Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hand-me-down world

Yesterday was a freakishly long day for me. I worked a four-hour shift, in the middle of which I got a call from some people on Craigslist who were selling a wheelchair ramp for a great price. They didn't call us back over the weekend, so we assumed it had been sold. When I heard from them, I was overjoyed and ready to drive the two or so hours to fetch it. It is a suitcase ramp that folds in half, is the perfect length for our porch, and cost less than half of what ramps anywhere else we've seen have retailed for, so we were happy as pigs in mud to get it.

My beautiful home state of Washington is strangely constructed in places, full of peninsulas and such that you have to ride a ferry to get to or from--and so it was in this case. The ramp was in a place only about an hour from where I used to live on a peninsula, and I have friends about an hour from THAT area that have been talking about passing smaller clothes along to me there. I decided to meet up with them and make this happen since I was already relatively close by. It was good to see everyone--it had been a couple of years--and one friend took me out to dinner and we had a nice visit. I had the loaded baked potato soup at Shari's. OMG, I LOVE that stuff and was so happy I could still eat it (albeit maybe 1/3 of it). YUM. I then had to drive about an hour or more to catch a ferry home, which sailed about 14 hours after I'd left my house for work that morning. It took another hour to get home. (Needless to say, naps feature heavily in today's plans.)

When it comes to clothing, I enjoy thrifting/Ebay/consignment a lot. (I grew to hate hand-me-downs as a child, probably because that felt like mostly all I had until I began earning my own money. I reveled in the things I bought myself because they were my taste and my taste alone.) For the most part, though, I hated my clothes--they were never even close to "right" (and neither was my body, which was probably the genuine root of my feelings). My wardrobe often came from one local donation bin or other--I was worried someone I knew from school would recognize their--or God forbid, their mom's--castoff clothes on me, because I lived in a sordid little burg where everyone strained to pretend they had more money than they did. It seems like a silly thing now, but that stuff can feel huge when you are nine, or eleven, or thirteen. Kids now can at least go to Target or several other chain stores with decent prices and get a reasonably priced knockoff of whatever is acceptable. That wasn't an option back then. Thrifting and being frugal is also much more in vogue than it was when I was growing up. (It's not junking--it's vintage! I made some fantastic finds back then because that was before so many others were doing it. I still have, and wear, some of the jewelry.) Back then, I remember having to wear things that were much too "old" for me--the phrase that pops into my mind is "shiny old-lady blouses"--because there were never plus sizes (much less fashionable, age-appropriate plus sizes) available anywhere near me. Long before I was out of my teens, I embraced the joys of mail order. I still love it, and of course, Internet shopping has been a godsend--and stumbling upon the occasional plus-size consignment shop is a lovely, lovely thing.

Getting clothes handed down to me from friends is something I actually haven't been able to do in probably fifteen years because I had gained so much weight. I passed my clothes on to others as I expanded--I was never one to keep smaller clothes around "just in case" I fit into them again.

Until today, I had forgotten many of the positive aspects of getting clothes from friends. I really enjoy the element of surprise in it. Friends don't always share the same exact clothing tastes, but then I find something I absolutely love and would have bought for myself if I had seen it. I love that. It's also sweet to wear something you have seen your friend wear, if you feel good wearing it as well. (When I have a stressful situation or a big event, I like to consciously wear a piece of jewelry or clothing or shoes a friend has given me, because it's like having them with me in spirit--I feel like it gives me extra strength.)

It will be easier for me to let go of my larger clothing because I have smaller things to replace those items now. Until yesterday's haul, I was still feeling a bit unwilling to part with a few things--even as I am swimming in them. (I'm sure this is left over from childhood, wanting to hang onto whatever I can because I'm afraid there won't be anything to replace it. I squeeze every drop of blood out of my therapy nickel, can you tell?)

And on a lighter note--YAAAYYYY!!!! New clothes!!!!! :)

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other words...life.
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