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Just Enough

Today I took all of my clothes out of my closet and dumped them in a  pile on the floor of my bedroom. They are still there, layers of dresses, shirts, winter coats, piled four feet high against the bedroom wall, like snow in the Canadian Prairie against an orange snow fence. Layers of my life to peel away, try on, and see it they will be allowed back into my closet, into my life.

School starts next week, and I have schedules to finish writing, lesson plans to complete. I will work on those tomorrow. Today was the day to purge, to edit my clothes. My closet was like a rough draft. Full of verbs, and nouns and action words. Clothes to walk, move fast, sweat, look pretty, keep me warm. The closet was full of useless words; polyester, small, extra-large, lime green. Some of the clothes are like the word ” that” in a sentence, unnecessary,  redundant,  Edit the polyester dress that smothers my skin when I wear it, like plastic wrap on leftovers.  Only hang up what I like. What I need.

I will keep the hat my father sewed out of a beaver pelt that he had trapped. I will keep the crystal necklace that was given to my mother by a boy when she was a girl.  I will keep a 100% cotton scarf I bought in Japan the last day I walked there in 1990.  I will keep my baby shoe that my dad sprayed with silver paint when I was three. I only have one shoe. The other shoe fell out the window of my room above the used furniture store  into the alley in 1982  in Calgary, Alberta. I can hear the crunch of gravel as a car drove through the alley as the shoe fell. The shoe was not there when I walked down the fire escape to retrieve it. Where is my  shoe?

I will keep the black bear skin that I shot and skinned in 1983 in Northern Alberta at the Oil refinery camp where I worked as a maid with my Aunt who was the cook.

My closet shall become a short sentence. Or maybe a short paragraph. Just enough clothes to wear, and enough memories to fill the shelves.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • How brave to take out ALL your clothes at one time. And how wise to keep the memories. Yes, get rid of all the “that’s” – they just take up space. Now I also wonder – where is your shoe?

  • I love the closet sentence – however I will say the part that really caught my attention – You shot a bear?!? How cool is that? You are awesome – you are a mom, a wife, a homeschooler, a friend and a woman who can take down a bear!

    • pamelahodges

      Michelle, you encourage me. If you see a bear in your backyard just call, and I will come and get him.

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  • Emmy

    What’s wrong with lime green? 🙁

    • pamelahodges

      Well, it was on sale, and my size, but I feel like a frog when I wear it. Do you want me to try again?

  • I looked at the pile of cloths on the floor waiting to be kept or tossed & I was again back at 1216 Ave. K. N. thinking……………..this can’t be my daughters room!!!! Then I knew……………Yes, it can & I love her.

  • Only hang up what I like. What I need…Just enough clothes to wear and enough memories to fill the shelves.

    These lines remind me of a book I read…I haven’t tried its challenge, but it is intriguing- 7-An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.

    • pamelahodges

      Diane, I just looked up the book on Amazon. It really does look intriguing. Some friends of mine did the challenge. I think I would like to try it.
      If you could only eat seven different food for one month, what would you choose?

  • elsie

    This was so much fun to read and ponder on the similarities of purging clothes and writing. Your style and thinking are so unique. I’m always anxious to sit down and read when I see there is a new post by Pamela.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you for your kind comment. I get so much pleasure out of writing. I smile thinking of you reading what I write. I always look for your little icon on Tuesdays, hoping I will get to read another one of your adventures.

  • I love the comparison to writing. I often find that I START the closet cleaning / clearing one day and need to finish it on subsequent days. Like revision, it often needs a second or a third glance to get it right. When I rush, I find myself “looking for” things I know I “cut” and then discarded that I wanted to be in my final product.

    • pamelahodges

      Oh yes Anita. The closet cleaning will take days to finish. I will have a bag of clothes to get rid of, but I will leave it for a few days to make sure one of the discards wasn’t really suppose to stay. Sort of like keeping a first draft in a separate file, in case there is something you deleted that you want to back in your writing.

  • A closet full of grammar lessons, a life in a box. I love it.

  • I love the title – Just Enough and the way you circle back to it in your conclusion. I’m glad that you’re keeping “just enough clothes to wear and enough memories to fill the shelves.”

  • “My closet was like a first draft.” What a wonderful comparison. You delivered your signature touches a picture and details tied to time and place. These special qualities make your writing sparkle like a diamond revealing many facets. I wonder about your baby shoe,too.

  • I love the way you described editing your clothes. I need to continue to do that. I gave away all of my 2’s and 4’s after I had my daughter. There’s just no hope of those getting back on my body again. Many of the small 6’s (Did you know there are small sixes and bigger ones?) need to be edited out of my closet, but that one is a little tougher to swallow. Editing my closet is like getting a child who is confident in their first draft to revise. It’s hard work, but it is possible for them to come out on the other side with a positive experience. (I feel like I rambled a bit here, but you know what I’m saying, right?)

    • pamelahodges

      Stacey I didn’t notice you rambling. I actually thought we were sitting in a coffee shop chatting about editing. Your comparison about editing your closet to a child not wanting to revise is wonderful. I am looking for a positive experience after I edit the pile of clothes. I really want fewer choices when I get dressed. Larger margins on the paper.