I had no problem throwing out clothes that no longer fit. It wasn’t a big deal to get rid of those blue jeans with a bright rainbow embroidered on the back pocket. They didn’t fit. Of course, that was when I was 10 years old – not quite old enough to realize the number on the scale or dress label would somehow validate how good or bad I should feel for most of my life.
As a teenager and young adult, an item of clothing not fitting became a challenge. In my mind, life was better when those shorts fit. The thinner me was always the happier me.
Last week, after reading a blog on how to transform your life by incorporating Feng shui, I went on a cleaning spree. In my closet, I found a pair of shorts, a red velvet dress (no idea?) and a pair of Union Bay jeans. All were from college and all too small…by a lot. All were also completely out of style.
It wasn’t like this was the first time seeing these items since 1993. I have packed and unpacked all three 11 times. But seeing them during my Feng shui attack, I was horrified. In truth, the Union Bay jeans should have been given away in 1995. All have been too small since 1998. But I kept them around, even after children. But why?
They didn’t represent a happier me. A thinner me, yes. A happier me, not really. And they weren’t making me particularly cheerful these days, either. If anything, they had become my albatross. Keeping me stuck between the Spin Doctors and Adele, dark-brown matte lipstick and gloss, belted, high waist and boot cut. Clothing I couldn’t suck in enough to pull past my knees was now giving me anxiety. It wasn’t the extra 15 pounds I’ve been trying to lose since my 24th birthday that was making me feel bad. They were making me feel bad.
Anytime any item of clothing feels tight, I stress. That doesn’t help matters since I’m a “stress eater,” and I generally stress about everything. I eat my feelings and my feelings taste like chocolate, salt-and-vinegar potato chips, cheesecake and popcorn.
Keeping those stupid dated clothes around had not done a thing for my self-esteem over the years. So I decided to do something different. I tried to find ways to repurpose them, but I’m no good at Pinterest projects, so instead I tossed them.
A weight was lifted. Not a 15-pound weight. But still, I felt lighter. Since college, my tummy has gotten softer, my arteries harder and my mind a bit wiser. Clothing, relationships, and politics…sometimes the things we once loved don’t fit into our lives anymore. But one day you realize that you can’t punish yourself any longer for something that just doesn’t fit. And at 43, nothing feels better than wearing nice pants that fit…after eating a bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips.
Comments? You can email Becky Andrews at [email protected] Andrews and Angel Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.