I unexpectedly bought a new wardrobe this week. And, as is the case when you find yourself with a new piece of furniture, a clear-out was in order. I’ve never been much good at parting with clothes, or indeed anything, being, as I am, a natural hoarder. But, if you catch me in the right mood, I can somehow summon up the necessary courage to bid adieu to unwanted possessions. I decided to make 3 piles of clothes. The first pile was devoted to my stock clothes, the ones that I wear the most and that are at the highest risk of creasing if they are not hung up. The second pile was for those items that were to be demoted to my chest of drawers. The 3rd pile was for the charity shop – this particular pile was struggling to gain much height.
I was making very slow progress – I needed to take several short breaks to sit down and still had to meet the demands of my children, who were taking it in turns to face mini dramas of their own downstairs. This clothing clear-out also required me to try on various outfits to ascertain which ones still fit. The thing is, however, my size has never really changed too much and so I can still get away with keeping clothes that have long since gone out of fashion or, in some cases, have even come back into fashion again – this makes for a very eclectic mix of clothing! I also found myself reminiscing about the different looks I have styled over the years – my ‘grunger’ look, my ‘hoodie’ period, my ‘now I’m a grown-up I need to wear uncomfortable but sophisticated clothes’ look, my ‘job interview’ collection (which is collecting dust)… You just never know when you might need to dig these clothes out again!
Having finished sifting through my clothes rail I turned my waning attention to the chest of drawers, which needed to be sorted out to make room for the clothes in pile no. 2. I was feeling quite smug as I managed to add 2 more t-shirts to the charity shop pile, but then something at the bottom of my drawer caught my eye. It was a favourite blue checked shirt of mine from Superdry, dating back to my ‘casual, comfy tomboy’ look of the late noughties. I felt a sudden jerk somewhere in the pit of my stomach and a surreal feeling crept over me as my mind began swirling in a whirlwind of memories. I was sitting in a stuffy doctor’s room facing an aging man who was looking at me with caring concern on his face. He was talking, but I couldn’t discern what he was saying. The world was a blur but I could just make out a child’s painting pinned to the wall, presumably a cherished piece of artwork by the man’s grandchild. What was it of? Was it a shoe? Was it a rainbow? What was it, and why was it demanding so much of my attention? Forcing my focus away from the painting I searched about until I settled on my younger self. I was wearing the blue checked shirt from Superdry; this is what I was wearing the day I was diagnosed with MS.
Shaking myself back to the present I held the shirt in my numb hands. Then, folding it neatly up, I placed it back in the drawer as though it were a treasured wedding dress or my child’s first Babygro.
Note to my counsellor: We may need to work on this!