Sunday, October 23, 2011

Closet reality

Now and then I watch one of those reality TV shows about people who hoard.  I have to confess I can't watch them too long, though, because they pinch just a tiny bit where it hurts.

I have one closet in my house that I would consider a hoard.  My children know about this closet, and they are nodding their heads and moaning in affirmation right now if they are reading this.

This closet contains certain of my garments that date back to 1990.  For those of you who are old enough to think that sounds like yesterday, it's actually 21 years ago.  This same closet contains virtually all of my garments dating back to 1994.  There are teddy bears and other stuffed items that belonged to my children when they were little, too, from the late 80's.

Wow, you may say.  I bet that's a lot of garments.  And why back to those particular years?  What the heck?

First of all, cut me a little slack here, because it's only one closet.  So let's move on to the details now, in a general kind of way.

1990 to 1994 were probably among the best years of my life, second only to 1974 to 1978.  (That's one important reason why my first novel, blogged in full below, if you scroll a while, is set from 1974 to 1978.  But I digress.)

Those were spaces in time - the late 70's and the early 90's - when I was entirely my own woman, free as air, relatively manless for the most part.

During those times, I was beautiful.  This is not just me talking here, or my mother:  I was, objectively speaking, clock-stopping gorgeous.  Probably not coincidentally, I was also transcendently happy, in a clueless sort of way.

In 1990 for a few fleeting years, I was even chic, I am told.  My skin was seamless.  My eyes were bright.  My hair was thick and full and fell into place.  I was fit and trim enough for all practical purposes, as Emily Webb's mother would say, and aerobically fierce.  I was powerful in my chosen field, and rising.

I think I stopped throwing clothes away when I first knew my life was not going to get any "better" for a while.  Granted, my life did not get any worse, either, at least not at first.  But in 1994, I will suffice it to say that I got . . . caught up.  There is no finger pointing here.  This is my fault.  I was a big girl and had full knowledge.  But get "caught up" I did, and thus began a sad, gradual descent that took almost twenty years to get in check.

So I have every single garment I ever bought from 1994 to today because 1994 was the year the slide began.  That was the year my hair went white.  That was the year I started imperceptibly gaining weight, little by little. That was the year that surprise, then denial, then sorrow, then bartering, then anger, then resignation started gaining ground -  one by one at the molecular level, seeping in like tulle fog on a Merced October morning.

Oddly, I have always been resilient and astute in almost all other things during these many years, as those who know me will tell you.  But in this particular fog-machine area of my life of which I speak, I have lived gobsmacked and blindsided past all recognition all these many years, and all the while working like a mule.  Go figure.  Am I sorry I did it, sorry I hung in?  I can't say that I am - while there was not what I can name as "happiness" in it for me, at times there has been the satisfaction that comes from labor well intended, and from that a deeper joy.

I did my level best in my ham-handed way, trying to please Him as I did; and He has said well done, and set me free.

Today, I'm going in with Hefty bags and cardboard boxes.  I'm going to pack those garments out one by one, starting today, just the way they went in.  I will pack out the party dresses from the beautiful years, the wedding dress from #2, the work clothes from when I was important and thin - all of it.  I can do that because today I am free, from the inside out, from the molecular level on up.  One day in 1994, I turned a corner and stayed there for a really long time; but today I see a new corner, and I intend to turn it and run as fast as I can.  That's all the detail anyone needs to know to get the gist.

Our hope lies in getting up and finding a new corner to turn the minute we get our wits back about us.  That's what I'm doing today.  I can feel my wits, and they are razor sharp!  Praise God!

Do you have your wits about you today?  Please share.  God bless, and happy cleaning.

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