My Depression Closet
A year ago, my closet looked very different. I was very different. Vermont was still in the throes of winter. We were about to take a trip to the city to secretly look at apartments while visiting friends and seeing a show. I was unemployed and depressed. I was dark, bloated, ugly, and someone I didn't know. I know I probably wasn't ugly but that's how I saw myself: ugly and sad and alone.Vermont is not a mecca of shopping. Shocking, I know. There are three types of stores in Vermont:
- Typical chain stores: Old Navy, Gap, Kohls, JC Penney, Banana Republic, American Eagle, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls. At the time I lived there, one mall was being torn down (bye Macy's) and another was empty otherwise aside from Hot Topic and the others aforementioned. Target and H&M were planned for the future but were not open at the time. It was a sad mall.
- The small boutiques: I adored these stores along Church Street. I would have frequented them exclusively if I was paid a New York salary. Unfortunately, I was not and then I was paid no salary. They are not extravagant; they are beautiful small business prices. And I could not afford them.
- The trend stores: Few and far between. Urban Outfitters and Free People (which opened while we lived there). These stores are for women about five-ten years younger than myself but they were the stores with their eyes on what was in vogue in bigger cities.
I frequented the typical chain stores the most. Because I was buried under a lot of self hate, I did not choose clothes that I felt good in. I forced myself to pretend to love the items I bought. With these stores, it is difficult because they can be extremely generic and I'd see every woman in town wearing the same thing. Nothing felt special. Nothing felt like me. With TJ Maxx and Marshall's, there was never anything unique like there is in larger cities. Thrift stores were great options at times but I lacked the energy to search through racks.I understand better now how finding something that fits you and that brings you joy can change your entire attitude and demeanor. I mean, just watch an episode of Queer Eye. I was putting myself into tinier and tinier boxes shopping at the stores everyone else did because, well, there weren't a ton of options and at that point, I did not want to risk ordering online because my sizing was so all over the place. I got rid of a few things when we moved back and then, a few weeks ago, we embarked on the Marie Kondo method once again. I looked at my closet the other day and realized:
I donated all the clothes I bought in Vermont
Okay, maybe not ALL of them. I have two pairs of jeans that my mother bought for me that I cried in the dressing room when Macy's still existed because I had caved and gotten the proper size and they FIT ME and I looked GOOD. I have a sweatshirt I love from Old Navy. A few other items. But hand to the stars, most of it is gone. Isn't that strange? I suppose it is not at all. All these clothes were purchased at a time of massive transition and failure and regret. I felt like I had plummeted to the bottom of the ocean and was just going to build a nice sea hut and live out my days. Nothing made me happy. I had lost so much and gained so little and the losses kept coming. That's what depression and anxiety do to you. They keep hitting you and hitting you and telling you lies until you believe them and can not hear anything else. I saw nothing but dark clouds above me even when I had things that should have made me happy.I love looking at my closet now. I mean, that's the point of Konmari; everything brings you joy. But for me, it was something deeper. It was the pajama pants I wore everyday because why bother to get dressed when I had no where to be. It was the jeans that never quite fit me but I couldn't muster the courage to go try on another pair. It was the cheap shoes that fell apart when it rained. It was the weight I was carrying.I feel so much lighter.By getting rid of items that I did not realize were heavy reminders, I have opened a door within myself. There is room again. I am open to welcoming in new clothes, new ideas, new self love. I am light, I am creative, I am focus, I am free. My depression closet is gone. Now it is filled with color and unique pieces that make me feel good in my body. My poor body that I fed so much hate I made it sick. I am healing. All of this had sparked my creative energy again. It seems like such a little thing, cleaning out your closet. But sometimes, it is far more than just spring cleaning or Konmari. This was me burning my old tired phoenix feathers to ash to rise again, bright and shiny and wearing new jeans.