Zoetropes (I have an answer for everything)

For all of the daily focus I put on having the will-power to spend consciously, in alignment with my values, my most successful phases seem to come out of nowhere. For the past few weeks I’ve come up with reasons to not buy just about everything I think of and pretty much the only purchase I made was on a pair of Everyday Apparel shoes that have been on my wish list for months. And it’s not because of committing to a shopping ban. Or a tidy list of do you really need this?-type questions. It’s an inexplicable mental smackdown.

“You don’t need another dress.”

“Look for a picture of those boots on someone on flickr first before you buy them to see how bulky they look in real life.” (They looked bulky.)

“It’s too hard to buy clothes online and know that they fit well and aren’t going to cost me a litter of kittens in tailoring.” (Often true for things I’ve had the benefit of trying on in a fitting room anyway much less sight unseen.)

When this happens, I don’t know from whence it comes. It’s usually when my life is really busy. But it feels like I’m more in my element; more in control of my values, choices and my dollars. It doesn’t always last although it happens more frequently these days. I wish I could bottle it.

Do I think it’s the result of asking myself all those do you really need this?-type questions in the past? A result of trying many a failed “shopping ban”? The result of making myself list every item I purchased from a store without decent labor practices as “sweatshop” on my outfit pictures? Of writing blog posts about what sustainable and cruelty-free style means to me? I think so. I think all of those things add up to an unconscious voice that sometimes gets its day to boss me around. (For a good cause.)

So for all of those times that I shopped in a way that disappointed me and where I took the trouble to deconstruct why and how I let happen – thanks for doing it, Past Jesse. It’s given me the groundwork to escape mountains of advertising messages and social constructs that expect me to consume for a few minutes. It’s given me a little bit of room to breathe. And that kind of feels like freedom.


  1. Good for you! Being a conscious buyer rocks. I remember buying things just because they were on sale. Man, was I a silly little girl. My lack of money helps me not to spend on stupid things.

  2. Well done. I admire your committment. It's hard. I've been denying myself purchases i don't need for what....all of a month? And i feel so flippin pious. I find that the online stuff is what i want more - because i can access pics of it so quickly to feed my optical addiction. Whereas if i have to go in to a shop to window-browse...well...i'm at home most of the time...so i rarely do. Online shopping is my biggest lust.


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