Tag Archives: feng shui

My Old Wedding Dress

The Party's Over

The Party’s Over

My son’s graduation is over. It was the first big celebration that I had to share with my Ex-Husband. See The Unspoken Pain of Sharing Celebrations. I made it through. And by that I mean I stayed off the six o’clock news. In the weeks before the graduation, during the graduation and after the graduation some bad things happened, and some very good things happened. I’m too close to it right now to write about it. But in the midst of all the brouhaha, of the visiting relatives, of the planning and anxiety, the tears (some mine, some not), something quite unexpected happened . . .

I got rid of my wedding gown.

My sister was staying at our parents’ home. When she left she cleaned the old bedroom — her old bedroom. She dusted, organized, threw things out, removed bedding and vacuumed — even under the bed. To clean under the bed, she pulled out everything stored there, including an airline cardboard garment box. The box had the logo of the airline, along with my maiden name handwritten on it in black marker.

It was my wedding dress.

I couldn't find a picture of a box like the one my dress was in so here's a cardboard coffin.  Draw your own conclusions.

I couldn’t find a picture of a box like the one my dress was in so here’s a cardboard coffin. Draw your own conclusions.

Now, I’ve written before about how I have dealt with the mementos of my lengthy but ultimately failed marriage. Wedding Leftovers — What To Do With The Dress and The Wedding Album — Time to Reduce it, Perhaps by Fire. And the gist was that I sold my rings, reduced the number and manner of presentation of my wedding photos, but I kept the wedding gown in a box under a bed at my parents’ house — untouched.

And I’ve also written before about how I moved into a hoarders home and had to clean it, see That Hoarders Smell, and that I’m also trying to clean out my parents’ home, which is too full of stuff. See Goodbye Hoarders. I’m a big believer in getting rid of things. It’s my free therapy. See Craigslist Angel’s. It truly is contrary to my belief system to store something I would never use. So when my sister pulled out my wedding gown to clean under the bed, it suddenly felt kind of stupid to put it back.

I’m supposed to be cleaning out my parents’ house. I shouldn’t be keeping any of my stuff there, I thought.

Rule One of de-cluttering is to get rid of stuff that doesn’t belong to you. My parents shouldn’t be keeping a big box of white dress for me, taking up valuable real estate under the bed.

When I first married I really wanted to keep my dress. My parents, who are still married, had a big church wedding back in the day. My mother looked beautiful.

Classic Grace Kelly, though I submit that my mother was more beautiful.

Classic Grace Kelly, though I submit that my mother was more beautiful.

I like tradition, antiques, old houses, etc. and I totally would have worn my mother’s wedding gown when I got married. But my mother didn’t properly preserve it, it yellowed and she eventually just threw it away. My young self chastised her for this over the years and I swore I would always keep my wedding gown just in case future daughters unknown to me at the time might want to wear it. So after my wedding, I carefully packed away my gown, according to the instructions from a professional. And I left it at my parent’s house. I’ve moved many times over the years but the dress stayed at my parents’ house.

I did have daughters. See Fertile Myrtle. Technically this meant that there was a possibility that one of them might want to wear my dress. But the dress is woefully out of style. I got married when women were still allowed to have straps and sleeves. Still, any dress can be altered, and there is plenty of material to work with. But none of my daughters have any interest right now in vintage clothing, except for Halloween or dress up days at school. Even if they did, call me silly, call me superstitious, but it seems like bad Mojo to marry in a used wedding gown, even heavily altered, from a wedding where the marriage did not last. I’d gotten a lot of suggestions from my earlier post on possible other uses for the gown — dye it black and use it for Halloween, donate it to particular groups that collect gowns, theater groups, etc. But as I looked at the big box with my birth name on it, I was sure of two things:

(1) I need to get it out of my parents’ house; and

(2) I sure as hell didn’t want it in my house.

I also didn’t want to take the time to find a proper home for the dress. I didn’t much care whether or how it was used again. And I was also quite sure that I didn’t want to touch it. I was almost afraid of the damn thing.

 Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, wearing her tattered wedding dress. (Source: blogs.indiewire.com)

Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, in her wedding dress. (Source: blogs.indiewire.com)

It was freaking me out.

