Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Seasonal change
The house in which I live is large, but one of its design flaws is the lack of a good-sized closet. As a result, each fall and spring, I pack away clothing fit for the season that is passing and bring out clothing suited for the upcoming time of the year. I usually buy an item or two at an end of season clearance sale before doing so and forget about it until the following year when I repeat the process. I use an oversized suitcase for storage and opening it up each year is a source of delight, as I pull out the new items I had forgotten about and unfold other “old friends” I am fond of wearing.
With temperatures on the rise and a vacation on the horizon, I recently spent an afternoon doing just that. First going through my closet and folding up sweaters, long sleeve blouses, jackets and pants. I try to use the barometer of “have I worn it in the last year” to decide whether to pack it away or donate it to a good cause. Sometimes I am successful, but more often, I just fold up the garment with a promise to myself to give it one more year and then if I haven’t worn it, out it goes! Of course, 2020 was an exception. Having spent more time than I should confess to in pajamas, sweatpants, sweatshirts and leggings, the “if you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it” adage did not seem fair to apply this time around. There had been far too few opportunities to wear many pieces out on the town. As a result, few items made it to the donate pile.
With stacks of clothing loaded on top of my bed, I then pulled out the suitcase and began the ritual of seeing what still “sparked joy” and what still fit. It is a well-known fact that clothing left too long in a closet, or in this situation, a suitcase, will shrink from lack of use! I began pulling on dresses and tops, capri pants and shorts with a distressing number no longer in my size. By the time I got through to the bottom of the suitcase where I keep the “if it doesn’t fit me this year, it definitely has to go” pile of clothing I love, I began to wonder if I was the victim of a cruel prank! Clearly these were not the same clothes I had packed away last fall! Oh, sure, they looked like my clothes, but most of them were just a smidge too tight or fell a smidge too short.
It was when I pulled on one of my favorite summer frocks that I noticed I had also not unpacked my summer arms! Now, where did they go? I am certain the arms that put away my short sleeves last fall were similar to those of Michelle Obama! The limbs reflected in my bedroom mirror were more akin to something built by Boeing. A hearty wave with the right wind, and these babies might take me air born! I reached around to give my bicep a squeeze and felt a small lump on the backside. My first thought, (tumor), gave way to the realization that what I was feeling, was the remnants of my triceps, a small mass still fighting to stay above my elbow! Gravity is my nemesis.
I thought about the countless hours spent in the gym just a few years ago, working diligently to gain muscle and tone and I remembered a trainer stating matter of factly, “You can’t bank fitness. There is no savings account. Use it or lose it.” I was certain he was mistaken. I use my arms every day to lift and haul. Surely my limbs would always be strong and toned. Nope! It all fell away, hidden from view under long sleeves for so many days in a row that I failed to notice until it was too late. Winter had taken a toll. Could I blame it on COVID?
And that was just my arms! I was almost afraid to take a good look at the lower half of my body. Clearly there was some work to do before I could even consider swimwear. I began digging deeper for cover ups and put them all together in a drawer.
Feeling dismayed, I moved onto my collection of pajamas. Another shock to my sensibilities. Would someone please explain why elastic stops being elastic when stored? I swear I put away perfectly good sets of nightclothes only to find myself unable to keep the bottoms from falling to my way too pale flabby knees! No longer stretchy, the waistbands on my pj’s could sadly accommodate the larger version of me I was afraid I might become. I said a fond farewell to some of my favorites and made a note to put nightgowns on my shopping list.
With all my summer clothing hung up, I packed away my favorite sweaters and other elements of my winter wardrobe, confident they would be there, the same size I left them until the time comes to pull them out again. One of these years I hope to be surprised to find they all grew too large while stored in the big suitcase in the back of my closet! That would be just right. A girl can dream.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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