So I have a ritual that I engage in periodically. I should rephrase that: I usually do this only when I’m feeling good in my skin after weight loss. I’ve written previously about my diet and exercise history and how I’m now attaining slow and steady weight loss while not actively dieting (but consistently working out). With weight loss comes the inevitable need for smaller sized clothing. Only I don’t need to go shopping in a store. I go “shopping in my closet” because I have full wardrobes in storage, with sizes ranging from 10 to 24. They are carefully labeled by size classes: M-L-XL-XXL-XXXL. There is no box labeled “S.” I don’t think I’ve ever been a size small. Perhaps when I was in fourth grade? Maybe not even then.
My ritual goes something like this: everyone is out of the house, and I’m feeling puckish with new weigh loss. I likely have noticed that some of my current clothes are a little loose. That’s the signal that it is time to try on garments in the next size box. My heart literally races with excitement to see what may now fit. This is such fun, but it also strikes me somewhat sad that I enjoy this so much.
Why do I take such delight in becoming smaller?
I pull out the box and revisit my old friends neatly folded within. Pants, blouses, sweaters, jackets are all there. I unfold each item to assess whether I want to try it on. I don’t waste time on something that is clearly not ready to be brought back into circulation. It’s only a “score” if it fits and then it gets placed into the active closet. Items in the current closet that have become too loose get folded and placed back in their respective size box, hopefully to never be seen again.
My ritual can take an hour or so to perform. I hate being interrupted in the middle of it.
Does this sound familiar? Does anyone perform such a ritual? Or is it just me that does this because I own so many clothes in such a wide range of sizes? Clothes that reflect my history of years of disordered eating and failed diets. My sense of worth gets tied up in the “box” that I currently fit in. Why should the opinion of my clothes matter so much to me?
Of course, there are the times that I need to revisit the boxes in the next larger sizes. There is less joy in this process, but I’m grateful that I have something to wear, even if I feel shame in returning to those larger sizes. At that point, I’m unable to deal with the mental fallout of purchasing anything new. It’s best for me to hang onto those boxes with the bigger sizes for those upward cycles.
My use of this ritual doesn’t mean that I never buy new. Things wear out or are so grossly out of style that it’s not sensible to keep them. I only return garments to boxes if I would ever wear them again. I guess this is where the “sparks joy” rule comes into play. If I no longer love a piece, it goes to Good Will. If it’s too worn out, it goes to trash.
Sadly, so many of my clothes are intended for work, and I won’t really need them in the next year, outside of a few dressier items. I may need a new suite of rules to determine what stays and goes in the boxes. I suspect that my size will stabilize once the stress and anxiety of my job are gone. Hopefully, there won’t be so many boxes in the closet in the future.
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash