Thursday, January 6, 2011

Downsizing my Wardrobe

Stumbled across Project 333 this evening and was so excited I jumped straight in! I've been decluttering my room one baby step at a time and I still get surprised at what I find in my wardrobe sometimes. Here is an inventory I took of the clothes in my wardrobe (not including socks, underwear, pyjamas or accessories, e.g. hats, gloves, scarves...). The first figures represent what was there (not including what I'm wearing/what's in the wash) and the figures in brackets represent what I kept, i.e. what did not go into probation before I visit the charity shop.

Clothing Inventory

  • Dressy camisoles/tank tops- 6 (2)
  • Casual/plain camisoles- 19 (3)
  • T-shirts- 23 (8)
  • Long-sleeved T-shirts- 9 (3)
  • Light cardigans- 10 (4)
  • Woolly jumpers- 8 (1)
  • Other heavy jumpers (inc. hoodies)- 9 (5)
  • Dresses/long tops- 11 (7)
  • Shirts- 6 (3)
  • Waistcoats- 2 (1)
  • Suit jackets- 2 (2)
  • Jeans- 3 (2) (loads of these in the wash!)
  • Dressy/work trousers- 2 (1)
  • Suit- 1 (1)
  • Shorts- 2 (1)
  • Skirts- 5 (0)
Also did shoes/boots
  • Leather boots-3 pairs (haven't purged anything yet)
  • Snow boots- 1
  • Hiking boots- 2
  • Sandals- 2
  • MBTs- 1
  • Heels- 2
  • Flip flops- 2
  • Flats/pumps- 2
  • Sneakers- 3
  • Work shoes- 1
The aim of Project 333 is to get down to 33 items per season. According to this list I've pared my clothes down to 43 while shoes are at 19 (whoa- I have 19 pairs of shoes?!). I do think that I'll be able to get shoes down to 13 though... ;) The clothes tally isn't as bad as I thought although I'm amazed at my skirts- I've been moving more towards wearing skirts or dresses but realised that I don't like all but one of my skirts (which is in the wash as we speak)! If that isn't an excuse to sew some new ones I don't know what is :p

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Remembering 2010

Wow. The beginning of a new year, a fresh look at things, a chance to forget the worries that lie behind and press on.

This time last year I was about to start a 4 week long teaching placement. I had just met up with my ex for the first time since the previous May. That renewed contact got me through the 2 weeks of the placement that I struggled through. It was hell. A week and a half into it I started getting panic attacks, I couldn't manage my classes and I was hating the placement. I took Thursday and Friday off and tried to rest for the weekend. I couldn't sleep on Sunday night and I was getting more and more anxious and upset. I rang Ollie. He calmed me down and I decided to pull out of the placement. It was not worth messing up my mental health over it. I visited my GP and decided to go on a low dose of anti-anxiety tablets. Now, a year later, I've decided it's time to wean myself off them.

In June, I had a breakthrough. After dropping a friend off at work one day I felt like a hot fudge sundae. As I was waiting in the queue I noticed a poster that said the restaurant chain was looking for employees. I noted the website. I applied for a job in 2 local branches. Both applications were declined. Unperturbed and sure that the prompting was from God (I'd been unemployed for a while and too afraid of rejection to seek work) I applied to a third branch. This one was 10 miles from home and I'd never visited it. Ollie and I had started seeing each other again and he came down to meet my family. While we were chatting in the dining room before going for a walk I got a phone call from the manager of the restaurant asking me to come in for an interview the next morning. I couldn't believe it! Ollie and I drove over early the next morning- we were gobsmacked. It was the nicest branch of this restaurant I had ever seen. It had a cafe attached and we drank tea and coffee before the interview. The interview went well and then the manager asked me a question: "If I ask you a question will you please answer it honestly? It will not affect your chances of getting the job." I got nervous. What on earth was she going to ask me? "The job advert was for a crew position but if I offered you work as a hostess would you accept it?" She continued by explaining that I would be responsible for a team that would clean the lobby and for looking after the customers. I replied in the affirmative.

A couple of weeks later I was working as a hostess. Over the next few months I learned how to use the till, work in the drive-thru and most recently, work in the cafe all by myself. I have been given opportunities to prove myself, taken them and been rewarded with positions of higher responsibility.

In September, I repeated my teaching placement in the same school I was in in January. I still hated it but by the grace of God I got through it. I will never set foot in a secondary school classroom again and that's ok.

I must note at this stage what a miracle all of this is. In early January 2010 I sat beside Ollie in his mother's sitting room crippled with fear. We started on a journey of discovering who we are in Christ and putting aside our fear. God led us through scriptures that affirmed who we are in Christ. Gal 2:20, Col 3:8-17 and Eph 6:10-18 were 3 that helped me settle into work. I repeated them to myself in the car journey over. I'm so thankful for Ollie's support during this time, I needed to lean on him and he was there. To date, I've been able to hold down a full time job and Ollie has been sober for 14 months- praise Jesus for His healing touch! This year I've come to see how dependent I am on Him. I don't feel weak or stupid admitting that, I feel relieved. I don't have to live this life on my own strength, Jesus is in me, the hope of glory and He lives in me, through me. :)

I still struggle with feelings of fear and inadequacy, but now I feel better equipped to deal with them. Life is not perfect, but I know that I can settle in the knowledge that God is in control, that His plans for me are good and He will bring them to pass.