June 11, 2012
It all started with the blue dress. My daughter and her best friend begged me to take them shopping so, never being one to say no to some leisure, I carted them to the mall in Ingolstadt. Pressing some cash into her palm, I told Daughter to use it wisely. She winked. I wasn’t sure whether to be worried or laugh. I chose the latter.
As with many things in my life, the blue dress called out to me.
“You must take me home with you.” I drew nearer. Was it really talking to me? Now I know textiles don’t talk, but this one was definitely saying something. I found it hard not to listen.
“But I don’t need you,” I whispered into the clothing rack. A few eyes around the store fell upon me. I tried to ignore them.
“Trust me,” the dress whispered back. “Yes, you do.”
I tried it on to be sure I wasn’t losing my mind. It gave me a hug. I could feel it. So I pulled out the cash and bought it. Full retail price.
When I got home, I took one look at my closet and realized I couldn’t possibly hang this beautiful thing next to so many drabby clothes that smacked of compromise, reason and bargain-hunting.
I started pulling out all kinds of clothing that I really couldn’t stand. Dresses my dear, fashionable sister handed down to me that never really quite fit, clothing I bought on an impulse because I thought it made sense at the time, handbags with stained interiors, and one thigh-high stocking whose pair must have gotten lost in the shuffle at some point. A question formulated in my mind.
“Do I love it?” If the answer wasn’t yes, I dumped it.
Not everything I tossed was old or thread-bare: a sweater I only wore once, a scarf someone well-meaning had given me, an old jacket I donned a dozen times. Other items I kept: a cocktail dress I wore to George H. W. Bush’s Inaugral ball (which, by some miracle, still fits), the dress I wore to the theater the night Princess Diana died, a twenty-four year old Victoria’s secret night gown that has seen more tears than I can tell you.
If clothing makes the woman, then I have set myself free.
The message was obvious. We all need to engage in space clearing in our lives. Whether they are physical things, bad relationships or harmful habits, each of us can start anew by making room for new possibilities. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to listen.
Thank you, blue dress. You were right. I needed you more than I realized.
**Editor’s Note: Not sure how to space clear? This post will tell you.