I was driving today and heard a cool snippet on NPR about a book where people talk about the stories behind their clothing or a favorite piece of clothing. The author being interviewed wrote about a shirt that “always made her feel like she had a secret” so she wore it while she was writing. It is an interesting concept overall; the stories behind normal clothing.
Obviously, special things like a wedding dress have a pretty obvious story but for mine, there is a splash mark from a Long Island Ice Tea that my sister was bringing me and got bumped out of her hand. I never actually got a drink at my wedding, one thing or another got in the way and that was the last try – the universe just didn’t want it that day and I only have happy memories about that splash mark and when other people may wonder why I don’t have it cleaned – I almost like that bit best now.
I’m probably more story based about my clothing and things because I only really want things that have a story. I feel fake picking a picture or statue to decorate with just because it is for decoration – I feel like I should have picked things up in Thailand, not Pier One. When I declutter the things without a story are the first to go and I sometimes wonder how they migrated into my life anyway. Sometimes I envy the picture perfect houses and wardrobes with the curated and matched everything but I somehow want that AND a story behind everything.
It seems the things with the best stories are the also the things that you hung onto the longest; a shirt from college, a sweatshirt from a boyfriend, a snuggly old robe. The segment on the show also implied that the story not be obvious to anyone else, or, the obvious story is wrong. For me, there is an ARMY shirt that I love. I actually got it when I did ROTC in college and that was a very short segment of my life. I did army because airforce was not an option at my school and probably because of that I didn’t go into the service at all. I had done tons of airforce things with the civil air patrol and thought I could maybe shift gears but while I learned plenty in that ROTC year I didn’t make the change. That shirt is way too big and I would guess that anyone who sees me in it thinks that it belonged to a guy in my life but it is actually a token from the path not taken for myself. It also is fabulously comfortable and I wore it pregnant, and post-pregnant, and to work out and to sleep. The shirt has seen me through freshman year of college until now and it is still in great shape. That shirts story is way different than most people would ever expect but it is also oddly important that it stay in my life.
With all the drive to only keep things that bring you joy and minimize your clutter this book fits right into the trend. It is fun to remember the special stories and also to have a secret or two in them.