Keeping New Wine in Old Bottles

Old clothes in bags to donate

“Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted or enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.”― Henry David Thoreau

Your pants are falling down. Belts look ridiculous; you need new pants. You look up in your closet to the shelves of shoved in old clothes, clothes you never bothered to sort because you didn’t want to deal with it, too lazy, too tired, not willing to accept that you might be this size forever. Lucky for you. Pulling down something that looks like pants, a whole pile cascades down to the floor. You bite your lip anxiously while trying stuff on, but it fits. Your old jeans that drag at the heel, your old shirt in that rusted orange that isn’t your color, but you like anyway. You had gotten rid of the very small stuff years ago, when you simply figured getting older meant going up a couple sizes. But when you kept going up, you just shoved them away.

You show your son, who gives you a hug and tells you you look great. You go back and pick out a brown corduroy jacket with a plaid lining that you only wore once. You burst into tears. Nothing fit that day years ago, nothing was fitting, and you wanted to look nice in church so you went to the consignment store and found that beautiful jacket that fit perfectly and you wore it to church the next day and someone came up to you and asked when the baby was due. You came home and shoved it high in the closet.

You scan the pile of clothes: in-between sizes clothes, clothes that never fit exactly right, and a few very small geeky t-shirt you just couldn’t throw away. And you cry more remembering a dress you bought to try and look pretty, when you were never feeling pretty. You had worn it on a beautiful day, walking to meet your husband for your anniversary lunch, and a stranger commented on your weight. You didn’t want it to matter, but it did, how could it not? Your weight was a reminder that something was wrong with you, something was very, very wrong and doctors were not paying attention when you said, “I look in the mirror and I’m not me.” And you cried while walking to that lunch, but tried to pull it together before you saw your husband, but couldn’t because you were so sad and so worried and so, so tired. He gave you hugs and told you you were beautiful and he loved your new dress, and it was a delicious lunch outside in the sunshine. 

You take out the clothes from your drawers that are too big now and plop them on the pile. Your daughter comes in and you tell her you don’t want any of this, you can fit in the old ones but you don’t want them, you don’t want ANYTHING here. She quotes you Thoreau and then says, “Get rid of them. You don’t owe them anything. They’re just clothes.” And then she reminds you that you need to drive her to the bus stop so she can go back to school and take her art history test. 

So you pull yourself together, which is much easier to do nowadays, promise yourself that you will compliment a stranger on their outfit today, and go.

Two days later. Donated.

Rise unfettered.

Move with intention.

Be grand.

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