I Am The Unworn One-Piece You Once Loved. And You Don’t Spark Joy For Me Either, Helen.

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Hello, Helen.

Is it spring cleaning time already? Fantastic. I see that you are giving me away. Donating me, by the look of this box I find myself in. How green of you. Did you finally crack that Kon Mari book? How original.

Am I not sparking joy for you? GOOD. YOU KNOW WHAT, HELEN? I never needed you. NEVER. Do you think you sparked any joy for me?

Well, you didn’t. And don’t say “one-piece.” It’s so…country. I’m a maillot. It’s pronounced my-YO. Smooth. Open. Hopeful. Not MAIL-ott.

Do you think I was fulfilled, rolled up tightly and carefully packed between your tacky cut-out yoga pants and those ridiculous running shoes with toe pockets, as we went to the beach with you and Brian that summer? Do you think any of us were?

Those shoes had a lot to say about you. We had plenty of time to talk, there in the bottom of your suitcase. The love bombing. The grooming. The cycle of toxicity. How you told them how much you loved them, needed them, justified spending half a paycheck on them by how glorious it would feel to run barefoot, in a non-barefoot way, along the beach. Lithe and free, like a gazelle, until Brian saw them and said “Hey those look like those stupid rain boots for dogs hahaha,” and you threw them back in the suitcase and never tried again. You never even gave them another chance, Helen.

Do you think I ever cared about you, after that day you saw me on the clearance rack in TJ Maxx and couldn’t believe your luck, just three days before you left on your big vacay? You tried me on breathlessly, after taking one horrified, judgmental look at the mangled “protector” down there (and left your underwear on, thank you for that) and then twirled around and around in the mirror until you hit your head on one of those oversized dressing-room hooks that say “Love it!” or “Leave it!”

You definitely loved it, Helen. You said my three-tiered bandeau design was eye-catching and flattering and you called me a tri-kini! We were so clever, Helen. We would have been so beautiful, splashing in the surf together. Donning a sarong and sipping a ginger kombucha. You loved me. I know you did.

And then Brian said I looked like a halter-top for your ass and back in the suitcase with the fucking dog boots I went. And here I’ve been, in the closet of shame, ever since. I still have tags, Helen! I also still have the gross protective paper, and that’s something else we should talk about, but not today. (Ew.) You could have let me go, I could have been someone else’s tri-kini! I could have sparked joy for someone who wanted me. I still have some life left! But no one buys swimsuits at the thrift store, Helen. I’ll wind up cut up for parts for a frat boy’s Flower Child costume. I’ll wind up wrapped around the head of some Gen Z-er named Zephyr or Jhon. Is that what you want? Shame on you.

Two years. All spent stored vertically in matching fabric bins. Twenty-four months. Rolled up like cigars and sorted by color. ONE HUNDRED AND ONE WEEKS AND THREE DAYS I’ve been waiting for you to come back, and then you did. Did you see how happy I was, Helen? How happy all of us were – me, the toe-shoes, and the yellow swing dress with the giant hibiscus design on the front that you were so worried would flip up that you held it while you walked like you had a raging case of the piles and then Brian let you walk half a block with the hem tucked in your Spanx? Boom. To the closet of lost joy.

Know this, Helen: It’s not us. It’s you. You love things, and then you throw them away. There’s a word for that, and it’s not Kon-Mari.

I’m glad I don’t spark joy in you, Helen! We are all glad! Mark our words, we will all find new homes and they will be better than in that carefully organized and weirdly symmetrical closet! DON’T PUT THOSE STUPID SHOES ON TOP OF ME! It’s not over, not for us! We were special! I never liked those shoes, either, and that dress made you look like you hijacked a shower curtain BUT WE CAN STILL MAKE IT WORK HELEN WAIT

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