Picture Perfect

With the explosion of social media in the past few years, there is a rampant trend that public figures are creating an appearance of a picture perfect life and their fans/followers are left with a false sense of what reality should be. This leads to feelings of constant disappointment, anxiety, depression, etc. It is easy to “fake” perfection in photos but impossible to know what an individual may be struggling with emotionally and/or mentally. Now more than ever, we all need to be talking about mental health and how it is a much bigger problem than society realizes.

I have been struggling a lot mentally feeling completely overwhelmed; with work, life, and everything in between. The effects of a harsh cold winter are really getting me down and filling me with constant anxiety. It wasn’t until my husband said to me one day, “you are depressed” and immediately I retorted “I am not!”. In my mind he was way off base because none of my tell tale signs of depression were present. But in all honesty, it slowly crept up on me over the past few months as the depression manifested in ways I never experienced before. I found myself often angry, irritable, short, annoyed, ill-tempered, etc. which is definitely not me in the slightest.Β Before I met my husband 7.5 years ago, I suffered from bouts of severe depression for most of my life and I knew those obvious cues (becoming severely recluse, crying, loss of appetite, social anxiety, etc). Since 2010, those bouts disappeared and I thought maybe I had finally beat it. Then in 2015, I got really sick as some of you know and the feelings of depression returned. Obviously it never truly went away but it lay dormant until life took some unexpected turns.

It is hard to put into words, but it is a daily struggle trying to do normal every day things. From getting dressed for work or always reaching for loose fitting yoga clothes, to not tidying up after myself at home…I do not feel like putting any effort into myself or do much of anything these days. Doing the simplest of tasks feels like being asked to climb the tallest mountain…utterly impossible. On my days off, I often wake up already feeling defeated and have zero motivation to do anything. If my husband asks me one more time to go downstairs to work out together, I think the overwhelming feeling of anxiety will eat me alive. My biggest struggle is keeping all these emotions inside and not letting it show on the outside to those around me. I too am guilty of “faking it”; a shield used to not let people in and a double edged sword. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing in time it will pass but I have to push through each day no matter how futile it may seem to do so.

The only way to overcome the overwhelming sense of darkness is to keep pushing through and leaning on those who love us the most. We have to look after ourselves and focus on the little things which result in small victories. Recently as you all know, I signed up for weekly sewing classes, something I have wanted to do forever but I always let anxiety and stress hold me back. It is hard to find the motivation to go to class each week but once I am there, I find myself in very a happy place. Hopefully once I learn more about sewing, it will become a bigger pass time to keep me busy doing another endeavor that I really enjoy.

In an effort to alleviate some of these paralyzing emotions, I focused on performing a massive closet clean out in hopes of re-homing lots of vintage pretties that simply do not get enough love these days. It was an eye opening exercise to say the least. I had quickly amassed a huge pile of clothes to list, realizing many of them had been a part of my collection for several years already. It felt so amazing to find new homes for the vast majority right away and I do intend to continue pulling items in the weeks to come. It is a truly rewarding form of therapy to declutter our lives and find peace with letting go of the things that we no longer need.

I am sharing my story in hopes to end the stigma surrounding mental health and bring awareness to those who find themselves wishing they had a picture perfect life like they see on social media.Β Instead of just stepping in front of the camera to “fake it”, now you can see the real person and the conflicts she is battling on the inside as well. Each step forward is one in the right direction to winning the battle of depression.

PS. I am sorry if this post was a bit all over the place, I tried my best to collect my thoughts in an organized manner but felt it was rather difficult to write while controlling all the mixed emotions.

 

 

 

 

Debt is Beautiful Only After it is Repaid

Happy New Year to all of the Pin Up Persuasion readers! It appears to be a bitterly cold start to the year for many of us in North America, especially in the North Eastern parts. Please stay warm everyone and we shall ride it out like we do every winter. 2018 marks a huge milestone for us as well…6 years since Pin Up Persuasion began! I never thought this little labour of love would become what it has today. A lot has changed over the years in the world of blogging and I am very thankful to still be here due to your loyal readership. There are times that I truly thought it was time to pack it in for various reasons that I will not bore you with but my heart has always guided me back to my senses.

As many of us have set new goals for 2018, I wanted to bring attention to a very serious topic for those just starting out or long term collectors of vintage and vintage reproduction clothing. Over the years, especially as I became more entrenched in the vintage community a very scary trend has emerged…people prioritizing buying vintage clothing over basic necessities like paying rent/mortgages, car payments, bills, etc. If you are saying who does such a thing, I can tell you that there is an incredible amount of people that fall into this group and it is becoming a bigger problem as prices of vintage and vintage reproduction increase.

