Taste of My Own Medicine
For teachers, there is a moment when the student becomes the master. That’s not to say every once in a while the teacher couldn’t use a refresher course.
I’ve helped many people clean out their closets, unloading out of fashion old clothing that no longer fits. Most are happy to part with the stuff, but occasionally a heartstring gets tugged. One client, five years divorced, devoted an entire closet to her expensive wedding dress. Emotion is often involved. Or history. Or finances. It’s understandable. It takes time. I try to be gentle, but firm. Sometimes they need a push.
Turns out, we all do.
Last weekend my younger sister Meredith came for a visit. Over the years I’ve organized every dorm room and apartment she’s ever lived in. But on Saturday the shoe was on the other foot. She orchestrated every move. And move it did. Out of my closet and into a giveaway bag. Well, bags.
- 5 pairs of pants
- 4 Blazers
- 2 dresses (one with the tag still on it!)
- 12 Shirts and blouses
- 3 sweaters
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 5 scarves
- 2 skirts
- 3 belts
- 7 pairs of shoes
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I’m constantly culling through my stuff so why was this time so hard? Maybe because Meredith was directing. I felt, what do you call it? Oh yeah, vulnerable. Is this what it’s like to be my client? But I trust my sister when she says, “Too baggy.” “Fits funny.” “Oh, that has to go.” So I tried to relax as the tower of clothing grew higher.
The next day I brought the heavy bags to donation. My arms were burning, but the feeling of separation was visceral. I chided myself: this is not your first rodeo. You’ve given away tons of stuff. Soon the bags were whisked away and I was handed a tax receipt. Walking home, a lightness appeared with each step. Not just physically, but mentally. The burden of ownership of all that stuff was simply gone.
Returning to my apartment I looked inside my closet. White slivers of the back wall were visible between hanging pieces of clothing. The clothes now had room to breathe. And you know what? So did I.