So here I am, hanging out on my porch, well in the carport, hanging up my laundry. See, I’d normally be on the porch, but it’s a touch windy today and the last thing I need is to have the laundry topple over (again!) onto the landlord’s daughters new flower bed. Not good. So instead, I’m going to take advantage of the carport’s wind-tunnel nature and put the laundry to hang in there, relying upon the not-quite gale force winds to dry my clothing. Sure, they don’t get sunshine this way, but I also don’t spend most of my afternoon going out to pick them up off the deck and pick dried leaves and dirt from what were clean clothes. And yeah, I could tuck them in the little space where E’s motorbike is parked, we get some sunlight there in the afternoons. But the last time I did that and a big gust of wind came through, I was chasing the laundry down the driveway as the towels acted as sails for the Good Ship Clothing Drive that was careening towards the road. Not a particularly fun way to spend twenty minutes.
So there I was, in the carport, hanging up the clothes when I came to this one shirt of mine in particular. Now this shirt I’ve had for several years and it has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs. It’s a gray shirt with an orange collar and orange sleeves and I got it from Old Navy, who knows how long ago. It’s a comfortable shirt, well worn and well loved. I use it mainly for around the house now and lazy weekends with nothing to do but relax with my man. But today, something about this shirt made me stop as I was hanging it up.
I’m not sure if it was the voluminous amounts of fabric that were just not agreeing with me or the hangers. Or if it was the somewhat stubborn seeming insistence that it would quite simply not stay on the hanger at all, thank you kindly. But once I finally hung it up, I paused in my usual chore doing and looked at it. Really stopped and looked at it.
“This shirt is huge!” I thought to myself, and half said aloud. I turned it this way and that and then this way again, looking it over. Now true, it was wet and it had just gone through a bit of a battle with me and the washer and a pair of pants that decided it was a great time to turn into an octopus, so it was slightly stretched out. But no. Even accounting for that, the shirt was huge. Enormous. And that thought, of course, got me thinking other thoughts.
The shirt was a 3XL. I bought it because it was comfortable to fit in. It was nice and light, gave me room to breathe, but also room to hide. I never quite filled it all the way out, and I’m very glad for that, but I fit into it comfortably. It was a nice second skin for me. The shirt allowed me to get service in almost every establishment I went into without really letting on just how fat I was. We were secret companions in an ongoing battle with reality. And dammit, we were winning, my shirt and I.
But now, here and now, on this day, I am hanging up this shirt and it is huge. Giant. I could swallow a small child and not even notice it had eaten. I remembered thinking the other night when I was wearing it, that it was almost like a nightgown, only a little shorter. I looked down at the shirt that I was wearing today. A black t-shirt. Nothing special, nothing amazing. Just one that came from those three packs of t-shirts from the Men’s department at WalMart. it’s comfortable, not too snug, but also not too loose. I could do my workout in this shirt if I needed to. I can also do my dishes and still feel comfortable. Just to make sure, I turned the shirt sideways slightly and I peeked a look at the tag.
Talk about your mind being blown. It’s hard, sometimes, when you’re so close to everything happening, to really see the progress being made. But I was standing there, obsessively staring at this old shirt of mine, not quite realizing that I was looking at the progress I had made. I used to fit into that. Now, I fit into this.
I used to hide behind that fabric, now I’m starting to own this fabric. I used to wrap myself in security in that shirt, now I’m becoming more outgoing in this one. I did that. I beat that. I beat that old shirt. And I’m starting to beat this new shirt as well.
I have a size large t-shirt hanging up in my bedroom. It’s my Nanowrimo shirt that I bought last year. It was way too small for me then, it’s still slightly too small for me now. Next year, next year, It will be too big for me. I have come so far, but I have still further to go. But for the moment, I’m going to finish my laundry, and then have a cuppa tea.
Thank you, Grey and Orange shirt. Thank you.