New Year’s Eve.
It had been 15 years. It was time.
Even though it was going to be down and dirty work, I picked out a short, floral, flouncy skirt that I had just bought the day before at Dillard’s Outlet.
Yes, I know, age-inappropriate and out of season. But that’s not the point. Lorie has been held back for 50 years, and it’s time to spoil her whenever she wants.
While searching through the racks and racks of clothes in the women’s section at Dillard’s, I thought back to my first foray into the women’s section at a thrift store. The heart beating faster, the fluorescent lights seeming brighter, the metallic taste of fear as I frantically looked for the right size and something I “liked” before somebody… what? Threw me out?
Not anymore. This is MY department, too. And I’ll use the fitting room to try them on, too, thank-you-very-much.
As I stood there looking at comical Lorie, I knew “Today I’m going to clean the closet.”
No, not a purge. This is my “girl” closet that was actually the second bathroom, in actuality, not much bigger than a closet. When I had been married, we converted it by installing shiny steel closet rods in the bath/shower for my wife’s excess clothes. In addition, she had the bedroom closet, which is kinda small. Even my guy clothes fill that one to overflowing, now. When I was married, my clothes were relegated to the hall closet. (Did I mention that I still have some forgiveness work to do?)
On that day at the thrift store, the day I let Lorie own her dysphoria, I frantically gathered a few skirts and sweated my way through the cashier line. Arriving home (I live alone), I started using the bathroom closet that day, hanging a few items with disregard for wrinkles, on rusty wire hangers, 2, 3, even 4 skirts per hanger as the months accumulated in my new indulgence.
It didn’t take long for this “closet” to be filled. I started with the top clothes rod, and over the months eventually started filling the second one halfway down.
But since my divorce, I had never cleaned the room.
In fifteen years.
That’s how long I’ve been single.
I started with the cobwebs. Reaching with my 6′ 1″ wingspan, I rolled the duster to collect the wisps and drips from the ceiling and walls. Then I started cleaning the bathtub, which had a golden brown patina on the porcelain, and a musty smell ripe from the years.
I continued through the bathroom; the toilet (remember, 15 years!), the sink, the walls, the light fixtures, the floor.
I was amazed that each of these retained a luster of newness beneath the crud, and it gleamed with pride at being loved and cared for. Like Lorie.
As I stood there in my frilly, pleated skirt, standing in my clean, shiny “girl” closet, I knew I had stepped into a new era of self-kindness, ownership of my being, a room of non-judgment.
What a way to start a New Year.
Tomorrow: clip hangers for the rows of skirts.
Welcome home, Lorie.
New Year’s Eve.