The Wonders of Op Shopping

“I’m just gonna pop in and have a quick look.” A lie I said to myself and by extension, to Jeff, who dropped me off at the Salvos carpark in Dandenong.

Neither of us had to call out the bullshit. At some point in our marriage we had to come to terms with each other’s interests in peace. Acceptance is key as divorce can be quite expensive.

On those days when I’m not working and I’m feeling a bit meh and could not gather the strength to do the laundry or clean the house because they’d only drive me to further misery, I go to op shops for a bit of therapy.

The house may still be messy and I might have more laundry to do with the new old clothes I bought but at least I come home sane.

I reckon that’s the most important thing.

Jeff is crazy enough as it is. It’s not a contest.

If I have to describe myself as an op shop shopper, I’d probably say I’m a chill one. I don’t really go crazy with my hauls. If I find something that I like, I get it. If not, then at least I had fun looking around.

One of the things I do like about op shopping is the community feels it gives you. The way the volunteer staff ask regular customers about their dogs or their families. Customers sharing news of a loved one’s passing or how their arthritis has been flaring up again that’s why they haven’t been around lately. There’s a sense of familiarity in the interaction that’s almost akin to friendship. And I like that.

One time, this woman who was about my age handed me a long mustard yellow cardigan. She was shopping with her teenage daughter, I noticed. Because you notice these things as there usually aren’t a lot of customers at op shops at any given time.

“I reckon this would look really nice on you,” she said. “It’s the perfect size, too.”

“Thank you,” I said, holding it up for a quick inspection before putting it in my basket. She was right. It really was lovely. The belt loop stitching might have come undone but it was a very easy fix. I bought it. And now every time I see it now, I am reminded of her and how such simple random acts of kindness goes a long way.

I was very happy with this particular haul. I found this buttery soft brown long sleeved top which I reckon is vintage based on the tag which also says it’s ‘one size fits all’ which might be a bit too oversized for me but bought it anyway because that’s what you do when you fall in love.

I also found these two books by Austin Kleon: Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! Or rather, they found me. Because they inspired me to get back to blogging again. Be creative again. Or more than I was putting out which was lukewarm, at best.

Between the two, the latter resonated with me the most. Because I have a problem with, um, marketing myself, so to speak. I mean, I’m not even aiming for viral nor am I in the business of gaining a huge following but even amongst family and friends on social media, I still struggle to share my blog posts.

A narrative I’m trying to change as I slowly open up and share my thoughts and whatever on Instagram. Trust me when I say that I literally blush whenever people heart my posts or leave comments on my stories. I still get really shy so “connecting” via social media is challenging for me. Same reason I get very awkward with small talks.

Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you.

Dan Harmon

That’s one of the quotes that truly spoke to me. I wanna find my tribe. But in order to do that, I need to get out of my cave.

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