Celebrating closet independence

I found a bit of freedom in an unexpected place: my closet.

This post isn’t about coming to terms with wearing a larger size. It’s deeper than that. It’s about letting go of identities that no longer fit us.

Clothing is a kind of costume, chosen based on current life role, regardless of comfort, fashion, or suitability to my figure. Sometimes, when those roles change, it’s hard to shift out of the costumes… Mom jeans, anyone?

For three years there have been clothes in my closet that scream ID=Pastor’s Wife. In my mind, that’s what those clothes represent, and today I let those clothes go (still need to go through the shoes, because I now have NO reason to wear heels, so why are they shoved under my bed?).

It’s uncomfortable and liberating at the same time. Why? Not because being a “pastor’s wife” was bad. (OK, there were huge parts of it that sucked, but it wasn’t all bad.) But because my identity should not now, or ever, be wrapped up in my clothing. On a deeper level, my identity shouldn’t revolve around being a human DOING or a human DRESSING.

I have a friend who spent time in a mental institution. She kept her “hospital clothes” and pulled them out when she felt herself falling again into the abyss of depression and mental illness. She dressed according to her self-perceived identity. When I realized what she was doing, I scrutinized my own closet. Did I have clothes I put on only when I was depressed or unhappy? I did! I also had “church clothes,” and “mommy clothes,” and “party clothes.” Why didn’t I just have clothes that were comfortable and functional, without being fussy?

Anyway, after my closet purge (isn’t it weird how you can fill huge trash bags with clothes and still have a full closet?) I’m hoping the garments hanging in my wardrobe will be better representatives of who I am now, not who I wish I was, not who I think I should be, not who I’m trying to be, just who I AM: daughter of God, sister of mankind, wife and lover, mother, grandmother, friend, writer, believer.

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