Recently, I was cleaning out my closet and donated two bags of stuff to charity. I try to de-clutter and re-organize a couple of times a year so that my house doesn’t get too overwhelming and so other people can have the opportunity to use things that will only sit in my house unused.
I have always loved fashion and clothes in general. Shopping used to be a favorite hobby of mine and scouring fashion magazines has always been on top of my to do list. However, since I have had kids and have been on a neverending quest to lose the “baby weight” my love of fashion has turned into a love/hate relationship. I used to enter the dressing room with full confidence and would buy everything I tried on. Now, it’s a war just to get up the nerve to enter the dressing room and usually I’ll only purchase 1/10 items and leave with a whole lot of frustrations. Therefore, I often buy the bare minimum and my once full closet has become rather boring and filled with the ‘basics.’
I was determined to get some real shopping done for the fall and that prompted my cleaning of the closet. As I was throwing things into a donate pile I came across a whole section of my closet that is filled with high school clothing. I had a collection of jeans, a couple of skirts, some hoodies, and 2 shirts. There were about 10 items in all and they just hung like a shining beacon from the past.
After I had my first son I threw out almost all of my old clothes since they would barely get up over my left thigh. I decided to hold onto a few things in hopes they would inspire me to kill myself on the treadmill every day. That strategy didn’t work and ever since then they have remained hanging and untouched for 6 years in the corner of my closet.
I have tried to get rid of these clothes several, several times and just haven’t had the nerve. I’ve always been in awe of the emotional attachment I have had to some denim and cotton fabrics. It seems ridiculous and ludacris to even be talking about it. Clothes are just clothes after all and memories are defined by the moments not what we wore. However, for me these clothes symbolize something more than just fabrics. They remind me of who I used to be. The girl that I once was, and the woman my husband fell in love with. Those clothes tell a story of a girl that used to be just a daughter and a friend not a mother and wife. With each tiny hole and worn out knees they represent a moment, an encounter, or an event that shaped me into who I am today. How could I possibly part with them? How could I just throw away all of that and never see it again? What if I forgot who I used to be?
These questions seem irrational but for me they were very real. I’ve always feared that someday I’ll wake up and completely forget how I got to where I am today. That I’ll completely forget that girl with the long blonde hair, bright smile, leadership spirit, hard working and impossible attitude. That girl who kept pushing on even when her world was falling apart and who toughed it out no matter how many times she wanted to give in. The girl who walked around half of her teenage years with a broken heart hoping someone would help her mend it. The woman who one day woke up and realized she was the writer of her own destiny and didn’t need anyone to rescue her. The same woman who stood all alone and made the decision to get married when everyone thought she was crazy. That’s what I’m afraid I’ll forget. That’s the person I want to always remember when I walk into my closet.
So what happened with the clothes? Well, hopefully they are being used and worn by someone who truly needs them. I decided the other day that holding onto my past material possessions was unnecessary. As I held onto the jeans debating on whether to hang them back up or throw them onto the pile I realized that the jeans don’t contain the secrets of the past. My journey, my heart aches and my victories are not sewn into the fabric of those skirts. Nope, those things are in my heart, in my soul and in my head. I realized I don’t need a shirt to remind me of where I have been because I know to the depths of my heart what I have had to do to get to this point. My memories will never leave, my past never gets erased, and my decisions will never be re-done. The most freeing feeling was knowing that I’m okay with my past. I have said for so many years that I wouldn’t change anything about my past. My ‘mistakes’ formed me, shaped me and made me stronger…my accomplishments pushed me, taught me and guided me to work hard for the things that I want…..my experiences made me build courage, strength and perserverance to be able to tacke life and all of it’s hardships.
From now on I’m going to trust my heart to preserve my memories and experiences. No more cluttering up my house with the past. My past will always shape my future and I don’t need clothing to remind me of that. What I need is more closet space for all the clothes I plan on buying now that I have room. 🙂
Encouraging everyone to do a little de-cluttering…..