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November 12, 2015 / ilegirl


I like to think of myself as a unique individual, but I share something with millions of other women (and quite a few men, too):  I own too many clothes.  I have seen walk-in closets packed to the gills, and wardrobe overflowing into guest rooms, kids’ rooms, and have an acquaintance who went so far as to have an addition built for her substantial collection of designer garments and shoes.  I am no where near that level, and yet I acknowledge all the same that I have purchased far too many things, and several of these are clothes.

I wish for, and espouse, a life of greater simplicity.  My professional life is complicated and often messy, and the details of everyday living – ranging from commuting in traffic to running errands – can be stressful.  I long for a counterbalance at home.  I fantasize about opening a cupboard to see a collection of well-used, clean, and neatly organized items; this includes both my kitchen and my closet.

The reality is that I open my closet and I cannot find the beloved 3-ply green cashmere sweater I wear like a sweatshirt because there is a cascade of seldom worn pullovers, tee shirts and blouses obstructing my view.  Worse, much of my wardrobe seems to wear out quickly. 

Why do we acquire stuff to fill our closets?  What is it that drives everyday people like myself to behave as if we are constantly on the red carpet, to be shamed if we repeat an outfit?

I suspect that for some people (including myself) the act of buying clothes is an attempt to fill an emptiness.  I fear that void, because it can be rather dark.  I don’t just fill it by buying clothes; I also fill my calendar with meetings and events, and make to-do lists that would break a master organizer’s spirit.  A lot of the noise in my life is created to construct an excuse for not attending to this emptiness.

Ironically, I’ve confronted this void in the past and while it is indeed daunting, it’s also an opportunity.  The emptiness itself isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, some traditions embrace the emptiness as a pause, a selah, between phases, seasons, stages of life.  It’s the silence inside the poem, the moment between stanzas.  It creates space for something new.

More, later.


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