So I put it in my car — my beloved car, where I spend way too much time. It is my refuge. See My Very Own Personal Olympic Games. But since my car is my refuge, I didn’t want to leave the gown in there either. Bad Mojo. I didn’t want it to infect the only space I have for me. Then I started to have visions that I would get into a car accident and they would find my bloodied wedding gown in the wreckage — and think I had some connection to it — that I had kept it for sentimental reasons –that I was purposely driving around with my wedding gown because I must still be in love with my Ex-husband and — and NO!

I’ll say it again. The gown was freaking me out.

I’d been doing some Spring cleaning in my own house (free therapy after an emotional time) and had a couple of things I wanted to drop by Goodwill. Goodwill, if you don’t know, is a charitable organization benefiting the disabled which is funded largely by Thrift Stores. (Yeah, I looked it up.) During my move from the marital home I spent a lot of time at Goodwill, giving away many of my possessions. I’ve shopped there, too, finding good buys, especially with furniture and wall decor. So I stopped by my house and grabbed the few other items that I planned to donate and took myself to Goodwill, making a special trip. Had it not been for the gown I would have waited until I had more stuff to drop off, but this had suddenly become quite urgent.

Still, I had some doubts. Consequently, I had a little conversation with myself on the ten minute ride:

Should I take the dress out of the wrapping?

(Why should I? I don’t want to see it.)

But what if I’d hidden money or something valuable or embarrassing in the box?

(But I didn’t. Those pesky photos of my husband and a stripper were never stored there. My boudoir photos I made for my husband during happier times have long since been destroyed.)

What if the wedding dress had yellowed or gotten otherwise ruined?

(Well, then the kind folks at Goodwill will dispose of it for me.)

Shouldn’t I let my daughters see it one time? Maybe try it on?

No. They’ll want to keep it, because they are hoarders-in-training. I can’t even let them know that it was in the car, because they’d have what I would deem as a morbid interest in it. And, it’s my dress, my memories. My kids did not exist when I got married. They have no right to keepsakes of my memories that predate them. I still have some of the wedding photos, that’s enough. If I abided by the reasoning that I must not destroy things related to my relationship with my kids’ father, then it follows that I should have kept the boudoir photos for my kids too, right? Wrong — and ick. Plus, if I saw any of my girls try the gown on, even just for fun, I think I’d have a panic attack and start screaming to the visual representation of my younger self standing in front of me — Run! Run! RUN! See Almost a Runaway Bride. No, I could not handle it. No, no. Did I say no? No.

Just, no.

Plus, when you think about it, my husband wore a rented tuxedo when he married me. He didn’t even keep his wedding attire for more than a day. Why do I have to keep this — thing — forever?

So, without any ceremony or further ado, I pulled around to the back of the Goodwill thrift store and left the box that contained my wedding gown on the concrete slab.

And that, as they say, was that.

And you know? I feel really good about it.

One less thing in my parents’ house, one less item from my marriage that I have to think about or make room for.

I have lightened my load. The dress wasn’t even my house yet it still haunted me. Just being in close proximity to the box that contained it led to irrational thoughts. It needed to go. I’m sure at one point one of my kids will ask where my gown is. I’ll simply say that I got rid of it, just like my mother had. If my girls marry, they can choose their own dresses, without resurrecting my vintage error in judgment.

As my oldest child is moving on to his next stage in life, preparing to leave the nest, it seemed like a good time clean up some of my old stuff. It was time to grow up and stop storing items I can’t even look at under a twin bed at my parents’ house.

So I’m good with it. So good.

Just Me With . . . no wedding gown, not anymore.

I can’t help but wonder how much it’ll go for in the store, it sure cost me plenty, in more ways than one.

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Mood Altering Paint Colors — Well, At Least That’s The Plan

Painting101_Lady-and-Paint_s4x3_al

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I’ve been painting.  Obsessively painting.  I wouldn’t quite call it manic on a clinical level, but yes, it had to be done.

Had to.

Be done.

Looking back, this has happened to me before.  I paint when something isn’t quite right.  The day after I had a miscarriage, I painted all of the hallway paneling in the old house.  I should have been resting.  I should have been crying.  Instead, I painted.

