I was tired of trying to make my new life co-exist with my old life in more ways than one. I had taken to leaving my folded laundry in the baskets instead of trying to war with my increasingly overflowing closet.
I was procrastinating. This is not at all like me. When I have a project to do I want to be doing it. I have a strong dislike for things undone hanging over my head. Every time I had to go to my closet for a pair of shoes or to hang something not basket-worthy, I would cringe. I knew what was behind that door. The lack of organization grated on me.
Today, purchasing storage bins for all of my fat clothes was on my agenda for at least the tenth time in the last couple of weeks. (Did I mention I was procrastinating?) It was well past 1:00 and I was caught up in chat, thinking, pfft, I’ll just do it tomorrow. DH walked in from running his errands with three very large bins that were exactly what I would have come home with if I had bought them. Well, crap.
OK then. Today’s the day. I logged out of chat, popped in my iPod, told the boys I would be essentially deaf until I was finished and left them staring glassy-eyed at the TV. I attacked, and I do mean attacked, without forethought or plan. I started pulling things out. I immediately instituted the one touch rule. If you touch it, make a decision – Keep. Donate. Trash. I was ruthless. Until … until I got to the back third.
The back third of my closet holds (well, held, now) all of the formal wear I’ve worn for the last twenty years or so. All of the weddings. All of the solo performances. All of the theatre award programs. The few “special nights”. There were easily thirty gowns, little black dresses, and slinky numbers. Each of these covered by an opaque bag to protect it from the light and keep it clean. Each had to be pulled, opened, assessed, and either stored or put into the donations.
I did not expect the pain. It was as difficult for me as it had been packing up my floor-to-ceiling bookshelf of sheet music. Every gown I uncovered, I remembered where I had worn it. The slinky black number with the tiny rosebuds that I looked stunning in but no one ever saw because it was so darn cold we never took our coats off. The beaded black velvet gown I wore when I won both Best Producer and The Presidents Achievement award in the same night. I remembered who I had been with. I remembered what I had sung or what I had been celebrating. I remembered I don’t have that life anymore. I remembered that I don’t know any of those people anymore. I remembered each and every one of them disappeared not long after I gave birth to a special needs child.
I kept all of the pieces that I imagined would still fit. I packed them all gently into a bin and clamped down the lid. I don’t know why I kept them. I stored a life I no longer have. I gathered up my corsets, rolled them carefully and put them in a cubby – even the one I never got to wear because I lost weight too quickly. I caressed my leathers and hung them where they can breathe, away from the other clothes. I gave my fledgling boot collection a space with room for the new comers I hoped would join them in the future.
When all was said and done I packed up six large plastic bags donations. I have a thirty gallon bin of formal wear that I will likely never have a use for, but that I could not bear to say good bye to. My cap and gown from University, with its yellow honors cords (one for summa cum laude and one for phi kappa phi) hangs next to my wedding gown. I have no use for those either but I could not make myself pack them away. However painful, it is done. The trappings of my new life have a proper home with room to grow.
Today I am grateful for: Accomplishments
Today’s funny moment: The idea that a 50-something woman could have a crush on me.