We all do it.
Leave clothes in our closet that we don't wear anymore.
I lived in tiny apartments in Manhattan for so many years AND I've been a gypsy so I'm usually good at getting rid of them.
Lately, I've been tormented by the clothes hanging in my closet from before my March 2014 surgery.
Clothes I brought from San Diego via New York. They've lived in three cities. Even with my curating skills, I wouldn't get rid of them.
Many were "office" clothes, button downs, work skirts, dresses for business meetings. Some were "going out" clothes.
I know that for most people that doesn't seem so weird to hang onto old clothes.
But for me, this has been a much more significant act of denial.
A lot of these clothes were purchased after my melanoma surgeries (in my leg) when I was heavier. Like a lot of people, I've fluctuated over the years. But these were big, even for me.
With so many digestive issues over the years, it's not uncommon for me to shrink down a couple of sizes. But I like to eat! So eventually I go back to my usual size. And I figured I'd need them when I re-entered the work force and had a night life again.
Months turned into years. The clothes started to haunt me which I've written about before. Reminding me of what I couldn't/didn't have.
I know a lot of people would think it's great to not be able to fit into their bigger sizes.
I know this is a sensitive topic for many so I'll do my best to share my *own* experience while trying to be respectful of other peoples' struggles.
Being smaller than usual (for ME) isn't that awesome. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's fun to be able to wear styles that don't normally look good on a curvier, bustier version of myself - I'm around 5 feet tall so we don't have a lot of fashion flexibility! But man, I'd trade 20 pounds (or more, really) to be able to live more normally, eat again. I can't imagine how painful it is for people who have struggled with their weight for their whole life to hear this. I don't want to cause anyone distress. I only know that in my world, being smaller is always connected to pain, isolation and not having the sensual and very human experience of dining with friends out in the world.
I hate living like this. I hate walking by restaurants and knowing I don't get to have that experience. I hate walking by items in the grocery store thinking "don't look don't look don't look." I hate smelling divine meals and watching people consume them, barely chewing, laughing, drinking wine - and know that I may never get to experience that again.
Some people may think they'd give anything to be smaller. And they might.
For me, though, I'd do anything to have a functional digestive system. There are so many things we can work to achieve in this life. But I keep working, and working, and working, and I still can't seem to find the answers on how to digest properly.
My diet is as clean as possible (except for the chocolate which I know bothers my stomach but not enough to stop eating it!). I go to a zillion talented practitioners.
I'm getting something called Neural Therapy next month to try to reduce scar tissue in my belly from my very smart naturopathic doctor. But who knows if it will work. I'm petrified that an area of my intestines will narrow to the point that I'll need emergency surgery and end up with someone not talented enough to deal with whatever mess is in there. If the wrong person starts cutting the wrong things in there....
I met an old friend for tea yesterday. And at the last minute, at 2am the night before (because I sleep super weird hours thanks to my strange functioning endocrine system), I started trying on clothes that I could give to her.
None of them looked right.
In a whirlwind before I could rationalize keeping them, I placed them into my mom's shopping bags and handed them over to her yesterday.
And it felt glorious. She was super excited, which makes me happy and it was such a relief to GET THEM OUT OF MY SPACE.
They're a reminder of who I used to be. And who I don't get to be anymore.
I don't even need many clothes now anyway! I rarely go out in the evenings because I have to do my dumb pooping routine (if I do go out, I have to rearrange my day so that it gets done). The consulting project I had last year didn't require in-person meetings.
Also, I feel different. Some of the clothes felt too...sweet, too conservative. I realized my sense of self has changed so drastically in the last couple of years that these clothes no longer reflect who I am.
I have the urge for more tattoos. More black. I've always had rocker clothes but now...those feel like me more of the time rather than less.
It's a really weird feeling. Becoming a vastly different person when most people are settling into themselves after years of figuring out who they are.
I've always liked a lot of change more than the average person. But I GOT to choose when and how I shifted. I GOT to decide what "look" I'd present in my next chapter.
None of this was my choice.
Thankfully, giving away these clothes felt liberating. I've been thinking about it and I think it's because I'm starting to accept that I am NOT the same person as before. Unloading those clothes felt like a huge part of the acceptance process:
I'm no longer the able-bodied, rounder, working professional I used to be.
As hard as it is to wrap my head around that, I know it's for the best to let her go. Step into this new self that has bandages sticking out of my shirts and comfortable, loose clothing for my many doctor appointments.
I hate letting the old self go. And love it at the same time.
Change is never easy. We all hang onto things we should release.
But handing those bags over to my friend felt way more monumental than just cleaning out my closet.
I felt like I was shutting the door on my old life.
Which finally allows me to open up to the new one....