Thursday, December 16, 2010

my heart on my sleeve

it's snowing here in north carolina. by snowing i  mean a nasty slush of rain/snow/sleet, just enough to deem the roads undriveable, and warrant a two-hour delay from work. yesterday, the air around my town was getting ready for this. this beautiful, once-or-twice a year treat of long mornings spent sleeping under quilts, snowman-building in the afternoon sun, and sipping hot coffee in front of the television.

the air dipped into freezing yesterday. my car struggled to start in this newfound chill. my toes were ice blocks as soon as i stepped onto the wooden floorboards beneath my bed. when i left the house yesterday morning, i remembered leaving my favorite jacket at mama and dad's. my cream white pea coat with oversized buttons. it sat warm and unused, a mere few miles away.

so i reached for another coat, then quickly put it back and went for a different one. i couldn't take this one. my vintage, waffle-texture long coat with a single gold clasp at the neck. i didn't leave it behind because of the weather. a little rain wouldn't hurt it. i didn't leave it because of its weight. it's plenty heavy enough to shield me from the winds that sang through my trees.

honestly, i left it behind because i really don't like it anymore. it's not that soft. there's a slight yellow circle-shaped stain on the back. the clasp is hard to manage and tends to come undone easily.

but i'd never give it away.  i can't even put it in my shop. because every time i look at it, i remember.

dipping my toes in the pacific ocean for the first time this past autumn. standing in my bare feet in the hazy, gray glow that permeated cannon beach, oregon. i swear, the scene was almost european, with birds decorating the sand and water the color of slate. it was gorgeous.

as we hastily pulled into our motel, i grabbed that coat out of the trunk and ran, hand in hand, with robert. literally chasing the sunset, we hurried to the beach, over cobblestone streets and a cove of sea brush, finally arriving to this:

i was wearing the coat then, and so i will hold onto it now. on it is the sea spray and memories of my trip, and perhaps a few crumbs from the boysenberry scone i devoured moments before that picture of me was taken.

so i'll keep it in my closet. for that reason alone.

like the curious george boxer shorts i got in the 7th grade, on our family's only trip to disneyworld. they have a flap in the front and i'm certain they are for boys, but i've held onto them. because when i look at the image of george, wearing his spacesuit and floating around on the fabric, i remember that vacation. the heat that just sat on top of the atmosphere and almost suffocated us. riding the rock n' roller coaster with my mama, my hips hurting the entire rest of the trip after that initial jolt. my dad's sweet laugh and my sister's fright and nerves as we approached each ride. 

isn't it funny how we associate so many memories with clothes? i think that's why i love vintage so much, because you can almost feel the decades in the fibers. and i'm so happy and thankful for those precious souls who donate their clothes to thrift stores, so i can happily snatch them up and make my own memories in them.

so the coat sits in the closet. 

smashed between my jeans and winter sweaters. collecting dust. 

maybe one day i can pass it down to my daughter, and tell her, over a steaming pot of coffee, how her mama and daddy interlocked fingers and ran into the ocean. how we chased  the sun and raced with nature together. i hope she'll be able to feel the love, my heart, on the sleeves.

because it's there. and just because i don't wear it anymore doesn't mean it's gone. just like when i close my eyes, i can still see oregon.

because memories embed themselves in the most unexpected of places. in the chipped red paint of my desk, the one i painted outside one warm spring evening. in the pupils of pablo's eyes. and in the threads of clothing.

yes, especially in the threads of clothing.


Casey said...

Aw.. this was lovely! It is so true about clothing and memories. :) I have quite a few items that would have been long gone if it wasn't for the sweet memories attached to them..


Thisisme said...

I love that bit about passing it down to your daughter, and telling her how mummy and daddy interlocked fingers and ran into the ocean. Aaaaw! So romantic. I love it when people put photos onto their posts. Makes it come alive somehow.

BeautyH2T said...

I do this too, there are some things no matter what I will not let go of. You look gorgeous in your pic hun, hope you are doing really well xxxx

Blondie's Journal said...

I feel the same way about some of my clothes. When I stopped working a few years ago to enter my 2nd chapter of 'stay at home mom', I couldn't bear to part with my smart little suits and sensible high heels. I finally did, after accepting I wouldn't, couldn't go backwards.


Peaches said...

Dear heart, this is a wonderful post. I too associate memories with certain articles of clothing. It's interesting what we remember and what memories we attach with different items...whether it be clothes, smells, foods, etc.

Love & Hugs!

The Bella Life said...

Beautifully written. I love how descriptive this post is. I can practically smell the vintage aroma coming off your coat.

Also, you nailed it! I am hoarding clothes because I can't rid myself of their memories. Isn't it ironic how nostalgia can make you feel empty and happy at the same time?

Love your blog!

