I tackled a job today that I knew was going to be emotionally difficult – I cleaned out and re-organized my closet. Some of you are probably wondering what’s so difficult about that? Normally cleaning out your closet is a refreshing and satisfying task to complete – but unfortunately for me, it was difficult because I was packing away clothes that I still love, but that no longer fit me.
This process began with heading down to our basement where I have approximately four large bins packed with clothes that have met the same, sad fate – they no longer fit. Several years ago, I was much smaller, fitter, and thinner and as the weight crept back on I just couldn’t bear to give away my cute, adorable, tiny clothes. As I rifled through bins today, I came across some of these pieces and utterly surprised myself that I had actually worn garments so small just a mere few years ago.
Then the next hard part came. I finally found the bin that housed my summer clothes from last year. I had already gained a significant amount of weight back by summer 2014 and had high hopes that some of the stuff I bought last year would still fit me so I could wear it again. The process became increasingly difficult as I realized that my luck had run out. Out of an entire bin of clothing, only one pair of pants and two shirts still fit. The discouragement crept in.
Next, I had the task of removing ill-fitting clothing that had been shoved to the back of my closet in the hopes that I’d wear it again some day soon. I had moved quite a few things out a few months ago so there weren’t a lot to get rid of today until I came to some dresses that I had forgotten were at the very back of my closet. As I pulled out one particular burgundy and black dress that I’d worn to a Christmas party (and had felt fabulous in) I felt my heart sink as I looked at how small its waist was. I then showed it to my husband and although he didn’t say anything, the look of fondness and the sad smile on his face was enough. Next, I pulled out the tight-fitting black dress with cut-outs that I’d worn to my bachelorette party and on my honeymoon. My husband used to love this dress on me, and so did I. As I stared longingly at it, remembering the feelings of confidence it used to bring me, my heart sank further.
And then came the tears.
I cried silently as I folded up these dresses (and a few others) and put them into the bin to join the others in the basement. As my husband shouted something to me from another room, I couldn’t answer him, the tears catching in my throat. Within minutes he was in our bedroom, wrapping me in a hug and telling me all kinds of wonderful things about how beautiful I am and how he doesn’t want to see me be depressed about my weight.
But the feelings of sadness, frustration, and disappointment were overwhelming in that moment and I really just wanted to wallow in my own self-pity.
“I just need a minute,” I reassured him, leaning into his shoulders, my tears spilling onto his shoulder, “Just let me be depressed for a minute.”
And so he did. He held me tight for a moment while I cried and missed the fitter, healthier, thinner me who used to wear all these cute clothes. Then I pulled myself from him and wiped away my tears while he continued to reassure me that I’d wear these clothes again. I nodded, trying to convince myself that he’s right and hoping so bad that he is.
I don’t know why but throughout all the years that I have struggled with my weight, something as simple as clothing has always had such an emotional impact on me. There’s really nothing better for your self-esteem than wearing an article of clothing you feel amazing in, just as there’s nothing worse for your-self esteem than trying to squeeze into something you desperately love but don’t fit into.
Anyway, the job is done now. My closet looks bare but at least the few remaining items are pieces I love, fit me well, and flatter my body. It’ll be much easier to get dressed in the morning, and having those other, smaller clothes packed away in the basement is a lot less depressing than having them taunt me from their hangers every time I go to get dressed. And hopefully some day, I will wear them again.
The other positive thing about all of this? I now have a good excuse to go shopping 🙂