane.

I may have whinged on Tuesday about the lack of hedonism in my life, but it finally dawned on me that that's not what I want. I gave myself free reign to go out and do what I wanted, and I ended up eating a slow, indulgent meal, enjoying every bite. I've realised that from now on, this is the key. Giving myself time to really relax and treat myself with attention and care, not with money.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a housewarming party. I will, of course, be wearing the jeans (just over £40 per wear!) and the pretty halter neck top my sister bought me for my birthday. But instead of sitting round the house watching tv or slobbing around I will spend the afternoon pampering myself. I don't need expensive bath oils or hair treatments or trips to the salon at this stage, even spending time doing the cheaper ones properly would be an improvement on my normal beauty regime. Tonight I'll make sure the bathroom is clean, I've stocked up on supplies, and then tomorrow afternoon I'll give myself a bit of love.

I bought some flowers on the way home from work too. Not for any reason (other than the idea being in my head from Tuesday's fabulous responses), but because I can. I can moan all I want that I don't have anyone to buy me flowers, but at less than the cost of a takeaway coffee, why can't I just buy flowers for myself? And so I did.

I'm finally treating myself properly. Who would have thought that a pair of jeans could lead to this?


Another point that I completely overlooked on Wednesday was the horrifying realisation that it's 10 years since I turned 18! 10 years of legal alcohol and 10 years (give or take a couple of weeks) since I left school. How time flies.

I remember the night of my 18th birthday. I went out in Ripon for a pizza and drank so much I threw up, then my dad came to pick me up and drove me home. I'm sure at the time the thought of what I'd be like at 28 never crossed my mind, but if it had done, I'm fairly sure that it wouldn't have been anything like the person I am now.

I think this is a good thing, in that I've completely surpassed any expectation or ambition I ever had. The thing I'm proudest about, though, is that I'm not bitter about the 8 or 9 of those years when I wasn't this person. I don't sit here crying for wasted years. I just celebrate where I've got to, and resolve to make sure the next 10 years of adulthood are as good as the last year or so has been.


Blogger kathrynoh said...

I always worry when I have fab new clothes that wearing too much will use up the "magic". I guess jeans are different because you change the way they look so easily.

11:39 PM  

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