My husband and I love to go thrifting when we travel. We do it at home, too, but there’s a special thrill in doing it in new places; unfamiliar country. Some of the coolest things we own, and some of the coolest things we’ve *seen* together, were in thrift stores, antique malls, secondhand shops up and down the coast.
This past year I find myself spending more and more time moving down the clothing aisles in these places, wistfully fingering things that couldn’t possibly fit me now. If I ever had a style it would be this: Bohemian. Borrowed. Eclectic collage. Thriftstore chic. Once upon a time I bangled, layered, wafted my way through the world in vintage glamour. Oh, I how I miss that.
Oh how I miss me.
What I want, more than anything, is to be a part of the world again in this way: I want to dress in found drama. I want to reflect back the joy of life, the fun, the romantic and the frivolous, the freedom in an outfit meant to be performed.
I want to perform again.
I want to be part of the tribe again. The poets and writers. The artists and songsters. I want to go under the lights in something that sparkles. I want to do that again, and often, for many many many more days. When I’m gone, I want my children to say that is how I spent my life.
Not like this. Not in this trauma body, here in this soft chair, in the same few house gowns, clothing picked for how it accommodates pain rather than how it will frame me on a stage.
Once, my mother lit up any room she entered. Once, she carried the glamour. Once she performed, in her own way.
But my mother got so sick that she never left her chair again. She lost touch with who she was, and her light went out. All I have of her now are far away memories, a grief that wants to swallow me, and her things–my favorite parts of her wardrobe stuffed into a closet now bursting with drama I can’t wear, for a life I too misplaced because of disease.
I can’t control what’s going to happen. If I can’t get better, maybe the best I can do is be grateful for what was, and honor it by letting it go with grace. Like my mother did. I fervently hope it won’t come to that anytime soon. But if it does.
Remember me as I was, not what I’ve become. Dress me in layers and treasures, the more eclectic the better. Dress me in poems.
Dress me in light.