Photo Credit: Deanna de Bara
If you were to take a peek in my closet — and saw the sheer variety of clothing hiding in there — you’d assume I live with at least four or five other women.
There are tailored blazers in various shades of navy, gray, and black.
There are tight, sparkly shirts that are only appropriate past 10 pm (and even then, only in the darkest and seediest of bars).
There are boho jackets, graphic tees, pants suits, and cocktail dresses. There’s an impressive collection of hoodies and enough “athleisure” wear to outfit a soccer team.
And don’t get me started on the accessories.
My closet is like a fashion graveyard, the final resting place of all the people I thought I wanted to be over the years.
There’s the out-of-control party girl who drank her life away while wearing ridiculous graphic tees with obnoxious sayings like “Born To Be Wild.” Then, the ambitious career woman climbing her way up the corporate ladder, desperate to be viewed as a success, and the LA beach bum, the competitive runner, and the wannabe hipster — they’re all there, hanging proudly in my closet.
But in the end, I didn’t turn out to be any of those people; the reality is a lot less glamorous.
I work from home. Most of my day is spent by myself, writing in my at-home office. I spend 99.9% of my time in leggings and big, comfy sweaters.
The person I turned out to be doesn’t need the tailored blazers, the sparkly club shirts, the 10,000 pairs of running shorts. The faux fur vests and slinky cocktail dresses are just taking up space and collecting dust. And honestly, where am I supposed to wear a pair of bright orange 4-inch stilettos? Out walking my dog?
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The clothes hanging in my closet might have worked at different points in my past, but they just don’t fit the life I have today. And every time I step into my wardrobe (and am assaulted by all the clothing I’ll likely never wear again), I always have the same thought.
“I really need to clean out my closet.”
I know I have to do it — that all this unnecessary clothing is just taking space in my bedroom and my life.
But the truth is, it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.
I know that getting rid of all this stuff will feel freeing, but letting go of my stuff also means letting go of all the people I used to be — the people I thought I wanted to be.
It means accepting that I’m probably never going to run another marathon or sit in on another board meeting or dance at a club until the sun comes up. That I’ll never be the ladder-climbing executive, the competitive athlete, or the party girl I so desperately wanted to be.
And every time I attempt to clean out my closet, armed with garbage bags and good intentions, I can’t seem to let go.
Instead, I find myself stepping back into these people.
I slide my arms into my best fitting blazer and remember how I felt when I closed the biggest deal of my corporate career.
I look at my collection of race t-shirts and remember the overwhelming sense of pride I had when I crossed each finish line.
I feel the sequins on my favorite party dress and remember the lost, drunk girl I used to be.
My closet may be a fashion graveyard, but the truth is, burying the people I thought I wanted to be is proving much harder than I anticipated.
Because if I let go of the people I used to be and get rid of my ghosts-of-fashions-past, it means I have to accept the person that I am — in all my leggings-and-sweater-wearing glory. That I’m the kind of person that can easily wear yoga pants five days in a row. That today, “dress to impress” means wearing shoes that aren’t sneakers or Ugg boots. That there’s no need for me to get dressed up on a daily basis because the only witnesses to my fashion choices are myself and my dog.
That, when it comes down to, the person I ended up being is a far cry from the people I thought I wanted to be.
It’s time to let go.
Because even though all the people I used to be — the party girl, the beach bum, the ladder-climbing executive — would be pretty surprised at the way I ended up, the truth is, this is the person I’m supposed to be.
Because all the people I thought I wanted to be? I was just trying them on for size.
And the clothes I wear today? They might not be as glamorous or fun or well-tailored as my previous wardrobes, but the truth is, they’re a much better fit.
So the time has come. Today, I’m going to clean out my closet and say goodbye to the people I thought I wanted to be and make room for the person I am — and for plenty more big, comfy sweaters.
Wish me luck.