First things first, I am not here to pass judgement on anyone’s spending habits as I personally have gotten sucked into a bad pattern of spending money I did not have (ie: on credit, Paypal pay after delivery, etc.) as it has become all too easy to click “buy” and worry about the financial repercussions later.Β  My reality with our low Canadian dollar vs the American & Euro/British currencies, makes it even less affordable to purchase clothing these days. The average vintage 1950s day dress or novelty print skirt currently starts at $150USD which is over $200CAD; not yet factoring in shipping and customs. So this is why the buy now, pay later attitude quickly leaves my bank account seeing red after paying our monthly bills first, leaving a growing debt for my “luxuries” that I simply cannot pay off.

Let’s be honest here, buying vintage and vintage reproduction clothing is NOT a necessity, it is a luxury. Unfortunately all too often we see individuals purchasing luxuries with no means to then pay their monthly bills. Now if you are wondering how I know strangers financial situations, it is all too easy to see in the world of social media. These individuals are often buying some of the most coveted collectors items that are insanely expensive only to turn around posting those same items for sale months or weeks later to “make rent” or not lapse on their mortgage payment. The reality is that their passion has become an obsession of hoarding/impulse buying. Honestly, it is all too easy to fall into this trap with how competitive the vintage markets have become in recent years. Prices are soaring with vintage being so popular and unfortunately some people will pay ANY price. It is definitely sellers market in 2018.

Although I cannot help those individuals personally, I wanted to bring awareness to this growing trend that is only going to hurt us all in the long term if we do not start to make changes now. Now let’s review some helpful tips on how you can still indulge in your love of beautiful clothing but remain financially responsible.

A) Identify your monthly “luxuries” budget – The key here is MONTHLY. Many of us are online for several hours each day and it is easy to buy multiple items that add up very quickly in a month. By setting spending budget each month, you immediately know if you can afford that item or already reached your limit. If you absolutely do not want to pass it up (ie: rare vintage items), you have to have a plan B or C, or even D to stay in the green.

B) Alternate payment options – This is where you have to be very careful, this too can lead you down a dangerous black hole if you are not mindful of keeping track of pay later options. Many vintage sellers on Etsy will offer layaway (payment plans) on items over a certain amount, check their shop policies section or contact them directly to discuss possible payment terms. Again, take your monthly budget into account when establishing the installment amounts to coincide with your pay days. Paypal occasionally offers “Pay After Delivery” when using your bank account as the method of payment. This gives you 21 days grace period before the payment is withdrawn from your bank account. So if this brings you into the allotment for next months luxuries budget, keep track. There are other services online merchants offer like “Afterpay” (in Australia), that are similar to layaway that you can take advantage of to defer payments into the future to stay on track with your spending budget.

C) Clean out your closet –Β The most effective way to stay on track is selling items you no longer wear to replace them with new to you pretties. Whether it be to sell one item to replace it with another, or making a huge closet clean out to amass funds for future purchases…this is a excellent way to always remain in the green. I personally leave these funds in my Paypal account and utilize them the next time something I want comes along. Honestly, it usually isn’t too long before the money is spent but at least it does not come of my monthly spending budget.

D) Have a back up plan – Sometimes life happens and unforeseen expenses arise (car repairs, illness, vet bills, etc.) and no matter how much you budget, there is not enough funds in the reserve to cover them. Make sure you have a plan on how to cover your bills and put the luxuries on the back burner. There is no shame in selling some items to amass funds quickly, just be careful not to be rash on what things to part with as you will have severe regret after the fact. Select things that you have not reached for in several months, pieces that do not fit (be honest with yourself, holding onto these items will not result in your losing 2″ off your waist) and projects that you just never get to fixing.

E) SPENDING BAN – If you have exhausted all those recommendations and your bank account is still in the red once all your monthly bills are paid….DO NOT BUY ANYTHING! Establish a self imposed spending ban until things improve financially and make sure to stick with it. I see all too often people claiming to be on a spending ban, only to turn around sharing on social media they just HAD to buy another luxury item. DON’T DO IT!!! Go back to options A-D and if those don’t result in extra funds for luxuries, you CAN live without it. TOUGH LOVE!!!

In the end, only WE can control our spending habits and are ultimately responsible for our own financial welfare. Practicing self control and making changes is not easy but they are essential to ensure our passions do not result in an obsession surrounded by severe debt.