It's a very salutary process for me, culling my belongings yet again. On the plus side, going through them carefully and acknowledging mistakes is helping me know myself better. On the minus side, I am seeing patterns of seriously stupid and wasteful choices I make.
I'm also noticing that the huge bundles of clothing I acquire and dispose of relates to bewilderment as my body changes. This has a lot to do with getting older. Fat accumulates in different places, posture changes, poor habits settle into manifestation as illness creating pain and tiredness. So as one thing changes I find myself reverting to styles and fabrics that worked fine once upon a time, only to discover they no longer do.
Jeans, for example. Since I was about 14 years old, getting into a pair of jeans after a slimming diet has been a recurring cause for rejoicing. I have five children and am now well past menopause, and my favourite foods in the whole world are carbohydrate based — with the result that I am no stranger to hormonal roller-coasters and weight battles.
I remember when my second husband Bernard was dying, in the last weeks of his life, it had been such a draining and exhausting time balancing his end-of-life care with pastoring a group of churches. I'd lost loads of weight. Bernard was a very thin man, and like many thin people he had a certain contempt for those who put on weight (which I had in preceding months as we'd eaten stuff designed to combat the alarming weight loss of his disease). So I said to him at one point, with pride and delight, how much weight I'd lost. With typical ferocity he scowled at me, saying, "Well don't go and put it all back on again, then!" But of course I did.
In the last couple of years as I've struggled with all the ailments that are the hidden gift of carbohydrate and the insulin problems it brings, I've stuck to diets that made me feel well, then obtained a false optimism that fooled me into thinking I was fine and could eat anything now, and so on and on in an up-and-down struggle to be well.
And at some point in all this I got to a place where I'd stuck carefully for a long time to food that inflames nothing, as a by-product of which I'd got quite a bit thinner, and was suddenly delighted to realise I could now fit into sensible-sized jeans again. This is where I went wrong. In a fit of rejoicing I bought not one pair but several. Everything was fine for a little while until I realised that at the age I am now and with the health issues I've had, my lower legs can no longer cope with the restriction of close fitting denim reinforced with elastane. It set off things I'd quieted. I saw I'd made another colossal mistake. I don't know about you, but I find facing such mistakes very difficult. Especially it is difficult in a marriage and a household, because I find I don't what anyone to see or know how much I wasted — again.
So here I am one more time getting rid of an embarrassing and shameful accumulation of jeans. Oh, dear. I hope I remember this time, and don't do it again. I suppose I'm getting old enough now that in the nature of things there surely cannot be too many more goes round this particular carousel. I hope that's so.
Being the case, let's move on two pairs of perfectly good jeans today. Here they are.