When I was 14 I had a pair of black leggings that I would wear with a big yellow shirt and a black studded belt. Looking back in my mind (as, thankfully, no pictures exist) I imagine I resembled a bumble bee. That comparison never came. However, one day, my mother (rightfully horrified), pulled me aside to inform me that the "look" wasn't doing good things for my "body". She was right and I was crushed. In a flurry of tears, screams, and slamming bedroom doors, off came the offending garments and into the trash they went.
At 23, I awoke one morning and decided the best clothes to wear on that particular sunny Los Angeles day included cream pants, brown hiking boots, and a teal sweater. I should not have left the house. But I did leave the house. I went FAR from the house. So far, in fact, that when I finally saw my refection in a store window there was nothing I could do to remedy the situation. I spent the entire day cursing my choice and vowing never to wear any of it ever again.
At 36, I had known Tracy (our lovely blog hostess) only a matter of weeks when she glanced at what I was wearing - corduroys with brown laces up the side, knee-high boots with fake fur trim, and a beige suede jacket with fake fur on the wrists and collar - and proclaimed, in her classic matter-of-fact style, that I looked like the rocker, Lenny Kravitz. Not the look I was going for. That ensemble was donated, in its entirety, to Goodwill the following morning.
I have always had the ability to get rid of clothes. If something didn't work due to size, style, or time period I could easily and joyfully say goodbye and move on. It didn't matter what I had paid or how often it had been worn - if it wasn't useful or I didn't like it, or it just wasn't "me", it had to go.
So, why, WHY am I not able to let go of my furniture? I can help you let go of your furniture. I have the precision of a surgeon when it comes to cutting out objectionable pieces in someone else's home. I led a 10 year revolt against my parents 9-foot long brown, burnt orange and cream velour sofa and love seat. It meant removing the offending beast when my dad wasn't home, but as God as my witness I was gonna' get rid of it. But here it is 2011, a new year, and in my own home I sit surrounded by ghosts of designs past.
It isn't that I paid a lot of money. The coffee table was my grandmothers (I decided to faux paint it to look like a clock..nuff said). The sofa was a floor sample from Crate and Barrel and has given me 10 great years. The 1960's faux bamboo dresser and bedside table were found on the street in Toms River New Jersey and promptly painted black. The dining table and chairs were a gift from my mother. And then there are my beloved barrel side chairs. A set of 4 in perfect condition- their only crime being they are upholstered in beige and white stripes. I think I paid $200 for the set.
Even though these items were not a huge investment, they have seen better days, and they no longer fit my personal style, I cannot seem to cut these ties. The "shabby chic" of my 30-something self wants to be replaced by cleaner lines, fewer pieces, more luxurious fabrics, and quality.
That beat-up side table is, now, just that - a beat up side table. It doesn't have a story anymore. It fit in my past life but not now. For me the clock coffee table is as"un-me" as the jellies I wore in junior high. I would no sooner keep a french country style dining chair than"rock" my purple Jordache string purse circa 1983.
So what to do?
I have not figured that out exactly but I feel a stirring inside and am reminded of a familiar quote: "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu
Maybe that time has come. Stay tuned.