Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Excavations & Discoveries, Part 1

As you may know, I threw shit out this weekend. Specifically, I cleared out my sewing room and bedroom closet. I took plenty of pictures of the three-day Crapapalooza. I thought you'd enjoy seeing my squalor, plus I unearthed a lot of cool things along the way.

Let me start my story with this: I am a slob. I'm habiutally messy and disorganized. It's a sickness: I'm allergic to keeping things neat, and I think that deserves some kind of federal aid or grant. It's not just my personal space, either. Anyone who has ever worked with me will tell you that even when I'm being paid money, I can't keep my shit organized. OCD I am not.

Even though my Beloved Spouse cleaned out my sewing room just about a year ago, I had let it return to its previous state of messedupitude. It was looking pretty dystopian. On top of that, I was still clinging to my huge collection of vintage clothes, which took up an enormous amount of space.

OK, stop. A few words of explanation here on the topic of me and vintage clothes. Shortly after Precocious Daughter was born, I became obsessed with vintage fashion. I started to collect pieces primarily from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and to wear them with a passion. The important point here is that I wore them. I loved wearing vintage (I still do, but I've modulated my obsession and I keep it to a few occasional pieces). I only bought pieces for my collection - my huge collection - that fit me. And back then - deep, deep breath - I wore a modern size 4.

Not quite, but damn I was wasp-waisted.
 I worked those clothes. Day dresses from the 50s, 60s designer sheaths, clingy polyester from the 70s - I rocked them all. I loved the way they looked, the way they made me feel, their uniqueness and craftsmanship.

Who wouldn't want to feel like this?
Let's cut to the chase. I'm no size 4 anymore. In the first place, there were certain extenuating circumstances in my life at that time that made me, for a brief couple of years, much skinnier than I had ever been before. Loved the look, but if a shrink wanted to postulate that I used vintage dress-up as camouflage for a lot of harsh and stressful realities, I wouldn't waste my breath arguing. In the second place, as I ate too much, drank too much, and crept toward middle age, I piled on some poundage. C'est la vie, which is French for "pass the marshmallows."

I stopped wearing my fab vintage duds as I outgrew them and replaced them with ordinary 21st century working-mom clothes. I sold a few pieces here and there, but the bulk (get it? bulk!) of my collection has been lovingly packed away for quite a while now. Still, I never gave up my wonderful clothes. How could I? They represented nostalgia, beauty, fun, and of course skinniness. And one day, surely, I would be able to fit in them again. After I somehow miraculously got back down to the weight I never should have been at to begin with.

Let me tell you how freaking good this
mental image is for one's self-esteem.
But I finally - make that FIIIIINALLY - realized that those boxes of vintage clothes in my sewing room were like a big old wall between the person I was and the person I wanted to be. And I was stuck on the wrong side of it, too hemmed in by reminders of what was to get on with what needed to be.

I have a packet of flower seeds in my kitchen that's been there for several years. I meant to start a pretty flower patch in a certain corner of my yard, but the packet got overlooked, or forgotten, or whatever, and the seeds never got planted. There's no way they'd sprout now if I planted them - they're too far past their prime - but they still sit there. Representing the little flower patch I would have, should have, could have been enjoying. There is no flower patch. I never bought new seeds, because my brain kept telling me, "You don't need new seeds. You already have seeds. You just have to plant them. Someday."

I'm pretty damn tired of waiting for someday. I don't want to be someday's bitch. I really need the space my vintage collection has been occupying. Not just the space in my sewing room, but the space in my head. So this time, there was no "clean it out except." Or "get rid of these but not these." I dragged it all out - the vintage stuff, the modern clothes that I haven't worn in a year or more, an entire box of awesome size 4s and 6s that I had actually had the gall to label "skinny pants" as if that were somehow motivating - and said goodbye.

In this task I was helped enormously by Precocious Daughter. She not only kept on me mercilessly until every last stitch of clothing had been sorted between donations and possible vintage/consignment-shop sales, but she reminded me just how far and fast my life has gone since she's been in it. And how much I look forward to our future.

I just realized that I've written quite a long post and haven't actually gotten to the "cleaning out" part. Looks like we've got us a multi-part post here. I'll get to the cool pictures next time, I promise. Including the explanation of the picture I posted on my Facebook page yesterday. Keep the guesses coming!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to find that packet of seeds and throw the damn thing away. I'll be back!

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