I donated all my old clothes that were lining my closet floors. I squatted in front of the closet for an hour and picked out pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, skirts, hats, stuffed them in bags, and took them downstairs. Then, I actually took them to the car, and from the car, to the place women need those things more than I.
When I was little my mom had several purses, and they were all filled with receipts and makeup, she saved everything, and my father saved everything I ever did wrong in his head. Everyone was hording something for sometime, and now I finally realized that I do it too, so the past three weeks has been all about throwing things out.
I haven’t been able to sleep lately, because anxiety eats at me all night, and I think of my anxious parents and their anxious parents and a whole history of anxiousness.
The clothes I threw out were too small. My parents tell me they are worried about my health, about my heart. I have been told for ten years that I will have a heart attack. There is always a sickness I have to avoid. If I shower at my parents’, I don’t dare leave their house with my hair wet, because someone will faint from screaming that I will catch pneumonia.
I remember when I told my father I went to a demonstration in grad school: he was livid. He thinks Arabs in this country should keep a low profile and behave themseves and not get into anything political. When 9/11 happened I crouched on the floor by the TV and prayed for the first time in years, repeating, “please don’t let it be one of us, please don’t let it be one of us.”
When you grow up preparing for disaster, you can end up thinking a pair of old pants will save you. I know it’s just a clean closet, but I can’t describe to you how light I feel.