Abandoning my male wardrobe
Imagine after over fifty years of building a wardrobe of nice men’s clothing, just getting rid of it all in one day? That’s literally what I did. Why on earth would someone do that? Just give away my beautiful expensive jackets, dress shirts, pants, belts, shoes? Things with fond memories and scents attached? Things I purchased in exotic places or one of a kind vintage items? That seems crazy, right?
It may have been a little crazy, but after transition it seemed more important to move forward as my female self and let go of the male life I led before. I won’t say it was easy. How could it be? But getting rid of all my men’s clothes was the last step in a much longer process of letting the man in me go. Honestly, the hardest part was when both wardrobes occupied my closet and my life.
That was a decade or so of battle. A battle in which one side of my wardrobe or the other would constantly gain or lose ground. Sometimes it seemed the jackets and ties would oust the dresses and heels altogether. But they were tenacious. They clung to their foothold and grew in number, pushing with floral prints, sequins and spaghetti straps against the thick wool and leather of the male guard. Eventually I began to see the inevitable. The male wardrobe was fighting a hopeless endgame. Men’s things that used to be flattering now hung on me like a scarecrow. I looked odd in them. They were out of place in territory they once indisputably owned.
Obviously, I had been equally torn. My life had been as schizophrenic and confused as my wardrobe. My days spent trying to live in both. Often going to work in men’s clothes and changing as soon as I returned home. This made having visitors almost impossible. If my children or anyone I hadn’t shared with came over I had to do a complete and thorough cleaning. If I left one item of my female wardrobe out, I would have some explaining to do.
Sadly, I learned much earlier in life how to do this kind of cleaning. I’d been caught by siblings very early on with catastrophic consequences. Later it was girlfriends and a wife who found an item I had missed. One glue-on nail or a errant lipstick. A pair of underwear left in my drawer. These tiny items led to gigantic conflagrations in my relationships that eventually burned them down completely.
So I had learned to go over my house as carefully as a forensic investigator looking for evidence. Nothing could be missed. I had to be one hundred percent sure I had put everything away in a safe place or my life could suddenly turn to ashes.
No small thing then to put that fear and stress behind me as I took the last of my coats and slacks from the closet and placed them in boxes. I wasn’t just saying goodbye to the man but to the stress and fear of living two lives. I was saying goodbye to a double life and the duplicity that accompanied it. With each item I boxed and gave away, I threw the dishonesty and lies in along too.
The boxes felt like they weighed much more than the few pounds they actually were. There was so much more in them than my male wardrobe. The burden of sadness and a life unlived went along with them. As I took them out of my car and handed them to the person at the thrift store, I felt a thousand pounds lighter. Yes, there were some beautiful things in that wardrobe with fond memories and one of a kind experiences, but they also bound me a held me down, constraining me to a life I no longer wanted to live.