This weekend was filled with thrift store shopping, garage sale perusing, and a peek into a few antique stores.
I don't usually shop for clothes that often, but when I do shop, I forget how much I really do like clothes. Yet, everyday, when I ready for work, I choose the same few things, pieces that are showing their wear in their fadedness, and in some cases, in the thinness and frayed edges of a few pants. There are so many choices, yet I continue to select those that are in this used up state that express my tom-boy side.
It started on Friday. I went to a thrift store during lunch break, and really I had gone in to look at books; looking at books always recenters me and excites me. But when I entered the store, I saw a man standing at the small alcove of books that did not provide enough room for two. An intimate space for a single person and those books–a small slice of heaven. I decided to look at some of the clothing racks. In a short period of time, I found a cute skirt, a pair of jeans, a sports tank top, and a t-shirt style dress with stripes and 3/4 length sleeves. I went into the dressing room to hurriedly try everything on; and to my surprise, everything fit. I didn't have time to loop back to the books and spend time fingering through them like I wanted to, but I did take a quick look and nothing caught my attention.
I haven't worn a skirt the way your supposed to wear a skirt in a long time. I have summer dresses that sit on hangers, skirts folded away; the rare occasion I do decide to wear a skirt, it's usually over leggings or jeans. I used to wear them more often and they're so comfortable, light, and airy. I also haven't had a pair of flip flops for a couple of years. I've been living in my crocs. But my toes are ready to come out into the air and so are my legs.
I think that being on the brink of summer is really getting into my bones and I think that's what inspired this weekend to end up being all about shopping. I didn't plan it; all the stores we shopped, where I found my new summer clothes and more comfortable pants were in thrift stores. I kept finding cute things and I love colorful clothes.
At one point when M. was waiting for me while I was in the dressing room, I opened the curtain to show him one of the skirts I found, and a woman must have seen me, but I didn't see her. When I closed the curtain, I heard her speaking to M. and she said, "These would look cute on her. She's so tiny, I think they'd fit." I peeked out and he handed me the pants. They were a pair of cargo pants, size 0. But you know how that goes: Each maker's size is not what it appears. I never fit into size 0; this was an exception, and they were not snug. They were loose and comfortable. I loved them! She said a few more words to M. and I said, "Thank you," so she'd here me. Then when I was dressed, I peeked out at her and said to her, "They fit and I really like them. Thank you sooo much!"
Part of the reason that I haven't worn a skirt or shorts in a while is that I am a lazy leg shaver. I actually once had an argument with a good friend–may he rest in peace–about me and shaving legs. I wouldn't classify myself a feminist, but that's sort of how the argument unfolded. He thought it was highly unattractive for a woman to not shave her legs when she's wearing things that reveal all that hair...anyway, I had my two cents and my personal reasons for why it shouldn't matter and that I wasn't going to let him dictate to me, etc., etc.
When I do decide to shave my legs, it's mostly in the summer months and when I don't, I wear pants. I actually agree with my old friend about the unattractiveness of not shaving, but back then, it was about he principal of it all. I don't mind walking around the house with a full leg of hair and M. jokes with me about it and pretends to cut himself when he touches my legs. We both laugh. But he never tells me to shave it off; he doesn't tell me that it's unattractive; even though, I know it is, and I personally prefer shaving my legs. It's just a lazy thing with me. So, this weekend, I shaved all the hair off and a little bit above the knee and hope to maintain my legs for this hot weather. I even painted my toe nails! I haven't painted them in about 15 years, so it was a novelty. I had forgotten how nail polish can gunk up when you apply it. The color I chose is a translucent pink, so you can't tell the poor painting job I did. And now I have a new pair of flip flops to walk around in.
I've continued with some spring cleaning and organizing and decided it was time to part with an impulse buy from an antique dealer long ago. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm not a collector and it wasn't the type of toy that I played with. I suppose I was simply swept up in the moment. It was a metal Dick Tracy toy gun. It was really cool and it wasn't in perfect condition, but I had to have it. $50 dollars later, that gun came home with us and stayed in a plastic bag in a corner for about a year and a half. I was going to donate it to the thrift shop, but then I thought I'd try to see if this one antique store we go to would be interested in possibly buying it. I ran the idea by M. and he said, sure why not. I at least wanted it to be somewhere where someone who might really want it would find it and be able to buy it. And we really like the owner of this antique store. He is always really nice and friendly. Before we left the house, I said, if he isn't interested in buying it, we'll just give it to him. We also noticed we had these little pewter coasters that I had impulsively bought at a thrift store. It was such a small item. We brought it along to offer to him as well. It turned out that I found a pair of pants there. He was not interested in buying the items, but said that he would gladly take them. He said next time we came to the store, we would see the Dick Tracy displayed right there and he pointed to a spot on the wall behind the counter. Splendid!
I suppose if there was a theme to this weekend, it was about give and take and of random acts of this or that, it was about a lady who was paying attention and who clearly also loved clothes and had a sense of what I might like based on observation of a few moments; and of a young man whom M. recognized from the previous thrift store we were at and he asked him what he was looking for when he walked out and he was taken aback, but then when he realized that we were just at the same store, he understood, and M. directed him to another goodwill that might have what he was looking for; and it was laundry Friday and noticing that an elderly couple was having trouble understanding how the dryers worked and then I turned to them and asked it they needed help and they said yes, and I walked them through how they work because it can be confusing when you're not used to these stacked dryers and electric push pads right next to each other.
And I suppose this was also a weekend for me to reconnect with my feminine self because sometimes I'm at odds with her. It was about admitting to myself that I have a lot of clothes, more than I realized. It was about realizing how much I love clothes as a means of self-expression, and yet I hardly ever take that expression out into the world. I have clothes that I admire, nothing fancy, and mostly from second hand stores, but each piece is like a book to me and those are the two things I have the most of: books and clothes. They share shelves and closet space, sitting side by side, looking back at me as if to say, "Pick me, pick me. Don't just let me sit here and be pretty. Wear me. It's alright. I'm not going to last forever, but you may as well enjoy me while you've got me."
I've been doing my share of reading and re-reading as well. Finally, I'm finding my reading groove again and have found some enjoyable gems on two separate occasions to the library when I decided to go to whatever letter of the alphabet called to me and then just looked until I found something I hadn't seen before, something I didn't know anything about.
Today, I will embrace my feminine side. I will wear a skirt or maybe shorts. I will don my flip flops and take the airiness and lightness that is spring on the brink of becoming summer and I will savor the moments, each one as it comes into my periphery. The big, the small, the seemingly inconsequential; it is all sublime to the one experiencing it and that can never be taken away...and I feel that I've written these same last words before, but I can never tire of hearing it, of reminding, and being reminded.