Shedding Old Skins
I sat at the center of a pile of every piece of clothing in my closet. I had pulled out every t-shirt, sweater and blouse, every skirt, Capri and pair of jeans. I sat, like the center of a flower with the petals of fabric surrounding me and then I plucked them one at a time.
I did not want to buy a new outfit for New Year’s Eve, did not want to go dancing or on a date. I did not want to walk the streets of Boston to see ice sculptures. No, this year I sat on my bedroom floor in a tank top sifting and sorting.
There was my favorite cobalt blue jacket, a gift, which looked stunning on the hanger but never on me. There were my two favorite tie-dye shirts which matched my favorite necklaces and earrings but which no longer matched me. There were beautiful gifts, sweaters in all colors, which promised warmth but always made me itchy or bunched up around the shoulders. There were the lace cami’s, which promised comfort, a layer of warmth and a hint of sexy but were too tight.
I shed layers on New Year’s Eve and put to rest who I wished I were, who I once was, who others saw me to be. I let go of sizes and colors and styles. I replaced them with nothing – glorious nothing and the absence of clutter and stains and sentimentality.
My frame is twenty pounds lighter. My soul is 100 years lighter. My core is solid. I am done acquiring, masking, holding on to what no longer suits or fits. I burn with the purpose of naked knowing. Space. Space is all I need.
The gift of a new year is no longer about trying to make myself someone I think I should be but uncovering who I already am. Simplicity is what I’m after so dreams can be apples in a tree in my own yard, which need only to be tended, left to ripen and plucked down at the right moment.
Clothes damaged, soiled, ripped or frayed go to the trash. Sturdy fabrics, adorable outfits, functional workout clothes go to the hand-me-down or goodwill pile. Three trash bags leave my room.
The only item I anguish over is the black turtleneck sweater I have loved for years. It still fits, but is ripped, under the armpit. It holds my neck and breasts and waist. It holds memories. I toss it to the trash. Clearly I am no seamstress. I have sewn the holes three or four times. The seam is weak and keeps re-tearing. I pull it back. Maybe I can just wear it under jackets. But who wants to remember not to disrobe? Tug of war it goes back and forth.
I set it to the end of my bed. I will sew it up once or twice more. I pull it off remembering the new black turtleneck my neighbor just gave me. Finally, I leave it alone, make peace with my indecision. I let it sit, like a grief, not repressed or purged. I let it sit, like a statue, not dead or animated. I stick my nose in the fabric, smell the perfume of myself, remember the dozens if not hundreds of time it housed me. It alone will be salvaged. This too is who I am.
Everything else is divided, by size and purpose. Everything else is in piles. I am not ready to throw it out or put it on. But I do not let it stop me either.
Everything else is returned to proper place. I breathe easier with all of the space I have created. I enter my own closet and this year as the snake, having shed old skins. I am new and tender. I am eager.