Tuesday, 5 August 2014

'I Am A Material Girl'


 In my last blog post I said that I was going to be blogging more often and in an attempt to keep to my word I am doing the ultimate blogging dedication and blogging at approximately 800mph and many, many miles above the ground. As much as I’d love to have flying powers and magnificent wings, I am in actual fact in a plane, on my way to Protaras, Cyprus with my family. It’s the first holiday that I have been on in quite some time, to be precise it is almost 8 years. I am currently incredibly excited but pretty sure that I will be landing in Cyrpus twice my weight because all I have done on this flight is snack continuously – for example, I am currently sticking my hand in a tub of smaller than average Pringles and brushing off sweet packets and wrappers from my laptop keys – this is the life.
  Due to the fact that I have only ever been to an airport twice before in my life and on both occasions I was significantly younger and less aware of what was going on, this experience has been different in a very good way. Arriving at the airport was somewhat of a comical experience. My father, an organised and time-efficient man made sure that the whole family was packed and ready to go at 6pm last night – a blessing for an un-organised, last minute person such as myself. Therefore, it goes without saying that we left our house with plenty of time to ensure that our car was securely parked before our flight, arriving at the airport hours before our flight was due to fly out. It all went to plan until we couldn’t find the car park which was supposed to be near the airport. Obviously this wasn’t a ‘panic’ situation, as with lots of time to spare and Smartphones at the ready, I punched in the car park postcode and my trusty iPhone led the way. All the roads appeared to be normal but the map took a sudden left turning and we found ourselves down a narrow, one-car lane with a large tractor filled to the brim with haybales charging towards us – a slight spanner in the works you could say, seeing as we were nearing the end of the road. Reversing backwards, skilfully, my Dad covered our tracks, parking in a small layby to hail the local tractor to ask for advice and directions. Now, whoever said Prince Charming was to arrive on Horseback was a compulsive liar because low and behold my future Prince was driving this Tractor – note no sarcasm because I am being totally serious. The boy driving the tractor could not have been much different in age to me – I would say a maximum of 19 years old? Dark sweeping hair, tousled and casually styled, he sat upright while his big, oh-so-attractive eyes glimmered, shimmered and sparkled matching his dashing smile perfectly. I was very tempted to leap out of the car where my family and I sat waiting for my dad to return, and hide in the hay bales. As a result, I would be missing my holiday so my Prince Charming would discover me as I surprised him by appearing out of the hay bales, expecting a marriage proposal on the spot. Of course, I just remained in the car while my imagination went through all of these possible scenarios of how we could live happily ever after and I came up with no suitable, logical or realistic plan…So, the least I could do was share this rather pathetic and tragic story with all of you – and if you know of a farmer who roughly matches this description, tell him I will be waiting at the alter – thanks.
  Now that this part of the tale is over, I should probably get on with the point of my blog post, which was not trying to hunt down my farmer, tractor driving Prince Charming – as much as I would like to find him. After we finally found the car park, we travelled by bus to the airport to check in our luggage and have a 2 hour browse around duty free. Of course, at 10 years old my fashion and beauty obsessed self was still developing as my personality was a little underdeveloped, immature and, like any other typical 10 year old, I had more interest in stuffed animals than endlessly browsing around duty free. Sniffing perfumes and testing every single makeup product known to man like my Mother, was not my idea of fun – in fact this part of the holiday always used to irritate me because I could never understand the obsession that she had with makeup and perfume. Oh how naïve I was as a little 10 year old. Although I am yet to arrive at my sunny holiday destination I am pretty content with things so far – duty free has been my own little holiday and I have loved every single moment of it. In fact I would say that the only downside has been my lack of money because duty free is every girl’s dream.
  Walking into duty free was like walking into an unseen heaven, the price tags of all my favourite makeup, perfume and other random items being lower – hence the duty free aspect. On perfume the prices were quite a bit cheaper, in some cases knocking £15 off the RRP, all because it was duty free. I had a hopeful £20 note in my purse that was screaming to be spent and of course, £20 doesn’t go too far when the makeup that you are looking at is the likes of Yves Saint Laurent. I managed to snap up a gorgeous, to die for YSL Lipstick for £20.49, which is obviously still pricey for a lipstick but totally worth it and even more justifiable with the additional tax price knocked off. But, the decision was heart-breaking as I had to leave so many items behind – it even made me a little bit depressed, which is so materialistic of me that I felt ashamed. In hind sight, I still feel the same deep down, but the whole prospect of ‘Duty Free’ got me thinking – when do we ever buy a ‘bargain’ and why do I personally, and so many other shopaholics and fashion/beauty obsessed people get such a thrill out of the action of purchasing?
  At times in my life I have gone through a bit of a detox –including a Feng Shui and Zen/Buddhist stage. Both these stages have released an inner part of me that still remains today. Let me explain a little further. I’ll start with the Zen/Buddhist stage. My life, like many others, could get a little stressful now and then and as a person who suffers with a little bit of anxiety, I wanted to explore techniques and lifestyles that would help to relax my anxiety and stress levels. I’d learnt very briefly about Buddhism in school and with Religious Studies being one of my favourite subjects I was eager to find out more. I re-read textbooks, did some online research and was determined to become a more ‘down-to-earth’ person and look at things in more perspective. I am not a Buddhist, in fact I would call what I was practiced a more ‘Zen’ technique, outlook and practice than calling myself a ‘Buddhist’.  I found this technique to be totally transforming and my moods and anxiety were significantly improved – I was meditating, having relaxing candle-lit baths, replacing my pop music with sounds of the Sea, birds and nature and overall I was completely chilled. However, one thing that I struggled with during this stage was the non-materialistic mindset and that objects were not the answer to happiness or fulfilling yourself. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite grasp this idea. For me, I am my happiest when I am in a store or shop, browsing endlessly at materialistic objects, gleaming and new, with the potential to cause a surge of extreme excitement and pure happiness charging through every inch of my body. At the time, the fact that I couldn’t exercise this part of a Zen/Buddhist practice infuriated me because it let me down – why did obtaining objects make me happy? I realised that this was a pretty extravagant question and still, to this day I do not know the answer.
  At a similar time I was also pretty much obsessed with Feng Shui – this is a form of de-cluttering and also focuses on surrounding yourself with positive energy. The difference here was, the way to feel good was to get rid of things. This seemed to contradict everything that made me happy – surely if I enjoy growing my collection of objects, departing with them would only cause me pure depression? I was so wrong. After reading about Feng Shui and understanding it more, I wanted to try it. My Mum is a full believer in de-cluttering to create positive energy and before I tried it I was sceptical that it would work. I was very wrong, however. Feng Shui and the process of de-cluttering was absolutely amazing and since my first massive de-cluttering incident I have been de-cluttering every now and then and each time I get the exact same buzz, thrill and excitement that I get when I purchase something new. To me, the fact that purchasing and adding to my clutter could bring me the exact same joy as ridding myself of all the clutter and junk that I have accumulated over the years, seemed a complete contradiction.

  I envy people who don’t spend their lives making wish lists, fantasising over things they can’t afford and live life for the moments rather than the objects. Of course, I can fully appreciate an amazing landscape, in fact, those moments are more breath taking than purchasing a lipstick, but if someone were to ask me what makes me happy, shopping would be one of the things at the very top of the list. To be honest, I can’t wait to fly home so that I can take another browse at Duty Free – it’ safe to say – ‘I am a Material Girl’…

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