An impromptu date night with the hubbs.
And framing matters.
There’s a lot of sound and fury lately in Australia about Same-Sex Marriage, Safe Schools, and gender education. On a personal front, it’s been an especially sobering year as I reflect on my own relationship with God, and contemplate deeply how God designed humankind and what that means for me, a woman made in His image. I took a deep dive into Genesis and I’m still confronted by the overarching narrative of how God and Christ treat women. Growing up, I thought I understood His design but the closer I’ve been looking at this, the more troubled I am by what I’m finding.
And I’ve been equal parts unsettled and unbelievably excited.
Thing is, I’m now looking at my daughter and my son, and the responsibility of what lies ahead looms ever larger. Do I want my daughter to grow up learning what I learnt about womanhood? Or my son, for that matter? I thought I believed in the equality of the sexes, but now I’m wondering if I didn’t grow up buying into a form of second-class citizenship in this world that isn’t just wrong, but heretical.
And I don’t want that for my daughter. And I don’t want that for my son.
Words have power, and our words matter because they articulate ideas, and all ideas have consequences. I spoke very briefly — and perhaps not articulately enough — yesterday about how words frame issues. We know that instinctively, and we’re confronted by examples every time. Someone I was chatting to online yesterday gave a common example. When a woman is out front organising people in an assertive way, is she being bossy? Is she behaving like a man? Or is she leading people? How we use words shape attitudes, and they teach both our young men and women a lot about what is “allowed” and what “isn’t” for each of them.
And we often clip both their wings in the process.
This stuff matters. It goes right to the core of things. And I want the right things for my children.
Arddun’s getting ready for Bigger School – transitioning next year from preschool to Kindy. And I suddenly got nostalgic about school and the books I used to read.
Found these online and decided to buy them. This was the edition I had growing up – same illustrations, same paper smell. The Naughtiest Girl in the School was my second Enid Blyton and Big Girl book that I read on my own. (My first was The Three Golliwogs but even then, the font was too big for me to feel like I was reading a properly grown-up book.)
I’m planning to read a chapter a night with Arddun. Hope she loves it as much as I did.
I recently came across a minimalist fashion website about Capsule Wardrobes, and the very concept both fascinated and terrified me.
Basically, the challenge is that you choose 30 items for your wardrobe (including footwear!) to mix and match for an entire season.
Thirty. Considering I’ve now started an office job as well, I can no longer pass off home togs as going-out duds simply by throwing on a smart jacket and sliding on some lippy in the car.
Thing is, I am already recycling the same old clothes week in week out. It gets especially bad in winter – everything pretty gets swathed in the same winter coat or thick woollen tunics anyway.
HOWEVER. It’s now Spring, I have a new office job, and my walk-in wardrobe is basically a dumping ground of ironing I have yet to conquer since 1993.
While I know I need a kick up the backside to refresh my wardrobe and think hard about how to deal with my clutter, the other slightly terrifying thing is the throwing out of things. I am HUGELY sentimental when it comes to crockery and clothes, I’ve come to realise. This has only gotten worse since my mother died. She is inextricably linked to a third of the clothes I will never wear but will never want to give away because they are living memories to me. They speak of many shopping days gone by – we loved shopping with each other. We didn’t have to buy anything – it was all about the discovering.
Most of these clothes were my mother’s way of showing she was missing me when I moved a continent away. Some of them have never fit me, but I never told her because I didn’t want her to feel she was losing touch.
How does one declutter like that?!
Simply by allocating them to a box in the corner of the walk-in robe. After reading a few blog posts about capsule wardrobes obviously written for sentimental schmoos like me, I am resolved to do the following.
- Putting away the seasonal stuff first.
That’s an easy one, because winter has just ended. I used to rotate summer and winter outfits in my wardrobe Before Children, and I need to get back in that habit.
- Tossing out the Absolutely Nots
And being really brutal if I can. No, I’m not going to tell myself I’ll fit in them again. Because if I were to ever fit into those size 6s again, I’ll look like mutton dressed as lamb anyway. As for the things my mother gave me, I’ll have to find a special box and limit myself to that space.
- Definitely Maybes
Before she moved to Perth, Rosie C had told me about this Japanese decluttering principle where you mull over each item and whether it brings you joy. And if it doesn’t, to then think fondly of the times you’ve shared before letting go. Something rama-ding-dong like that. Very Dharma & Greg. We had a bit of a guilty giggle, mostly because as daft as it sounds, it feels like a process worth trying. In the privacy of my home. With no one looking, and moody jazz playing, and posh OJ swirling in wine glass because wine = itchy for me.
- The final countdown
The magic number in other articles is 30, but I’m just going to go with my age and try streamlining my mix-and-match wardrobe to 37 choice pieces. Per season. Which means really, I’m trying to reduce my capsule wardrobe to 37 x 4= over 4 seasons.
- The peace of resistance
This is probably the other part of the exercise that is going to mess with my head big time: not shopping for togs. Or bling. Or shoes. If I am going to train myself to live within my means (and I have lots and lots of means!), it means not adding to an already bursting wardrobe every time I go out. I will, however, reward myself at the end of each season with a small shopping spree – only because I suspect I’ll learn more during the process what I’m missing from a Capsule Wardrobe. Like a good, tailored all-purpose jacket. Or something.
But these aren’t exactly “tiny-tiny” steps, I hear you say. Don’t worry. I’ve recently come across another interesting project management theory that I’d like to test out on this decluttering mission. More on that to come later this week.
Here’s a good article about Capsule Wardrobes. And a good introduction to the different approaches to capsules. And hey, Wikipedia – so it must really be a thing. And this guide is great too. And also, Pinterest.
I’ve been blogging semi-regularly since I came to Canberra 13 years ago. To me, it has always been about keeping in touch with family and friends in Singapore and around the globe – an extension of my Facebook profile, really. A means of chronicling our moments and milestones, of keeping a loose scrapbook of my life in general and my children’s lives in particular.
And I dare say that for the most part, my blog will continue in that vein. I think having the children has sharpened the focus of my writing, and has in turn brought me a small but loyal following of readers within my family and friends. Thank you for keeping in touch all these years and for delighting in my delights. I love writing these open letters to you.