Although I love shopping at Goodwill, this post is not about the store per se, but the act. I love everything about donating clothes and items that no longer serve you with the hope that it will be cherished by another. I love knowing that someone will delight in my misguided purchase or thing of beauty that I outgrew one way or another. I have been incredibly fortunate to have a goldmine of hand-me-downs for my kids. I have heard this can be offensive to some people which, though I am not judging, I am thoroughly confused by. My kids have always delighted in getting a windfall of new-to-them clothes, shoes, costumes and books that friends have thoughtfully put aside for them. In turn, they do the same for other families.
Today I received a surplus of my own. Seven dresses, one jumpsuit (my husband is rolling his eyes if he is reading this, but I love a jumpsuit), one skirt, four pairs of jeans, one pair of slacks, ten blouses, three sweaters, two cover ups and two crop tops (that I will have to pass on). I felt like a million bucks trying them all on (and not just because I saved about that much by having them given to me). It felt good even though one girl’s ‘fat pants’ are another (this) girl’s skinny jeans, it felt like love. Because that is how it was sent. I am not where I want to be, but I am getting there – and wearing beautiful clothes provides more than a soft landing for a plateau. In my experience, it creates a spring board.
It has often been said that when you look good, you feel good. I am a believer in that theory. I also know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do that – but then again I just inherited a free wardrobe today so I am not in a position to make wild, unsubstantiated claims.
At one of my highest weights and not so surprisingly, lowest moments of self-esteem, I was faced with the challenge of getting dressed for some event. I was tearful and defiant, trying to keep a pair of shorts from rolling down away from my belly and up away from my thighs at the same time, which left me panicked at the thought of repeating this maneuver multiple times the following day. Calm as ever, my husband came over to me and put his hands on my shoulders. “I don’t care what it costs, or how long it takes, or where you have to go, but you need to go buy clothes that fit you”, he started. I tried to cut him off with my standard replies (I don’t have time / I don’t want to spend the money on a size that I am not comfortable with / everything sucks) but he was unmoved. “Do not look at the sizes, do not look at the price tags, go right now and buy something you feel good in. Tonight. Right now. Go”. That too was goodwill – his good will – setting me straight. That night I went to Old Navy and did just that. I bought two dresses and two pairs of shorts and four shirts, but I felt like I WAS A DIFFERENT PERSON. Those few articles of clothes made me feel good, which led me to eating better and exercising more. Then just over a month later, they were too big on me.
I felt the same way tonight, stepping into delicate dresses and later, a crinoline structured skirt. I lifted flowy tanks over my head and paired them with dark washed jeans. I pulled zippers up the backs of structured shifts and buttoned the starched white dress shirt I had never found the time to buy myself. Yes the clothes were transformative, but the thought behind them was what made me feel beautiful. Someone who loved me thought of me and said “I want you to have this” and wearing that feeling is bound to make a girl look stunning.