When I went off to college it was a huge change for me. Yes, Cape is only a 30-40 minute drive from Bell City but it is a million miles away from the small-town, nothing-to-do, nowhere-to-eat town that I grew up in. Moving to Cape gave me the freedom that I, along with most 18 year olds, lusted for. If I wanted to stay out all night, I could. If I wanted to order pizza at midnight, I could. If I wanted to sleep all day, I could and I did.
When I ordered this shirt I was entering in to what I like to call "my hippy phase". Before this little stint, I was a cheerleader, beauty pageant, salutatorian, Little Miss Perfect. I don't say any of that braggingly nor do I say it sarcastically; it is just the truth. But, at the time that this shirt came into my life, I was testing my boundaries, hanging out with different people and trying to make my own way in the world.
I remember when I got it in the mail how proud I was of it (I know, it is soooooo ugly-now). I couldn't wait to put it on and wear around campus with my baggy corduroys, big Doc Martens and, of course, my ever-present hemp necklace. It was the coolest shirt, ever, with the Grateful Dead Dancing Bear skiing down the front. How cool was I?
Fast foward through the years and I still have this shirt. I have kept it through countless moves, about 15 in college alone. I have kept it through 4 Army moves. I have kept it through 3 years of marriage. For some reason, I have kept it.
Today I decided to go through my closet and pitch things that I either didn't like, couldn't or wouldn't wear or old maternity clothes that were in there from last year. You know what I found? Yep, my old t-shirt sitting there on the top shelf of the closet as if I wear it all of the time. In truth, I probably haven't had it on in 15 years.
I walked out of the closet determined to throw it in the Goodwill pile that I was collecting and . . . I couldn't do it! What is with me and this shirt? I am in a totally different place in my life now but I still hang on to this shirt. I threw it in my winter workout pile and went on about my business.
As tonight as unfolded, though, my thoughts have kept coming back to this shirt and my seeming obsession with it and I think that I have figured it out. I still am that hippy chic from college but I am also the beauty queen, cheerleader and Little Miss Perfect from high school. I am a Mommy. I am a wife. I am a get wild-n-crazy at times girl who loves music, a good cigar and a fire pit. I am all of these things and I guess I just realized that if I throw away that shirt then I am throwing away a part of who I perceive myself to be.
So, it looks like me and the skiing Dancing Bear are in it for the long haul. He may get thrown in drawers, in the top of the closet or even get moved down to the basement but I'm gonna hold on to him because it reminds me of me.