It has been almost a year since D and I broke up. When I started dating again last fall my mom asked me to do one thing for her. She said, “Tori, please don’t change. You have worked too hard to become the person you are.” After a long, dry summer I was watching big drops of rain hit my cracked windshield. She and I often talk in our respective cars parked outside wherever it is we need to go next. Her words surprised me. Firstly, I felt pride. I knew I had worked hard but to have one of the most impactful people in my life see it too, that meant something to me. But, the meaning behind them was that I had changed for D. I had spent the summer untangling myself from love that had failed, love that I had thought both logically and with my heart at one point, was my ‘one.’ In reflection, I knew I had changed but I did not think it was enough that it would perceptible to others, especially enough to warrant words of caution as I embarked into my next love.
Last week, I was wandering around Brooklyn. It was 90 degrees and basically the best thing ever. I think I am learning I like heat. I am a different person in the summer than the winter. My spirit has woken up with the sun. I wandered into a shop and I wanted to buy something that yelled summer. I wanted to celebrate this change in season. As I browsed the merchandise in this far too cool for me store, I found myself drawn to wide brimmed hats and long pleated skirts. I admired them but I didn’t consider trying them on. They’re not me. But then I realized, why are they not me? I like them. I want to wear these things. D had very strong opinions about clothing especially on practical, smart girls like me. I realized these were the things I imagined he felt were stupid and hipster–the latter may very well be true. And I had determined that he was right: I don’t wear those things. Hats and skirts, these are such trivial things. They are not the pieces that make up who we are, and yet material possessions can still have so much power. They can be a way of sharing who we or who aren’t in this world. Probably their largest power is in what we let these things tell us about ourselves.
I decided that day that I am going to buy a hat. Maybe it will be a hipster hat, one that is so very Instagrammable, but I like some of those hats and I really think it would be fun to wear one and to live outside the sometimes narrow definition of who I think I am, namely not a hipster and definitely not fashionable. Interestingly enough this decision to not care what anyone thinks about my silly or not silly yet to be purchased hat had a profound effect on me for the rest of the weekend. I used to wear a lot of rings and jewelry. But I stopped. I used to have a more bohemian look that was albeit often needing some serious style guidance but I loved those clothes and dressing that way. On Saturday, I bought two gold plated bracelets made by an artist in Brooklyn. They’re the kind of cuffs that are quite in right now. But I didn’t care, I just really liked them. Every day since, I have put them on with great joy. I have looked forward to showering (which I never do) just so I can get ready for the day and wear my bracelets. When I put them on it feels like putting on this whole other version of myself that I have neglected for too long.
I called my mom after leaving the hat and skirt store. I get it I told her. I said, “Mom, it has been almost a year since we broke up and it has taken me a year to let go of the person I was with him.”