“Clothes and I”

Anna Lesiczka
22th December 2022

“Clothes and I”

There are days when every touch is exhausting. By touch, I mean everything - also the touch of clothes hanging on a body.

When I sleep naked, a mattress, pillow, and bedsheet touch me. I don’t live alone therefore if I have to use the toilet, I must put on some pyjamas. There is always something touching me.

Clothes function like other skin, yet they are not.

One of my favourite parts of family dinners (excluding eating) is the moment after I announce “I did a cleaning in my wardrobe, I have some things to give away”. All the women would get excited and follow me to my bedroom. My grandma would slowly climb the stairs. We would wait for her. Sometimes there are other things to check on in our house. Maybe they would stop on their way, in my brother’s room which is located just next to the staircase. I would have a bunch of clothes lying on the bed. They would not look through them. It’s me who does the show. I would present the pieces one by one.

But it is a very cheap fashion show because my clothes are ugly. At least this is how I see them deciding to give them away. Women in my family like some of my clothes, so they take them. Sometimes they take what I previously received from them. I can recognize myself in their behavior. I reject wearing something but after time I want to have it back. It’s too late because it already belongs to someone else.

I give away my clothes in school as well. I come with a full bag, and hope they would fit new owners. I have never sold anything. It goes beyond my values. On the other side - I buy my clothes. I have to work for this skin, think about it, process what would fit me well in the coming days. I envy people who can spend more money on better quality styles without worrying that they will soon abandon them.

I buy a lot in second-hand shops.I think about the people who owned the clothes while wearing them. Then I also like seeing other people wearing what they received from me. It makes me feel present elsewhere.

I remember seeing my beloved red-black turtleneck sweater drying on my friend’s laundry rack. I gave it to her at the end of high school. It was a long time ago and although I would make great use of this sweater now, I can’t escape thinking that by wearing it I would only be dressed as a teenage me. I felt like I was looking at her drying on my friend’s laundry rack, still alive.

During the first year of my bachelor's I decided to stop wearing black. I gave away all the black clothes I had. I even got rid of the socks and underwear. I should look back to my old diaries to memorise the reason. Probably it was something connected to not using black in painting.

Last week I bought a black shirt. I stepped into a popular chain store and paid for the first black thing I liked without trying it on. It took me only a couple of minutes because I hate being in places like that. I barely go there so spontaneously. More likely I buy a big amount of clothes once or twice a year. But I had the unstoppable need to have something new because my current wardrobe started to expire.

When I was packing to come here at the end of August I carefully selected the clothes I want to take. Although it was after the summer holidays, most of them were in bright colors. Now we are entering winter and I feel tired. I remember that I didn’t have any problems dressing up at the beginning of the school year. I was waking up, taking something from the closet at ease, feeling okay with the choice for the rest of the day. Now I stare at my clothes for too long and feel like I don’t have absolutely anything to wear. But it is still the same number of the same clothes.

My favourite home task is laundry. I like collecting a big pile of dirty clothes that smell like earth and sweat to make them all clean at once. Around two years ago I decided to wear all I have until the closet was completely empty. I had many clothes at that time. It took me almost two months. It also allowed me to better understand what I keep. I had to plan well to use them all. Sometimes my outfits were strange. I felt relieved when nothing was left to wear because I had already started missing my favourite shirts. I didn’t have enough space to hang it out to dry. Their clean smell spread around for two weeks.

I have flat feet and I step hard on the ground so one year is the longest that shoes can survive being mine. It’s always a pain to throw them away. I almost feel that they deserve a funeral. They were working as support that carries me. When they are broken it feels wrong to place them in the trash. Therefore I usually litter the Earth by leaving my old shoes somewhere nice. Depending on the shoe's history, it’s either in a city or in nature.

One day when I was walking my landlord’s cute dog, strangers were talking to me. People who own dogs can socialise quite well. Not many people have a dog, but luckily everybody has clothes.

-I love your outfit!