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THE WEIGHT OF MEMORY
Ever since we moved to Sweden, I have had a couple of boxes of old clothes in the back of the closet. Because I got pregnant almost right away after we moved here and gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies and have never really gotten it off, I have never been able to once again wear the clothes that are in the boxes.

Several years ago, my friend Debbie, who is as good as my sister at helping others to clear out clutter, went through the boxes with me, and I managed to pare down the boxes to only 2. They're still fairly big boxes, and truth be told, there are other clothes in my closet that no longer fit, but they usually fall in the wearable category SOMETIMES, when my weight is on the downside...which granted, isn't that often nowadays. *sigh*

I've been told more than once that I should just get rid of them, because even if I did lose enough weight, the last thing I would want to do is wear old clothes that are out of style. But that's just the thing... I WOULD wear them. I would TOTALLY wear them. OK, maybe not the velvety burgundy stirrup pants but a lot of them are definitely clothes that are timeless and I would be thrilled to be able to integrate them back into my wardrobe. Well, why don't I just lose the weight then? Heh. Easier said than done, as many of you well know.

Anyway, Karin beat me to it. For some reason, she fastened on the idea that I have clothes in the closet that I never wear and she ransacked the boxes. She pulled out a dozen or so tops and a couple of pairs of leggings and a jeans jacket and declared that she was taking them. While she was going through the clothes, I was getting progressively more and more upset; more angry at both myself and her. And she finally asked me, "What are you so mad about? Wouldn't you rather someone wear these and get some use out of them than that they sit in the closet forever?"

Good question, kid.

The clothes in the boxes, the ones I keep holding on to, are special. They're not just clothes, they're memories. And that makes it very hard to part with them. They represent a part of the person I was back then (a person who could wear a belt, haha!) and the things I was doing and the place where I was: younger, thinner, freer.

They are clothes I had when I met Anders. Clothes that made me feel good. Patterns on fabric that I loved. I think I could easily pare down the boxes even more now. Now that nearly 20 years have gone by and I began to rationally understand that the chances of my fitting into them ever again grow slimmer, since I don't.

But still, it was a really hard process to hand them over, to give them up, to be an adult about it and realize that I'm NOT that person anymore and can't be, ever again, even though at the same time, I will ALWAYS be that person. I just won't be able to wear her clothes.

However, apart from a couple of the tops, I don't really think it's appropriate for KARIN to be wearing them either, and that was part of what was getting me so upset. She's an Extra Small, thin and muscular and beautiful with it. I don't like the idea of her wearing clothes that are 3-4 times too big for her. Why, if you CAN wear XS would you want to wear XL? Maybe it's just that: the choice. It certainly doesn't work the other way.

Anyway, I gave in, and we washed the ones she chose and packed away the ones that I still really need to go through and give up. I suspect she'll only wear a few of them once or twice and then tire of the idea of wearing Mom's over-sized oldies and they'll be relegated to the charity bags...from whence I might just rescue a few of them again and put them back in my memory boxes.

You never know, after all.
 thoughtful
mood: thoughtful
music: Cock Robin—The Promise You Made


Comments

I wonder how you will feel when you actually see Karin wearing some of your "memories?" Or was trying on part of the process already?

When I was visiting Brieana last week, I saw an old shirt of mine hanging with her clothes. It sure did kick me in the nostalgia gut.

It gives me a pang, every time.

The clothes in the boxes, the ones I keep holding on to, are special. They're not just clothes, they're memories. And that makes it very hard to part with them.

And I see no reason why you should. Whether you wear them again or not is not the point and I don't think I'd "rather someone wear them" at all. I have a few clothes like that myself that I'm never giving up because the memories associated with them are very special and personal to only me.

I think it's reasonable to get rid of more of them, though. There's no need to have an entire closet plus a dresser, plus 2 boxes of clothes I don't wear... I did do another purge this morning, though, and got it down to 1 box: progress!

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

Yes! I have a few things too, although I have given up most. Some things you just can't part with and it has nothing to do with wearing them again, it is the memory when you take them out of the box.

Re: From Megsie

I'm thinking of other ways I could preserve some of this stuff... maybe a quilt?

(Anonymous)
Re: From Megsie

I have heard of people doing this...mostly with sports jerseys and such...but that is a great idea!

I know exactly what you mean. :-)

I knew I wasn't alone!

(Anonymous)

I think a quilt is the perfect solution! Or even a few pillows. The memories will remain in solid form. Or even better- take photos of each, add a poem about what they mean/meant to you- and publish it! Karin could even model them for the photos if you don't want to just lay them out or pin them up for the photos. Love, Lizardmom

I'm with Lizardmom -- keep the memories in a way that you can enjoy them every day. :-)

Most of them aren't probably the right material for a quilt, though... if there IS a right material. I'll have to email Beth and ask :)

I have a stack of old t-shirts that I will never part with and which my daughter is certainly never welcome to wear. Not that she could wear the ones that are most precious to me because age and wear has left them practically in tatters, but you're right, they are your memories and yours to do with as you see fit. Even if that means keeping them in a box.

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