Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clothing, Identity and Memory

When I was in college, I took a class about memory. Oddly enough, I don't remember much about it, except that we learned about the falsity of our own memories. Things we thought happened a certain way that aren't actually true. Ten years later and I still think about that class I can't remember, because that one fact I learned keeps coming true for me. This week I was putting laundry away throwing clothes into a pile and scratching my head about why I have so little closet space. I rifled through some stuff and realized exactly why.

Mama Monkey is back in the hospital.

The just-in-case clothes. The when-I-start-working-again blouses. The need-this-for-a-cocktail-party dresses. The so-and-so-bought-me-that t-shirts. I realized that I'm not hoarding things. I'm hoarding memories, and, by extension, I'm hoarding a former identity. The tops pictured above are all things I wore regularly when I worked full-time. Y'know. Four and half years ago. Unless our situation changes, the plan is for me to stay at home until our youngest is in school. Y'know. Six years from now. Ten years? Was I really planning on keeping these tops for ten years?? And we all know that even if I do, no way will I want to wear them!


So why are they here? They're here for the memories. They're here so that when I look in my closet, I'm reminded that I used to have a job that did not involve diapers, Goldfish, and spit up. But if I'm being honest, what good does that memory do me? I'm never going to be that person again. I'm never going to be 25 and without life's most serious responsibilities. Wouldn't it be better to just...move on?


As it turns out, my memory is not so good. One shirt is frayed. Others are too small. One was never that comfortable anyway. One I will keep, because my husband bought it for me, and because getting to keep one is the deal I made with myself. If I'm going to stuff my closet with questionable items, I'd much rather that they were things I've sewn. Those memories, of learning a new skill and trying different styles, make me happy. Me-mades can stay. Everything else, well, I'll forget I ever had it in the first place!

5 comments:

  1. So true. Being a bit older than you we had clothes 'for best' but not any more. I am going home to thin out my 'when I get that weight off' clothes haha. Hope you are coping OK. Best wishes K xXx

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    1. The transition to three kids has been hard, I think a good clothing purge will help! Hope it makes you feel better as well.

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  2. many years ago my sister was helping me go through some old clothes. and i said i was going to save some outfit for when i lost weight. and she said with a smirk on her face. honestly if you lost weight is this what you really want to wear! i will never forget that day.

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    1. Yes! So true. Styles change so much, and any excuse to buy/sew new clothes would be taken for sure!

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  3. I've done the same, as far as keeping clothes, and your talk of memories makes so much sense. I need to purge again, too many dressy dresses for a retiree who lives where it feels like the surface of the sun all summer.

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