Our clothing becomes a way of identifying ourselves, so can we change our identity by cleaning out the closet?
It’s funny isn’t it, how we outgrow ways of presenting, decorating and costuming ourselves?
Equally entertaining is how we can know — and I mean really know — that something isn’t a valid representation of who we have become. And yet, we hang on to it anyway.
It’s as though every time we say good-bye to an old shirt we whisper a final farewell to the piece of our identity that we imbued it with.
Yesterday, a quick laundry folding moment turned into a complete overhaul of every drawer and cubby hole that had anything to do with the fabric and material of my clothed reality. And I realized that with every stitch, button, zipper and pattern that we toss aside, we bid adieu to the role we played; Lover, Husband, Wife, Thinner, Younger, Maid, Musician, Whore, Mother…
We tend to unwittingly give each article of our donned image a persona, while we hardly pay attention to the meaning we’ve given it, or the meaning it has given to us, until the time comes to say goodbye.
Some articles are easy to bag and tag, like that pigeon shit green vest that you were obliged to buy for your role in your best friend’s wedding party. Or the tie dyed parachute pants you bought when you were on acid at that Grateful Dead concert a few decades ago.
Then there are those other pieces. The ones that we’ve hung on to through countless closet cleanses and house moves. Those odd bedfellows that, when placed in a bin for recycling, you quickly retrieve for resuscitation and stuff back into their ancient tomb in your closet and heart.
Yesterday I again came across the “the one.” The last anchor in the cemetery of my past as a Married Woman. As someone’s Wife. As Mother to an intact, happy, thriving family.
That worn out, piece of plaid material was my favorite shirt of his.
We bought it together and when it began to lose it’s luster, I hung on to it — just as I had to our marriage.
I recycled it as my cleaning, gardening, painting and overall schlump shirt.
When we separated the shirt came with me, but I never wore it. I was content to carry it with me as a seven year panacea.
That shirt had magical powers in the land of Jasmine.
It served as a reminder that I was, once upon a time, an adored, wanted, functioning part of a greater unit than myself.
It held within it’s name brand weave the memory of my purpose and captured in it’s breast pocket a piece of my heart that I was sure I would die without. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, when I came across that shirt I did what I was never able to do before:
I said goodbye to both that shirt and the woman who went with it.