no ma’am, my feet aren’t bleeding. that’s just my nail polish.

Remember that ceremonious unsubscribing to the 111 retail emails I did to kick off the project? Well, it didn’t work. Either they’re not listening or they don’t care. In the last 24 hours, I’ve received 27 of these once enticing, now annoying, gems in my inbox. Oh, and the four catalogs I got in the mail yesterday? Bless your heart, thanks for not letting me forget about that.

What exactly does it take to erase my email address from these retail lists, anyway? Do I need to lay my current address to rest, forcing my hand to create a new email identity-one with an extra “e” or a made-up nickname?

I’m walking around with my chest puffed up a little. It’s been two weeks. I haven’t shopped. I haven’t had my best-friend-in-a-cup Caramel Machiatto. There is a slim chance that the last few mom-and-pop craft stores in the neighborhood have officially lost 30% of their monthly sales.

If I’ve been making any sense until now, here’s where I might lose you. I deemed manicures and pedicures as unnecessary expenditures, but I kept my uber fancy haircuts with the stylist who will only answer to his initials. My logic? Overgrown cuticles and a homegrown manicure are a-ok on the path to self-discovery. A bad, layered haircut like the one I tried to give myself when I was 13? The one that compelled me to lie to my mother afterwards? Fuhgeddaboutit.

I sat on the cold hardwood floor in my bedroom this afternoon to try my hand (no pun intended) as my own manicurist. I contorted my body into all sorts of yoga poses to get the right angle for my pedicure. It looks….like I did it myself. That’s not a pat on the back, in case you’re confused.

Monday Dare: I like you. I will wear new socks.

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Try, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please, feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: I will stop saving my stuff.

You can relate? So, if you invited me to peek inside your sock drawer, you’d still have socks with the paper wrapper intact, waiting for a special occasion to make their appearance?

Maybe it’s not socks. A special bra, perhaps? Shoes with leather like butter you can’t bear to wear outside because even your fingernails scratch its soft sole? A t-shirt from that time in 2007 when you signed up for a magazine? I understand. Yes, yes, yes, I understand.

I’m on this project because I love to shop. And, it’s safe to assume that all the shopping leads to accumulation. All this accumulation leads to…(still) wearing the same three pairs of jeans, sporting a pair of gladiator sandals I got in the last state I called home, and washing the same handful of ratty shirts. Every morning, when it’s time to get dressed, I pause at all the beautiful things and the things I haven’t enjoyed, but then I continue on to that little section in the closet with all the well-worn goods. I make excuses for why I can’t wear that impossibly fragile shirt in the middle of the day. Or, why it’s a shame to break in a perfectly new pair of shoes just to get a box of sandwich bags.

I once told a friend that it was obvious how much I enjoyed his company because I wore a brand new pair of socks to have dinner with him.

This week, I’m busting it out. I will change five times a day if I so desire. Tulle in the morning, sequins at noon, that new pair of underwear still in its box at half-past four. Maybe it won’t be so extreme. It could just end up being that t-shirt with the picture of J.R. Ewing on the front I’ve been saving since the beginning of the summer.