Monday, October 10, 2011

Summer Shoes

(Otherwise titled, for those who have seen The Incredibles, "Honey, where did you put my super-suit?!")

Packing up my summer clothes today depressed me.  Not just in an "Aw, booger!" kind of way.  More like a sit-in-my-closet-and-cry kind of way.

Why?  Beats the hell out of me!  Honest to Pete, I don't know where it comes from sometimes.  Don't think I am Depressed (capital "D", capital "Blech")  like I was last winter.  On the other hand, changing one's life is not like changing one's clothes.  I don't get to pop into a phone booth and emerge transformed.  Well, shit.  When was the last time I even saw a phone booth?  Changing my life takes TIME!?!?!  No shit, Sherlock.  There's broken stuff that I have to fix.  EVERYwhere.

Let me try to puzzle this out.

Let's try this:  I've wrecked everything. 

OOOOOOOOOK, that hit a nerve:  my eyes are welling as I write the words. 

The clothes I sorted through and packed up today were hung in that closet by a different person.  The previous owner of my summer shoes had more money, more friends and a lot more bravado. I thought that I would heal my heart right up. I thought I was going to be alone.  Dating.  My clothes reflect that:  little dresses; high heels; sparkly earrings.   When I tried to explain to Chuck over the phone, I was unclear, and he thought I was missing getting dolled up and going out.  But as I think it through, I am sad because I thought that, by the time the summer was over, I would have built a new life for myself and my kids.  Time to get out the sweaters and boots; and am I all the things I wanted to be? 

Here are my black, buckled boots.  My kids are sad and tell me plainly that they think I have done a terrible thing to their father.  Out come the thick tights.  In time for me to realize which friends are still with me, which ones have deserted me, which ones are still thinking it over.  My winter coat: brown suede.  Ten years old, now, and starting to look threadbare.  I am not going to starve - I have managed to figure out that much this summer. But I can be pretty sure that my next coat will not be leather.  Simon rages.  My divorce is not final.  I still haven't found the right tea pot.  Student enrollment is down.  And where the fuck did I pack those mittens?

Maybe all this warm winter stuff makes better armour anyway.  Because the destruction has to end.  And the aftershocks as well, so I can start to rebuild.  I can see it - the person I would like to be. 

I will help my kids heal and understand my decision.
I will rebuild my social life.  I can make new friends.  I will figure out how to fill the space around me with laughter and animated conversation, no matter the size of that space.
I will go out and listen to music.  I will make things with my hands.  I will take time to read books and follow the issues.
I will find ways to be useful.
I will write here and actually post what I write. I will pick up my camera and start taking pictures again.
I will be extra strong and wise at work, so we can pull through in this tough economy and stay intact. 
I will find ways to travel and have adventures.
I will remember that the answer is, "Yes!"

I had no idea that the woman who brought her summer clothes  to this apartment had so little confidence in her worth.  And love actually requires more confidence than I ever expected.  There are times when I look at Chuck and meet his eye with perfect understanding.  We are supposed to be together - it's just so obvious.  Other times, I'm scared of disappointing him.  Of fucking up.  Of not being perfect.  I sense the stupidity of this.  Chuck is not a perfect person.  I see the flaws and love them as part of the package that this guy comprises.  If I can love someone like that, then why not accept that he can love me the same way?  Love is not for chicken-shits.  Chuck is way braver than I am.

Who will I be when I take out my green tank top NEXT time?  Will I pull on my stripy cotton pajama bottoms in the bedroom of a proper home that I feel proud to share with my kids?  With a cat?  Will I step into my red slides and set the table for a little party?  Will I stroll along in a t-shirt and reach for Chuck's hand and just take for granted that he doesn't mind?

The answer is yes.  Watch me.  See Kate.  See Kate happy.

Chuck asked me if I would like to store my summer clothes at Aloha Road.  If only he knew the weight of all the metaphor packed in these two small trash bags.  He would reinforce the flooring.


  1. Kate! I had a similar experience this week. Similar only in my reaction, but still... I think I can safely say that whoever takes out those summer things will be a person who has progressed. Right now that's all I'm hoping for myself. Maybe it can be enough? We shall see in the spring.

  2. What a powerful metaphor! I'll be thinking about this for quite some time.

    (I'm not ready to put my summer shoes away yet ...)

  3. Interesting post.
    I see the positive Kate breaking through, and I'm sure your green tank top will see it too.

  4. I think about these kinds of things every single time that I put my suede coat in to be dry cleaned on the last warm day of Spring.

    I wonder what will have happened when I pick it up in the Autumn.

    I also do this with our Christmas ornaments. How much will Liv have changed? Us? Our families?

    There are always changes, people who were once with us who aren't here anymore. New friends. New family members. Some good changes. Some not so good.

    Life is change. And I tend to drag my toes.