No matter what’s going on in my life, I have favorites. Although the actual identity of the item changes over time. Like I always have a favorite pair of jeans, the denim hugging and draping oh so perfectly. But when the trend switches from skinny to flared, dark to light, I’m forced to update my style. I have a favorite lipstick, the color tinting my pout without staining my flesh. But as day fades to evening, my make-up needs adjust from basic to playful. I have a favorite perfume, the scent lifting off my neck and inviting potential suitors to lean closer. But as snowy winter melts into blossoming spring, the heavy musk of Chanel is replaced by the delicate softness of Stella.
The downside to having a favorite of anything is that sometimes it overstays its welcome. In seventh grade I owned a pair of paper bag waist, acid washed, plaid patched, multiple belt looped, cuffed shorts. I see how ridiculous they were now but back in the day I loved them. In fact, I adored them so much that I wore them the following summer too. I knew I shouldn’t. I knew acid wash was out before it was even in. I knew the high waist and patches were so yesterday. But I proudly donned those shorts, convinced in my own little world that they still looked great.
That’s the problem with being in it; you get so deeply invested that you fail to see beyond what you know. I justified those shorts by explaining how well they hid my ass. I argued how versatile they were because the cuff could be unfolded to display a longer length. Or I pointed out how the rainbow of colors captured in the plaid patches meant I could pair any tinted t-shirt to make a perfect outfit. Simply put, I can talk circles around anyone challenging my favorite thing du jour.
“Remember when you shaved your hair up in the back?” my mom asked the other day.
“Yeah, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” I defended, knowing now that the feathered bowl cut was by far my biggest from-the-neck-up mistake. Wearing two different earrings, a dangling fuchsia heart in one ear and a big CZ stud in the other, ranks a close second.
Over the weekend I decided to clean out my closet. I tried on some slacks and slipped into some tops and after three hours and two glasses of wine, I had a Hefty full of clothing to donate. It included previous favorites like black DKNY wool dress pants and a patchwork plaid Lily Pulitzer sheath. None of the pieces were in bad condition. In fact, many were pristine. They just were no longer my favorites. Every so often, as I neatly folded an item and placed it in the bag, I couldn’t help but question how I was ever so in love with something so hideous.
I dragged the Hefty down the hall and leaned it against the front door as a reminder to take it with me the next time I went out. I placed the empty wine glass in the sink, grabbed a cheese stick from the fridge and then tackled one more task of discarding past favorites. I went and tossed every last remnant of Alaska. I rifled through my bookcase and fetched the saved Scrabble score sheet, blindly crumpling it into a tight ball and dropping it in the trash. I tossed the unused food he’d sent as a gift, designer olive oil and gourmet balsamic vinegar, and then threw out the unopened bottles of Orangina I had purchased last June in preparation of his visit, the one that never happened. Next I purged every last file containing his contact information. I deleted his existence once and for all. Because like my old acid washed shorts, Alaska had officially become outdated. And more importantly, I finally saw it that way. Plus, it seems there are some potential new favorites vying for my attention.