02 December 2014
breaking up with my wardrobe
For awhile now, I feel my wardrobe and I have fallen out of cahoots.
Retrospect: growing up, when back-to-school shopping my mum always tried to gently sway me in the direction getting what she emphatically called The Eight-Piece Solution, or eight simple pieces that would all pair together -- which, ok, I got it...but I thought eight was insane.
(I still think it's insane.)
But tis the principle of the thing. And, as seems to happen more with age...it turns out that my mum -- as French women across the ages have been -- was right.
And, of the French. This is no news. But, Paris is on my mind. I'm doing French rosetta stone. And we'll be traveling there in the near-ish future, and I was thinking to myself, well, I've got quite a number of things I'd be happy to wear through the streets of Paris. I've amassed an impressive variety of black flats and dresses, and white silk blouses over the years. There are the simple tees, the skinny jeans, the black skirts, the gray sweaters...
...and so, it is not a bad lot, resting there in my closet.
Here's the best way I can think to explain it. It's like when you are first moving into a place. And you bring in your bed. And there it is, looking so simple and neat -- so accessible, and useful there on its own. You unpack your first box of books (the prettiest ones) and you are proud of how things look in this reduced space. You want to re-read that favorite collection of poetry. In your bed. With nothing else. (Maybe just the white dishes.) And you would be fine if the truck whisked away all your other belongings to some other town. You feel all the romance of small-apartment-in-the-city-life washing over you. And you are pleased.
It feels good to be unencumbered.
I have never been too terribly fond of shopping on-trend. Aztec prints and fringe-draped sweaters are not my thing, you can have them. My predilection has always been toward the softer tones, the simpler, feminine things --
(I'll illuminate the details of this soon. For now, my pinterest board is as good a visual as any.)
The things that, allow me to re-invoke the sentiment, would be worthy of Paris.
But, somehow, I have managed to accumulate a collection of things that doesn't feel like...me. Then I drape myself in these things, and feel exponentially further from myself than I even did looking at them in the first place.
Things given, things thrifted, things acquired impulsively. And in a collection of things, the bad ones are gadflies to the good -- they are garrulous, really, demanding attention simply by being loud. This is what misguided acquisition (and the clinging to it) brings.
(And I am slowly facing the reality this has happened more this year than ever before. More on that soon.)
My goal this year was simple: live with intention.
And, acquiring things (or doing anything at all) impulsively is antithetical to that end.
(And I think it's because I want a baby, and infertility is the pits, and you would rather not have the time to shop, but time is all you have, so you fill that time up doing things you'd rather not, and sometimes buying something frivolous fills that void for a half-second and you feel a little better, is all.)
I am finding that doing anything impulsively is to implicate your entire soul in a crime committed by a restless heart.
I said to Robert on Saturday night,
I am breaking up with my wardrobe.
And he said,
And I said,
because I am not attached to the things in my closet, but attached to the idea of them as a collective whole.
And I don't like feeling that way.
We spent until the early hours of the morning piling most of our clothes in a heap. The heavier-laden our arms and the floors of our apartment grew, the lighter our hearts became. (And I mean that.)
That idea of the perverted-gestalt-wardrobe-concept is important here. It is ok to be irrationally attached to a thing or two in your wardrobe. I think it's all right to cling to a dress you might never wear again that for some inexplicable reason, you can never seem to send to the round bin. But at some point, I stopped conceptualizing of pieces in that way, and started to romanticize the whole lot of them -- together -- like that.
(When you have this deep compulsion to nurture, and you want a baby, but you can't seem to get one -- you make all the other stuff in your small universe some weird semblance of a proxy. You know you can't sustain this. You know it won't make things better. But you do it. Impulsively.)
So, the moving truck does not drive away with all your other stuff. This is not reality. The rest of the boxes come upstairs. They're in a heap, toppling over each other. You are overwhelmed. There is no peace in stuff. (And you know this. But you have learned to push that aside.) You unpack them...
There are a number of unusual and brightly-hued things that I will cling to. But for awhile -- a month, all winter, a year? -- I am on hiatus. In suit with Natalie's (and others') capsule, I boxed up the whittled-down assortment of ones to remain, and pushed them to back of the closet for temporary disuse. And, now hanging up: a series of white blouses, a black one, a gray one, basic tees, and a striped one. Black skirts, a leather jacket. A pile of desaturated sweaters. A pretty lace dress. The beloved camel coat. A black purse and a brown one hang in the corner. A watch. The tiniest row of black shoes: pointed flats, mary janes, ankle boots, clogs. You feel all the romance of small-apartment-in-the-city-life washing over you. And you are pleased.
It feels good to be unencumbered.