on making do and growing up
One again, I find myself, chronologically, on the wrong side of things.
They say spring cleaning is the time to purge, but I am finding myself caught up in the need to declutter in autumn. Yesterday, I spent an afternoon meticulously going through my wardrobe, casting off t-shirts and skinny jeans like I was being being generously paid to empty my closet. And with the sense of accomplishment that accompanied the task, there also came a sense of calm, a feeling of unwanting.
Clothing can be a remarkable mirror.
It's not always about the shape of color, pattern or texture. But in purging, I discover that the pieces I choose to keep, the ones I reach for on days when I need something familiar and comfortable, say more about me than I realized. Long sweaters and slim pants, leggings and silk and wool. Seeing all those shades of grey and black and blue did not necessarily teach me a new lesson, but it gave me a sudden understanding of my own mutable self. That is, as I grow up, I am becoming more accepting of who I am (or rather, who God is shaping me to be) and less afraid to share that self with others. How all those pinks and reds and odd patterns, now purged, represent choices that I made when I was dabbling with the idea of being someone else,
I spend so many years making do. Layering shirts to cover holes and buying thrifted skirts with rips and tears, just so that I would have more choices. More possible versions of myself to try on.
I was young and uncertain then. And the making do and trying on were necessary phases. But today, when I reconciled that fact that I don't need to keep those three shrunken white blouses (because if I layer them with cardigans and camis just so, I would have thee different outfits to choose from), I discovered that I was happier with fewer options. I was accepting the simple reflection of the woman I've become, instead of the faceted mirror of past possible persons I could be.
There was a moment, a year ago, when we had a huge fight, he and I. It was the culmination of a hundred things, but it started because I was cold (the truth is, I always am) and hadn't dressed appropriately for the day's activities. It was an ugly fight (because some fight are) but, in the end, he was right about my clothes; it all started because I wanted to wear a dress in the city when the temperatures were below freezing and, in doing so, I'd made us both miserable, because I couldn't enjoy walking the streets outside.
For me, that was a moment of sudden (if not belated) understanding. I realized (as silly as it sounds) that though I had wanted to look pretty for him, that we would have enjoyed each other more if I'd resembled someone from an LL Bean catalog instead of trying to be a model for ModCloth.
I was making do, again, and it wasn't working.
Suddenly, so much felt extraneous.
Since then, I've been whittling. Casting aside pieces that are too old, or, conversely, too new. Quietly letting go of nearly all the clothes I own (which isn't entirely true, but true enough).
The goal: Less stuff. Less Pretending. Less Pride. Less Vanity.
I am not saying that the clothing we wear always need to hold such meaning.
But for me, they are way that I can see myself maturing. A closet is an easy thing to open--an easy way to look inside yourself. Because style isn't a single moment in time; its something that grows and moves in tandem with our days and lives.
So here is the idea: build a small solid collection of things worth wearing and wear them. Smile. Tell the Truth. Don't feel pressured to wear too much color. Say the things you are most afraid to say. (And stay away from the color pink; even if it looks good on the hanger, you won't wear it. Ever).