I ran my hand across the row of skirts. They were things I’d worn, things I still wear, and things I might wear. I began grabbing those in the bracket categories and pulling them off the hangers. It was time to let go of the skirt which could be really cool if only I found the right match for it. It was time to bag the skirt which I used to wear, but no longer feels comfortable. When the skirts were thinned, I did the same for shirts. Anything uncomfortable or stained came off the hangers. My closet had more space. I removed the red shirt I don’t like to wear, but kept because having a red shirt is useful. Now I can see a red shirt gap in my wardrobe and perhaps I’ll look to find a shirt I like to fill that gap.
The closet purge was triggered by a conversation with Howard that clicked into my long-term dissatisfaction with my appearance. My body changed shape in the past few years and I guess I kept hoping it would revert. It was only a shift of five pounds. I’ve had that sort of shift before without needing to adjust my wardrobe. So small a shift seemed like it should be easy to back track. It used to be easy. Or maybe it was denial that let me make do with only two pairs of pants that fit comfortably. I filled in the space between wash days with grubbier-than-usual clothes because elastic waistbands don’t remind me that I can’t zip the pants I used to wear. There was also some stubborn denial in the fact that I don’t want to be a person who complains about getting older or gaining weight, particularly in so small an amount. I know that I have less cause to complain than many women. In fact, I know that I’m very fortunate and that the weight I’m mentally grumbling about is one that women with health issues would be delighted to achieve. My current body shape is socially acceptable and is right on the border between normal and overweight for my height.
The truth is that human bodies want to add weight as they get older. I’m going to have to learn to dissociate my feelings of personal attractiveness from my memories of my twenty or thirty year old body. Even if I do manage to shed five, ten, fifteen pounds, my body will be different than it was before. Also, I think my dissatisfaction with my appearance has far more to do with things going on in my head than with the shape of my body. The things going on in my head were reflected in my closet and drawers which were full of clothes that used to be wonderful, or might be lovely if. I had to clear out all of that, so I can see what really is useful. I don’t need all of my clothes to make me feel pretty, but I certainly need to get rid of the ones that contribute to making me feel ugly. It will take me awhile to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. Money is tight this year and that has led me to hang on to stained clothing because I didn’t want to pay to replace it. Part of what I had to set right in my head is that sometimes I’m allowed to spend clothing budget on me instead of always on Howard or the kids. I always forget that when money gets tight.
I’m not going to give up the fight for those five pounds. I’d like to plant myself firmly in the normal range because I believe that is best for my long-term health and well-being. But I’m going to stop believing that losing weight is the quick path to feeling better about myself.