-Kiersten, TheBellaLife

lindsay said...

isn't it amazing how our memories and emotions are stirred up from even the most simple things...especially clothing?

you just have a way with things lovely never cease to amaze me. reading your words is like an open sky...crystal clear and endless beauty ♥

Diana Mieczan said...

That is such a beautiful post...I totally agree about the connection between memories and clothes...I have a few pieces that I keep because of memories:)
Kisses and hugs

the friendliest flower said...

such a beatiful and excellently written post. and i totally agree about clothes and associating them with memories or even people. i have a john deere shirt that always reminds me of my boyfriend and wear it sometimes to remember him when i havent seen him in awhile.

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

This is the most beautifully written post. Yes, please never get rid of that coat.

Valerie said...

love, love, love your writing style. more with every post i read!

sometimes clothes are just a necessity, and sometimes they become much more. thank you for reminding us of that so beautifully!

Jessica said...

Beautiful story! I wear my mothers denim coat she wore all through high school. It's one of my favorite articles of clothing.

Brooke said...

awww this is so sweet :) It's so hard for me to part with clothes sometimes because it brings back memories! I live in NC too - In Charlotte but we just have rain over here :(

Shalyn said...

You are so lovely. I have a couple items in my closet I wont let go of for sentimental reasons as well- I love what you said about giving it to your daughter. So sweet.

Elise said...

Lovely. I am the same way, some of my clothes hole so many memories I hate to get rid of them. I Absolutely adore your blog, it is so well written. It makes me feel like I really am a part of your life.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

You are a wonderful writer. Loved the post.

Amber Blue Bird said...

oh my gosh, my husband and i took a road trip from Connecticut to Rockaway Beach, OR about 4 years ago and we visited that beach. The whole coast was gorgeous but cannon beach was breathtakingly beautiful. I can understand why you wouldnt want to let go of your coat.

{av} said...

I cannot agree with you more...first off, your writing daily makes my day. secondly, I just gave away the sweatshirt I was wearing when I got my first kiss in 2001. Solely because I decided I needed to remember that night. Thankfully, getting married to a different guy allowed me to let go of that memory ;) seriously, I always look forward to your posts...thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane! stay cozy! xoxo {av}

Ana* said...

Who would have thought there's an emotional attachment to clothing? This explains why I've had such a hard time letting go of some pieces, specially those I wore last summer when my beau was still around.... Your writing style is so refreshing. Even aeiou would sound refreshing if written by you.

Cara-Mia said...

In love with the way you string together words, dear. So perfect.

& I definitely attach memories/sentimental value to my clothes.

angela hardison said...

this is really beautiful. pretty jacket and pretty memories. i feel the same way about buying vintage clothes. i like to make up stories of the previous owner.

Emily said...

i completely relate to the memories attached to clothing! Kinda stinks when its bad though. Love the jacket ive always wanted a cream jacket but am scared itll be dirty in one second haha. Great post as always! I so enjoy reading everything you post!

Ashley said...

Yes, especially in the threads of clothing. Your words are so beautiful, and of course, have touched me again. You have such a talent...making me feel as though each post you write is directed especially at me. And I know all of your other readers share this sentiment.

I have many pieces of clothing that I have held onto due to memories...especially the ratty, stained high school t-shirt I wore on a Autumn walk in the park with my then boyfriend and his dog in 2004...the one I threw on with tennis shoes and no makeup, not knowing that that walk to the park would be one of the most important "walks" in my life...the one that resulted in our engagement, and ultimately the beginning of our life together.

Keep up the awesome writing, girl! xo

caroline. said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures.. glad to have found your lovely blog!

lula said...

Brilliant! Very heart-felt.
A kiss to you love!

Confessions of A Confused City Girl said...

I LOVE the way you write, brought a tear to my eye... that's not easy to do. Seriously. You have a gift. Glad i found your blog b/c it's going to be a great read!

Btw, please check out my blog, i am doing my FIRST giveaway ever! Anyone can enter:-)

Check out my Giveaway!
Confessions Of A City Girl

Signe said...

Aaaw, another lovely post from you sweetie :)
I also get attached to clothes and things. It does not happen that often but there are some clothes I hold on to even if they are too small and some things in my apartment I keep even if it does not match anything else. And for the exact same reason as you - they bring back memories!

Have a lovely weekend :)

Lynn said...

my heart swells from reading this. you have such a way with the written word and how you place the thought process down in print is sublime. never stop writing, you have such a talent lades. ♥

Jillian said...

This is so beautifully written Courtney--indeed, you do have a way with words. Your blog gives such a lovely glimpse into your soul. What a blessing you are!

charla beth said...

what a beautiful way to look at a seemingly simple piece of clothing.
i have never seen my clothes that way, but i think this post will change that.
thank you for your ability to see beauty in everything and for sharing it with the rest of us.

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