God, adornment, and practicality: A SIOL round up.

Tomorrow is the last day of the six weeks in NZ, and although I started a couple of days late due to general confusion, I wanted to round up while I can (life is busy!!).

This is what  I have found:

1. For me, this challenge has legitimised my desire for simplicity. It has allowed me to live my belief that appearance doesn’t matter. After being called on the way I hide behind my appearance at Christmas, I stopped wearing make-up again (which I hadn’t much until the previous year, due to personal preference). This experiment was a further stripping down. It has brought up vulnerabilities. It has also helped me in the process of acknowledging, to myself and others, my faith. Compassion is my guiding value in life, attempting to emulate in some small way the compassion God shows for us. I can exercise compassion in all sorts of ways, from the way I interact with people to the items that I purchase (or not). Choices matter.

2. I have not felt restricted by a restricted wardrobe, but freed by it. I have worn these items on casual days, to work, socialising, around home. I have been warm enough, cool enough, and tidy enough. Enough is…enough. And no-one has noticed, aside from my husband. Not one person. No-one really cares what you wear. And if you are a little eccentric, people will get over it.

3. I don’t like accessories but I do like adornment. By this, I mean I have no knack for using accessories to enhance an outfit, to bring it together, though this is a type of creativity I admire in others. However, I do like to wear items that feel right and beautiful, items that I leave on for long periods of time, like the greenstone I have worn for over a decade. I like the sensual, elemental aspect of bones and stones and wood, this is what makes me feel good. And I shall wear it.

4. Clothes don’t have to be expensive to last. My cheap ($8) t-shirts are looking worse for wear, my not so cheap ($20) t-shirts have held up fine. As have my $20 odd pants.

5. It’s not a hardship to handwash at night. Most nights. Some nights I just felt blessed to have a washing machine and enough family clothing to need washing.

That is the sum of the knowledge that I have gained this time. In the end, does it really matter what we look like? I still don’t understand the concept of a “professional image” and just can’t get why it it necessary…people are as skilled and compassionate in a t-shirt and jeans as a jacket and dress pants. I don’t understand why I periodically give into the vague pressure to look a certain way, to wear makeup and heels and certain clothing. I don’t understand why I simultaneously resist this by buying everything heavily discounted and second hand, because I don’t think the price is warranted. But in the end, I need to remember: it doesn’t really matter. Very little matters. God, each other, love, living: these things matter. The packaging doesn’t matter, the inside does.

This links back to the Labour Behind the Label mission: people matter much more than things.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!

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