Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do clothes make the woman?

Yesterday I threw away all my summer clothes - everything. Every teeshirt, every ratty old tank top. This was after I bought 7 new tops, 2 pairs of shorts and one pair of pants. The old clothes were mildewed. They had to go!

The big cleanse was quite exhilarating which didn't surprise me since I love getting rid of stuff. But I woke up in the middle of the night, anxious and freaked out. For heaven's sake. That was a surprise! Most of what I threw away was old, stained, stretched out and ill fitting. Many items had faded drawings on them (periodically I get an urge to draw on my clothes). My attempts to kill the mildew made my sad summer wardrobe look even worse. (I washed everything three times in literally boiling water and lots of bleach, which ruined the clothes but did not kill the mildew.)

I hate shopping for clothes, which has been my excuse for hanging on to the ugly old tees and pants for so many years. Some of them were dear to me in spite of how homely they were. I honestly did not know this consciously until I woke up at 2:00 a.m., sweaty and anxious. Certain items made me feel connected to dearly remembered eras and episodes in my past, or challenging moments I moved through successfully. Coming across the ancient tees in my chest of drawers was always kind of fun, like going through a box of old photos. I no longer wore the oldest tees, but I could not bear to get rid of them.

When I woke up last night, I remembered Mr. George, my very favorite stuffy from early childhood. I loved Mr. George. He was a beagle with soft, floppy ears. That stuffy helped me get through toddlerhood. I remember him vividly.

Unfortunately I left him outside overnight after which he turned moldy. I was inconsolable. My mother tried to save him, bless her kind heart. I remember him clipped to the clothesline in the bright Denver sunshine, hanging by his ears. Alas, my mother was unable to vamoose the mold and mildew. I don't remember this part of the story, but surely she tossed him in the trash when it became clear he was ruined, probably while I was sleeping. All I can remember is that he smelled really bad and turned green, then hung on the clothesline for a day. After that he disappeared forever. I grieved that loss for a long time.

I'm heading out in a little while to Macy's where I'm going to attempt to buy a few more tops, maybe another pair of pants. I might not like it, but I have no other choice. I have to shop for clothing. It's crazy.

What a weird summer. I have a tattoo, and I now shop for clothing. Who am I and what have they done with Reya?



ellen abbott said...

Once I got past my skin tight jeans phase my over-riding concern for clothes was comfort. still is. every now and then I get on a kick and decide I'm going to start dressing nicer, I'll go out and buy an outfit or two, and then hardly ever wear them. they just don't feel like me. give me jeans or khakis or outrageously printed capris and soft t-shirt type shirts. shop clothes. I'm most comfortable in them because I don't have to worry about messing them up, getting them stained because I am always doing stuff. and now out here in the country I have no social life. didn't have much of one in the city.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen I love it that you wear outrageous pants. You should!

Pam said...

It's funny, clothes are such a non-issue for me. I spend very little on them ( quality ones from the op shop, and when I get tired of them return them in good condition to same) - the recycling queen.
They hold no emotional value at all.
I'm one of those people who wonder how they'd cope with loss of material possessions in a fire - nothing would concern me, only photos.

Reya Mellicker said...

That's what I believed about myself until 2:00 a.m. Last night, Pam. So interesting!

Gary said...

I have a friend who tells me to get rid of something old every time I get something new and the "one at a time" thing is much easier than the "all at once" thing. But, you had to do it.

You have a tattoo? I have to look for that post.

Gary said...

Okay, all caught up!

Steve Reed said...

As Gary said, you had to do it. I've had that same 2 a.m. anxiety reaction when I've discarded things I've had for years. Why is that, I wonder? I usually find that the next day, in broad daylight, the anxiety is gone and makes little sense.