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The irreplaceables

March 21, 2012

Remember that scene in “Sex and the City” (I believe the episode was titled “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”) when Carrie attends a party she wasn’t crazy about going to anyway, and she’s forced to take off her favorite pair of Manolos when she arrives? She’s hesitant, but takes them off anyway to oblige her friend. At the conclusion of the party, she’s shoeless. The Manolos horrifically vanished. She ends up in a very uncomfortable argument with her friend who only wants to compensate half of what the shoes cost originally, because they’re “just shoes,” after all.

Note: This closet space doesn't exist in NYC.

I found myself recalling this scene at yoga today. Any legitimate yoga studio will require you to take off your shoes before you go in. I respect the rule, but I’m uncomfortable leaving my favorite, my one-and-onlys, my beloved Cole Haan flats outside. If possible, I’d like to leave my shoes right next to my mat where I can see them. They could so easily be mistaken for another girl’s flats! How can I achieve namaste when I’m thinking about the security of my shoes just outside the door?

It sounds materialistic, and yes, it literally is. But there are some items I am protective over regardless of how much the item cost. Sometimes I remember a tank top I bought and realize I have no idea where or how I lost it. “Oh well.” Total detachment. In other moments, I’ll look through old photos, and I jump off the couch like Tom Cruise professing his love for Katie Holmes to Oprah. “WHERE DID THAT DRESS GO?!” My entire day’s plans have just changed to find the location of that dress.

A memorable speech in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” (reviewed, a while back) describes the traumatic experience of losing your favorite shirt as if you’re going through the painful stages of a grief. I have lost this shirt before. It was a plain black shirt purchased from TJMaxx for like $7.99, fitted absolutely perfectly to my upper body. It was made by some no-name brand that you only see at TJMaxx or Ross, like “Glitter Rock Soul” or “Younique.” It went with everything.

First I denied that the shirt was indeed lost. I check my closet 18 times. I check under my bed, my suitcases. I text my sister and best friends, and later resort to sending a pathetic mass e-mail to 22 people in my address book asking if any of them have seen my shirt. I use the red exclamation point; this is urgent. It’ll come back soon enough. It’s not gone.

True to timing, I’m then angry at myself for losing the shirt. I mentally bargain all the other stupid shirts I’d give up just to have this shirt again. I drag myself back to TJMaxx, trying to find a new shirt to replace it with no luck. The sleeves are too long. The midsection is too tight. Finally, I’m ready to accept that the time I had with the shirt is over.

I’ve seen friends have breakdowns in public when they can’t find a necklace they swore they just had on or when they realize only one earring is left hanging. Sometimes what we wear is more like armor than accessories.

Living in an unbelievably tiny bedroom, I’ve applied a “less is more” philosophy to my life when it comes to my belongings. It feels great to let go of the things you don’t need. But there are certain items that are irreplaceable. It’s not about the cost, but the attachment.

Have you ever lost something that sent you on a desperate searching spree to find it? Do you have irreplaceables now that you know you’d lose it if something happened to them?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 10:20 pm

    I’ve seen friends have breakdowns in public when they can’t find a necklace they swore they just had on or when they realize only one earring is left hanging. Sometimes what we wear is more like armor than accessories.

    No shame – I once had a breakdown at a bar in FiDi with Jenny because I had twirled my beloved Claddagh ring (given to me by my nana) right off my finger.

  2. Melanie permalink*
    March 22, 2012 10:42 am

    A couple years ago, I had a purple cotton dress. Nothing overly special, but I loved the way it fitted, and I loved the color. Somehow it vanished without a trace.

    My best guess is it got shoved under a bed or something when I stayed at a hotel, but I sure would like to have it back.

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