Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bags of Rags and New Favorite Things

I've been packing clothes into El Valor.  Some garments will not make the final cut for the adventure, I'm afraid.  Every item, every accessory must be carefully chosen to suit various conditions, from yoga and running on the beach, to client meetings and speaking engagements.  Each must work together with the other elements to reflect personal style.  And everything must be of decent quality, clean and without tears or holes...except for my one designated "grubby outfit".  Ha!  As I hold up my favorite green hemp skirt, then my baby blue "Be the Change" organic tee, I realize I'm trying to justify that a) neither is suitable for exercise or work-related events; b) they do not work together at all, and c) both are worn nearly threadbare and have stains and a blemish here and there.  They don't even qualify as finalists for my grubby outfit, because they are completely wrong for any labor-intensive project I might dream up.  Really, I don't know why I'm holding onto them.  Maybe it's just their symbolic meaning.  Oh my gosh, am I really just holding onto them because they support my "green" values? 

Looking around the house, I find a lot of things that I'm holding on to that serve an empty purpose.  Those items could go to someone who could put them into service once again.  Now that's "sustainable."

Over the past few months I have gradually pared down my wardrobe.  Dramatic.  Not traumatic, but noticeable.  Getting rid of ill-fitting clothes was easy.  Even brand-new or like-new treasures I simply did not like were donated without hesitation.  The things I truly love, that have been worn so many times they are almost translucent...well...this is where I might get choked up.  Maybe -- ha.  If they are completely worn out, then they must have served me well.  They must have been through a lot of experiences with me.  Each represents a rite of passage, a moment in time where someone or some situation pushed me to the outer bands of my limitations physically, emotionally, spiritually or maybe intellectually.  (Not to mention ECONOMICALLY.  Most likely I could not afford it when I purchased it.)  But I can't fill up my teeny wardrobe space with rags, no matter what significant life-moment they represent.

Imagine packing a suitcase with memories.  When that one is filled, you open a new one.  You still have to carry the old one, too.  You keep unzipping, filling, zipping and lashing buckles on suitcases until one day your arms can't carry the load any longer.  All of them, every last suitcase falls onto the floor.  When a toddler drops a jar of jelly on Aisle 9, shards of glass and globs of icky-stickiness scatter.  Your suitcases drop, and all the obsessive-compulsive, neat-stacking can not maintain order in your life.  All the triumphs, disappointments, brief interludes with indifference -- every single memory that you have carried around in your mountain of luggage scatters on the floor for the world to see.  And pick apart bit-by-bit.  Or at least that is what we worry about secretly, isn't it?  We hope nobody will ever know that thing we did or said.  We go through life worrying too much about why we did such-and-such, and why we did NOT do that really smart thing that would surely have made our life better.  (And, for the record, life would not be necessarily be better...or worse...just different.)

The truth is, when we stop guarding the moments of our life that shaped the person we are now, we lighten our mood as well as our load.  Stop carrying around so much STUFF and let yourself live.  Let your bags of rags fall to the floor.

More of my clothes will be retired.  I will make room for a couple of links to the past but most of my wardrobe will remain empty.  As our adventure begins, I will have plenty of room for new memories, new experiences.  And new favorite things.

1 comment:

  1. You are fortunate to be raising a child in the digital age. You can just store memories on a zip drive, and you're doing her the favor of not passing on emotional clutter to her one day. What an interesting adventure you're undertaking. It's like trying to explain Europe to an American with 2500 sq ft and 2 freezers.

    PS - If you need to borrow anything when you rumble through Dallas, mi stuff es to stuff!

    XOXO, Christine