Today I went shopping. Proper shopping – a trip to a place designed specifically for shops with the dedicated purpose of buying clothes. This is now a rare occurrence in my life. Aside from checking out my local charity shops when I’m out & about & my first (& so far only) foray into buying clothes online, I haven’t been shopping since just after Christmas. It hasn’t always been this way. As a huge fan of fashion & “dress” as a concept, I used to assume that lots of shopping was part of that. It took me a long time to realise that ain’t necessarily so. When I stopped having a regular income a couple of years ago, I stopped shopping as a hobby. The less I shopped, the less I wanted to shop. I’ve found that I don’t need shops to show me what to wear; instead the people & things I see in the world around me (and the fantasy world in Vogue) have inspired and encouraged my sense of style with what I already have & only occasional purchases. Removing myself from the shopping arena, I discovered that I actually really like wearing the same stuff more often – like when you’re a child and you have a favourite dress, I love having my most treasured outfits that I literally wear to death. It’s so satisfying. But the shops didn’t want me to make that discovery; it’s bad for business. I’ve also found lots of other things to do with my free time, things that I enjoy far more. Gradually, thanks to less shopping & various other factors, like renewed politisication (probably interconnected: less shopping = more time for thinking about other stuff as well as doing other stuff), I’ve come to resent the way that our primary public role & identity is as consumers. It seems inescapable, but I don’t want my purpose in life, my definition of self, to be dictated by the stuff I buy. I am what I do, not what I put on my credit card. Even if today that included some lovely new things.