The Thing and I

Seems like all my friends are reading the same book I’m reading right now:
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The book has been out for a while; I don’t know why it’s suddenly all over the place in my circles.

But here I am, taking Marie Kondo’s advice about folding clothes and discarding books. She has a lot of things to say about how to do these things, and how to start. She promises a transformed life if I follow her directions.

I am not following her directions. My life does not have room to do it the right way. I have to kind of start where I am and go forward in the size of steps I can do. I can tell it would be better if I did it her way, but things are a little better even when I start imperfectly.

I went through my hall closet. Not the whole closet, just my coats. Which jackets did I want to keep? And the inverse question, which should I let go of?

I got rid of two beautiful coats that never fit me right. One was a lovely GAP trench coat I bought at a thrift store 8 years ago. Eight years of never being able to wear that coat! Time to let it go.

Then the other jacket.

The Other Jacket.

20 years ago I bought a fan-dang-tastic leather motorcycle jacket from Wilson’s leather. Oh My God.

It was perfect. No one wearing that jacket could possibly be trifled with. It was urban armor. I festooned it with even more metal that the plenty it already had.

I wore it from time to time to be armor. When I wanted to come off as fearless. I wore it for the first date with my now husband.

But it was the wrong size. Very the wrong size. It must have been on the clearance rack, but for 20 years I have owned a truly beautiful apex-of-tough leather jacket that was three sizes too big.

Back when I bought it, I needed armor a lot more than I do now. And the fact that it was a sale rack must have been the permission I felt I needed to buy it. 20 years ago, things were moving from impossible to barely possible–a heady time.

It gave me so much joy to possess it. To have this thing, an emblematic thing that meant I was a rock star! I was unassailable! I told myself that the fact that it was too large made me look like I was wearing the tough coat of someone even LARGER and TOUGHER than myself.

So last week as I cleaned my closet and I saw that beautiful jacket I knew it was time to let it go.

I put it in my car to give away. It was time to find a jacket that would fit me.

I mourned it for days. Like an ache.

How could I abandon this jacket? This jacket and I had created a story together. When I bought it, I saw this whole future trajectory of the jacket and me together, the things we would be and do.

Isn’t that crazy? And I know I am not the only one. Boots, coats, luggage, all these things tell us fascinating stories of who we could be together.

“Hey, there. Think of the person you could be if you owned boots like these.”

And that may be why Marie Kondo had to write this book in the first place. So many of us get tangled in the stories of the STUFF. One day I’m going to read that book. I will finish that quilt. I know that one day I will have a very dressy occasion that consists entirely of sitting down when I can wear those gorgeous shoes.

I gave the jacket to a friend. Thank you, beautiful jacket; for all that you have been to me. I want to live another story now. I may find another tough jacket, but if I do it will fit me.

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