Sunday, August 28, 2016

Clothing Memories

I have a special kind of talent. Some people have what's known as hyperthymesia. These individuals have an extremely detailed memory and can recall nearly every single day of their life. Pick a date from 12 years ago, and most could tell you what they did, what happened in the news, and possibly what they had for breakfast. I may not be that talented, but if you pick something out of my closet, I can tell you when I wore it, why I chose it and what happened while I was in it. It's a variation of the sort. My clothes have memories attached, as do yours, but I'm extra dramatic and sentimental. Bear with me again. 

When he left us, and I realized that he wasn't coming back, and I made peace with the fact that I didn't want him to, I had a giant garage sale. A lot of what made the cut were items and pieces of my wardrobe that held enough memory that I needed to part with and not look it in the face every time I swung open my closet door.

The lavender dress from Forever 21 I wore at my bridal shower. The butter yellow maxi I wore in our engagement photos. The vintage blazer lined with gold sequins I bought off of Etsy and wore on our honeymoon. The sparkled cardigan that I wore when he proposed on Valentine's Day. The Oscar de la Renta lingerie he liked enough to comment on. All of this was thrown into a bag and marked "for sale." If he touched it, I was boxing it up. I didn't need the karma or sting attached to the future.

Over the weekend I was chatting with Brooke - my usual evening routine - and we were deciding what I needed to wear to a little adventure that I'll be braving soon (don't worry, I'll write about it). I stood inside my closet, spinning around several times, taking in the lot of memories I had stuck inside such a small space.

Combing through 27 years worth of experiences and I always start with the clothes. And then they lead to this....

I remember being in 5th grade standing in line waiting to get my photo done for one of those child ID cards. I had on khaki capris, a denim button-up blouse with embroidered, pastel flowers and a full head of butterfly clips. And then I thought about shaving my legs and training bras. I wasn't shaving my legs just yet. My blonde hair hadn't quite sprouted to the level that the naked eye could see. But I had a friend in class that had long, dark hairs all over. There was a boy making fun of her, telling her she should start shaving and shouted out, "See, Grace shaves her legs," and proceeded to run his hand up and down my calf. I kicked him and threw my bag of gel pens at him. Then I made him pick up every last one of said pens.

I was incredibly resistant to those training bras. I just didn't want to deal with it. I'm also pretty sure that I skipped wearing them as often as I could without getting reprimanded until 7th grade when it was an inevitable fact of life. I was growing boobs. But I was stuck wearing the ones that clasped in the front. And then I was in English class, and I was wearing a giant, three-quarter length shirt with a shiny American flag plastered on the front giving a report when the clasp came undone. I crossed my arms at my desk for the rest of the hour. This is when resting bitch face was born.

I've always had a bit of a strange style. It's developed and matured over the years, but still, there have been many moments that I'm both proud of my choice and frightened of the thought that I had big enough lady balls to walk around in the eclectic pieces. Middle school was a full concoction of tournament t-shirts with matching ribbons and looking as if DEB threw up in my room. I'll never forget those galaxy jeans I came prancing into school with after Christmas break. They were bell bottoms with sparkles and what looked like spray painted stars all over the legs. I paired it with a red turtleneck, and it was topped off with my chic and fairly new clear braces (including a missing tooth that I had pulled before those train tracks had been placed). This memory is startling because I also thought it was a good idea to crimp my hair. It gets worse because I was complimented on it. You all had really questionable taste as well.

Middle school was also sprinkled with "quotable" shirts. The ones that we labeled ourselves with. Perfect. Angel. Cute. These words were seen printed on our chests. And our lids were lined with white eyeliner. That too was also a questionable choice. I wore my orange, "perfect" tee when my butt missed a chair in the cafeteria. Like ... I sat down and just went straight to the floor. I was nowhere close to the chair. A really, not nice, someone stopped, looked down at me and said, "Well, guess you're not too perfect," before he continued to go dump his tray off at the counter. I never wore that damn shirt again.

Then cargo pants hit the scene. And I wore the crap out of those too. I had a favorite pair from Aeropostale that I matched with a sparkle, (are you sensing a theme here?) cowl-neck tank dripping in cheap fabric and an awful burnt orange. On this particular day, Sam and I decided to side kick each other at the same time sending her flying down the hallway and me into the lockers freshman year. The principal came running. "Move back, she's having a seizure," was yelled by someone nearby. She was only laughing, as was I. Although I did hide my face in the lockers as long as I could before we were told to move along to class.

There was a boy in high school that I always had a soft spot for. Off and on throughout the majority of our time there we'd swing back around to each other. Even though they were small bursts of time, he was and is still a very special part of my memories. And I still laugh with my girlfriends when talking about him and his uncanny ability to grab my butt every chance he got, no matter who was around. The biology teacher caught him once. His friends, my friends, it didn't matter. I wore a hideous cropped jean jacket the first time he did it with really tight olive-colored ankle pants. I smacked his arm away playfully.

Until I bought my first pair of Under Armour cleats, I was 100% Nike all the time. I had a thing for their velour tracksuits. And I wore a black one on double date which ended up with me having a better connection with the other guy sitting with the other girl. Then there was a Nike t-shirt I borrowed from one of my friends, along with his pair of jeans for Halloween that year. All the girls dressed as boys to go walking around Brooke's neighborhood. The poor boy who let me borrow his clothes still has no idea what happened while I wore those pants. We all decided to go through this makeshift haunted house someone had set up in their background. I got really scared and really giggly. And that combination ended up with me - and another friend who shall not be named - peeing their pants. Whoops.

I had a favorite pair of jeans from American Eagle too. They had a bit of a stretch, they were a size 10, and I wore them so much that they eventually developed holes near the belt loops from me tugging on them all the time. I really liked a boy that was in college but lived in the town just southwest from here. My friend and I decided to drive past his house a few times, he was on the phone with me and had no clue what an obsessive freak I had become. I was in those jeans and a green, off-the-shoulder top from Forever 21 and I just wanted him to see me. Instead, we ended up stuffing our faces with Krystal's on our way to another one of my guy pal's house that lived just down the road from my parents. Because the crush never got the hint to COME OUTSIDE.

And then there was the deep teal and turquoise dress I got from Posh downtown that I wore to Honor's Day senior year. It still hangs in my closet and stinks a little of my ex since I also wore it to his cousin's rehearsal dinner a few years later. The black coat I wore to my thesis presentation in college still hangs nicely as well. We ate at Five Guys right after to celebrate my standing ovation from my hard ass professor. I stood in class and talked about how fairy tales really screw up and distort little girls' minds. It was slightly depressing. Then there is the navy blouse covered in stars that I shimmied into when he took me to see Twilight. I threw away the yellow, V-neck shirt we played glow golf in. But I still have the hot pink, Legally-blonde inspired wraparound dress I wore to Mother's Day brunch with both of our families. I plan to create newer and better memories in that one.

All I need to do now is go rummage in the attic for my old softball sweats because they tell more stories than most.  

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