Then there was when my then husband went away on vacation with his club when we had many young children at home.  This, to me, was the perfect time to paint — everything– bold colors.  He came home to a purple kitchen, a hunter green eat in area and a bright sky blue play area.  I think I was jealous of his freedom, so, stuck at home, I changed my surroundings.  All while caring for multiple toddlers with open cans of paint around.  Perhaps not well-advised, but it had to be done.

Had to.

My Color Cry For Help!

My Color Cry For Help!

Later, after my husband left for good (or so I thought . . . but I digress . . . See Surveillance with My Mother and the When My Husband Moved Back Home — The Tale of Three Carries ) I  slapped beige paint over all of those colors in order to make my kaleidoscope house neutral for potential buyers.  My children didn’t help me at all.  They resented the change, hated  the beige.

We’re colorful people,” they said.

They were right.  We are colorful people,  but the HGTV gods told me I had to hide my crazy (Oops, I mean color).

Miranda Lambert, "Run and hide your crazy"  from the song Mama's Broken Hear

Miranda Lambert, “Run and hide your crazy” from the song Mama’s Broken Heart

Accordingly, all  the evidence of my color rebellion against my husband’s hobbies and freedom was –  neutralized.

Ready for Sale

Ready for Sale

I promised the children, however,  that when we moved to our new  house, we would bring color back.  As that little hoarders house smelled so badly, I painted right away, see That Hoarder’s Smell,  and I went bold: I had red living room, and the TV (family room) was a dark slate blue.

Not my house, but was my red.

Not my house, but was my red.

At one point I had an orange accent wall in my bedroom.

From the HP 033

The orange didn’t stay long, but it was there.

But lately, my little house had been pissing me off.  Well, everything has been pissing me off. The red was making me angry, I think. I’m already bitter, I don’t need to see red, literally. The dark blue was making me feel sad and closed in, like I was living in an elevator.

My home’s  overall darkness screamed despair and denial and hinted at failure, or maybe that was me . . .

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

I moved to this little hoarders’ house so that my kids could stay in the same schools.  I had to move, and it was all I could afford.  I was lucky to find it.   I’m fine with living small, but  I hate the neighborhood — which is on the lower end of the socio-economic scale — and it shows. Also, we are six tall people, and do our fair share of stepping over each other and our stuff.  But  I can’t move until they graduate, not even to a nearby neighborhood, unless there’s a big chunk of change in my near future. I’m still dealing with divorce debt.  Freedom ain’t free.

If I wanted to pull them out of school and move across country — well, I can’t do that either.  I’m divorced;  I’m not allowed to move without my ex-husband’s permission.  I’m stuck.

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Until my youngest kids turn 18, my options are severely limited. Yes, I’m blessed to have a roof over my head, but sometimes it feels more incarceration than protection from the elements.

However, HGTV, the teachings of Feng Shui, and countless blogs suggest that if I change my surroundings I’ll change my life.

Meditation

I took a shot.

Had to.

So I’ve been painting, lightening up the color, lightening up my life.  It goes along with my constant search for non-medicinal treatments for anxiety and depression.

I have to say, the rooms do appear bigger, brighter, calmer.

Painting small rooms

Not my house, but similar room.

Still, I need color, so the plan is to get the color back through art and accessories.  That’s the plan anyway.

It’s a good plan.

Well, it was a good plan.

Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. An open floor plan with bright white and neutral decor couldn’t hide her crazy.

Now I’m on the other side of not quite clinically manic, back to the depressed side of things.  Suddenly I’m too tired.  I don’t feel like hanging my old pictures or scouring yard sales for something colorful, because, at the end of the day, I’ll still be here.  And whatever I do, someone  in my house will hate it and loudly voice his or her displeasure.    So why bother, right?

Shawshank Poster

It’s like hanging posters in a jail cell.  Sure, it helps, but the most important thing on the wall is the calendar, marking off the days until release.

Just Me With . . . a bright new look, but not complete.  Methinks the angry red and the crying blues are bleeding through a bit.   But, hell, I’m giving it a shot.

 Release date?  Sometime in 2017.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.