Monday, April 9, 2018
Yesterday I had a problem. I couldn’t find my shorts. I will admit that I have a pretty severe clothing addiction, so you would think that one pair of shorts wouldn’t matter. I do own plenty of shorts, but I only wear one pair, and they were missing. I spent hours looking everywhere possible for my shorts to no avail. After searching behind the dresser with a flashlight and washing every piece of laundry, I thought I would have to give up the fight. They were gone.
My last-ditch effort was to confront my husband, could he have possibly thrown my beloved shorts away? I do wear them almost every day in the summer. Maybe he was tired of seeing the shorts and did them in. My questioning began, “Babe, have you seen my missing shorts? I think I need to put out an APB to find them. You haven’t seen them, have you?”
He said, “You mean the tan and white ones?”
He knew which ones, making him look more guilty. “Did you throw them away? I know you are probably sick of them, but they are the only ones that fit like they were made for me. Just confess if you threw them out, so I can grieve and move on.”
He laughed a bit and said, “No, I didn’t throw them out. I like the way you look in them,” and I told him that I had looked everywhere I could think of.
As I went on about my day, I decided I might have a problem. I worked on the quarterly chore that I dread with a passion- changing my closet over from the winter selection to the spring. The job entails sorting through waaaayyyy too many clothes and dragging them up the stairs to store in a spare closet until next season, then bringing the spring (cooler- but not the coolest clothing) down in exchange- then there are the boots to store and swap for sandals and cute spring shoes.
I’m not sure which thing about the task is the worst, lugging the heavy armloads up and down the stairs, or the shame that I feel when I think about how much money I have wasted on clothing. I haven’t always been a clothing hoarder. For many years, I didn’t have the money to support my clothing habit. I could barely afford to clothe my kids. I guess when I became able to treat myself to buying cute outfits, I got more than a little carried away. As I haul them up and down, I remember each purchase. Oh yeah, I bought that shirt at the mall in Douglasville, or I bought that one at the Anniston TJ Maxx.
I sort them into categories, to organize the closet to the best of my abilities, making a short sleeve casual section arranged by color, then a work top section arranged by color, and bottoms (skirts, capris, and pants) arranged by color, etc. As I grab each hanger and decide which category they belong I realize something. Of all these things that I haul up and down the stairs, there are only really a few that I wear time and time again. They, like my missing shorts, suit me. The rest of the items are only supplementary impostors pretending to be the clothes I care for. If the impostors were to go missing, I’d probably not even notice, much less grieve their loss.
Swimming in my guilt of excess, I decide to change my evil ways. I vow to radically slow down my clothing purchases. I think before I buy anything else I will ask myself if I really need it, try it on to see if it is the perfect fit, and then gently talk to the article of clothing asking it if we are meant to be. It is going to be hard, but I will practice clothing abstinence.
By the end of the day, my husband came up to me with a smile on his face and a prize in his hands. “Look, what I found behind the chair that I sort laundry on.” I hugged him tightly. He had rescued my nearly eight-year-old shorts, and my grief lifted. The temporary loss of my favorite shorts inspired a commitment to clothing abstinence. Now every time I put them on I will be reminded that I have all I need! It's a good thing that I wear them almost every day, because I'm gonna need a lot of reminding!
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