Opinion: Fitting into a new challenge


As we enter a new year I have set before myself a challenge:

I’m going to reorganize my closet.

Don’t tell me I don’t know how to have a good time.

Actually, as challenges go, this one is what we could call semi-daunting. It’s going to require mental and emotional strength, which, now that I see it in black and white on a computer screen, looks absolutely weird. Mental and emotional strength just to go through some old clothes and make up a donation to charity?

Well, yes.

And therein lies a tale.

See, I used to be big. How big? I looked like someone who had not only eaten the contents of the refrigerator, but the refrigerator itself.

I could make excuses and say that I was big boned or come from a long line of sizable people or have a thyroid condition – all of which happens to be true – but the fact is I stopped working out, which I used to do assiduously, and replaced that activity with chowing down (see above under “Ate The Fridge.”) And I got so huge that it endangered my health.

Well, long story short, I’m not big anymore, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. And that leads to us back to the problem with the clothes closet.

What I have in there is a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t fit anymore. You know how they say every closet has clothes in three sizes — Too Big, Too Small and Just Right? Mine has What I Wear Now, What I Wore Before, and (from when I was REALLY huge) Fashions By Omar The Tentmaker. I try on my old clothes and I look like a partially-deflated parade balloon.

Now, you’d think it would be easy to just acknowledge that and move forward and get rid of what doesn’t fit, but it’s not that simple, because of a quirk that people who have lost a lot of weight know all too well: I’m smaller on the outside, but inside I still think of myself as huge. You know how they say inside every fat person there’s a skinny person trying to get out? Inside me there’s a fat person threatening (or so I imagine) to return. It’s a recurring nightmare that overnight, somehow, I’ll go back to my old size.

So I can’t get rid of my big clothes because I’m afraid I’m going to need them. Silly and defeatist, I know, but there it is.

And then there’s the fact that these big clothes are mostly suits, really nice suits from the days when I used to wear suits all the time, and even though I never wear them anymore, I’m still fond of them. They remind me of my snappy-dresser days, I guess. And I liked my snappy-dresser days.

So you can see that reorganizing my closet is no mere exercise in space management. It’s a test. I’ve been taking it for years.

And to be honest, I’m tired of flunking it.

So here I go. Right after I convince myself that the scales and mirrors are, in fact, telling the truth, and remind myself that my need for a rack of suits is roughly the same as a fish’s need for a bicycle.

Look out, closet. You’re about to get spacious.


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