With tears streaming down my face, a bundle under my arm and a box of matches in my pocket, I headed towards our backyard incinerator hoping mum would not see me. I did not want to be asked what I was doing.
Clothes are more than pieces of fabric hanging in our wardrobes. They all have stories. Stand before your open wardrobe and you could tell each item's story whether it be love, hate, embarrassment, shame or indifference.
Recently I read an article on How Clothes Can Boost Your Mood. This article talked about the things we women demand from out clothes. It also resonated with me as I have written about how hard it is to get rid of some clothes that bring up strong emotions in us.
Here is my guide to the good, the bad and the ugly of the secret lives of your clothes.
These are often favourites in our wardrobe because every time you put them on you feel good about yourself. They may be clothes or accessories and you wear them often. It might be the colour, the style, the fit, that it reflects your true personality or even all of these. Sometimes when these clothes start to fade or get a little worn, you still keep them. You are reluctant to throw out the memories of compliments and scared that you will never find anything like it again.
The good can even include a major revamp of clothes. I can remember when I left teaching and took the scissors to all my long skirts. I wanted the feeling of freedom for a new stage in my life. My way of doing this was to cut them shorter or throw them out. It felt good to change these clothes.
In a perfect world you would only have feel-good clothes in your wardrobe.
Life is not perfect. It is messy and fluid. Bad clothes hang beside your favourites.
These are the clothes you bought on a day when you just had to have something new. This will do and it does not. Months have passed and it is still unworn. You are certain that you will soon find the perfect thing that goes with it. You live in hope that bad will turn to good one day.
Then there are the items that you thought looked good on you. It was a fragile feeling and it only took a few words to pull you down. You look ridiculous! What is that! Where are you going in that? Why are you wearing your good clothes? These are some of the words I have experienced in my life. If your confidence is low that day, the clothes are relegated to either being hidden away or only worn when you feel it is really safe to wear them.
That bundle under my arm at the start of this article was a dress. I was in my twenties and I had just had a big argument with my boyfriend of that time. Harsh words were said. I was taking the drastic action of burning the dress I wore during our argument. Yes, you could burn things in the backyard then. I loved the dress but it was the sacrifice.
Our clothing and accessories are not inanimate objects. They are indicators of your current emotions and the stories of your life and growth.
If it is time to move the good, the bad or the ugly on, do not burn them. Express your grief at having to get rid of the item. Then balance it by remembering all the wonderful memories this piece of clothing has given you. Now with a lighter heart, you can move on to new clothes and wonderful new memories.