Black & White by Debbie Farrar


So I did a little challenge. Not a 30 day internet challenge. Not one I could post about every day either, since this was a challenge of not doing.

At the beginning of April I challenged myself not to buy any new clothes for 2 months. I'm pleased to say I did it no problem. I thought about buying things a couple of times. I even looked through a few racks of clothes. But it was actually quite refreshing to have the decision whether to buy something or not already made in advance. It felt good to walk away from it. 

No, this isn't a plea for you to do the same. I'm not starting a 60 day Instagram challenge where you have to post pictures of all the clothes you didn't buy each day. But if you fancy saving a bit of time, money & reducing your carbon footprint, having a couple of months off buying clothes is a good way to confront your relationship to wants vs needs. Plus it makes you clear out your wardrobe & find stuff you've not worn for an age. 

It invited me to reevaluate my relationship to clothes, and interestingly, that is deeply entwined with how I see myself as a 47 year old childless menopausal woman. 

I know menopause is supposed to be a change, and there have been some big changes in the last few years. Although it's been turbulent at times, it's also been interesting. Now I can finally let go of trying to have children, menopause has been an opportunity to explore what I want from life. I'm not sure I'm there yet. But I'm not sure I'll ever be there as I'm not sure there's a there to be. 

Indeed embracing uncertainty has played a big part in this process. I'm uncertain whether I'm going to sleep through the night, whether I'm going to remember things, what mood I'll be in, what I will do today, what I want. And all this is reflected in a return of a teenage uncertainty about what to wear.

In my teenage years this resulted in my only wearing black. Interestingly enough, the only thing I really seriously considered buying in the past 2 months was a plain, black sweatshirt. I may still buy it. After all, it is organic cotton from an ethical brand. 

I had only just started to enjoy wearing colour. 

Maybe black is just where I go when I start looking at my motives. There's a deep simplicity in black that I don't see in white. White is supposed to be simple, but it feels to easy. A denial. A bypassing. White washing. Like glossing over all the bad stuff, all the suffering & pretending it's not happening. The cult of positivity is too simple for me. It's enticing. Seductive. It even works. I can attest to that. But it's not reality.

Black to me is an honouring of experience. An acceptance of all that has happened. Good & bad. Not grasping for the good. Not sensationalising the bad. 

So it seems I'm back in black. Or, maybe I will be, once I've worn out the rest of the clothes that I own. These last couple of months have reminded me how much I dislike waste. And denial, or sensationalisation, of the bad is a waste of the opportunity to learn from it.