Published in the March/April edition of Radiance Magazine.
It was a blistery day, condemned to my house complements of El Niño. Thoughts rang
through my head of “What to do?” “What shall I do?” Aha, I’ll clean the garage! Yes, that was
the answer. It was a long overdue, dreaded but necessary task. Universe had kindly blessed
me with free time, no commitments and no excuses. It was a done deal.
I bravely pulled out the rickety ladder. Yep, may as well start at the top and work my way to
the bottom. The rafters seemed like the obvious choice. Up I went; not really trusting the
steps, but determined to make some headway. There amongst the dust and cobwebs laid
before me my children’s old baby blankets.
Such precious memories, gingerly packed in airtight bags, waiting for the day when my grandchildren would be born. “Certainly must keep those” I whispered to myself,” but probably don't need this box of broken Christmas lights”. Into the trash the remnants of Christmas past went. Their journey to a landfill was about to unfold at the weekly scheduled trash pick up. Next was the box of unread books and novels that had been on my “Must Read” list for eternity. Yes, I had great intentions but unfortunately very little time. I destined those to my donations pile for others to enjoy and get lost in. Hours went by as I sorted and sifted through memories, junk, books, unfinished crafts and useless stuff.
Growing exhausted I was determined to finish what I had started. After all, I hate to do
anything half ass. I crawled on my knees into the dark musty corner and pulled out the last
box. It was hidden away far out of reach, just begging to be discovered. There alone in the
dark it had silently existed, waiting to be acknowledged, recognized and validated. It was
labeled “Monique’s Wild Clothes”. The air around it was stagnant and suffocating. In this
dormant region of the crawlspace its existence had long ago been forgotten. Its worth now
covered with cobwebs and dust no longer serving any purpose.
I threw it down off the ledge and began my descent down the ladder. I put it up in my
bedroom to open later once the kids went to bed. I was already sensing this box was for my
eyes only; my own Pandora's Box. What mysteries would it hold for me? What stories would
it tell? What secrets would it whisper to me?
I made dinner, washed dishes and did all my nightly routines. At last the kids were tucked in
bed, fast asleep. Their minds, yet untouched by adulthood were surely dreaming of cotton
candy, Unicorns, and all things wondrous and magical.
With so much to keep me busy I forgot about THE BOX. Wearily I crept upstairs to shower
off the day’s accumulation of grime and grit. My body was longing for the treat of hot water
and the sudsy lather of my luxurious Amber scented body soap. I opened my bedroom
door, and looming before me there it was…THE BOX. “Monique’s Wild Clothes.” THE BOX.
It ever so cryptically called and beckoned to me. It desired to be opened, to spill its long held secrets, to reveal and proclaim itself.
The shower can wait. I decided it was time. THE BOX….she was dusty, tattered and
timeworn. She served her purpose but was a bit rough around the edges. She had seen
better days. She was bound tightly with never ending loops of packing tape; determined to
keep all her contents protected and sealed away.
I had to tear, cut, coax and manipulate the tape that had kept her imprisoned for all those
years. Finally I was able to peel back her layers of confinement and set her free. I could
almost hear her sigh of blissful relief, as I opened her lid. At last she was finally allowed to
quench her thirst and drink in the fresh air she was craving. All that she held in for decades
was now freed. Her innards hidden in darkness, we're now going to see the Light.
Giggles came over me as one by one I took out her belongings and laid them before me. I
discovered my old clothes from my life in Hollywood, circa the early 90s. There were teeny
tiny hot shorts, go-go boots, a neon pink vinyl hat with matching gloves, miniskirts, thigh
highs etc. All the things I wore unapologetically as a young, supple and wild thirty-
something. In this box I caught a glimpse of my life before kids. That time before crow’s feet
and wrinkles, before sagging breasts, hot flashes and painful bunions. An era that existed
before sensible shoes and mom jeans purchased at Costco. Certainly way before the 50
pounds of fat I gained after 5 years of fertility hormone injections and then followed up by
back to back babies at the ages 42 and 43. Oh yes, my mind stirred, I vaguely remembered
She identified herself simply as Monique. Not as a wife, not as a mother, not as an adult, not
even as a grown up and all that comes with that. She was uniquely Monique. That's all she
needed to be. That is all she desired to be… nothing more, nothing less. She was beautiful,
she was free, and she was uninhibited.
She was a Wild Woman living life on a whim, moment by moment, anticipating the next
adventure. She relished in experiences yet untapped; awaiting her discovery. She oozed her
sexual magnetism and wasn't afraid to show it. And then it happened… she started to age.
She did what grown-ups do. She got married, had babies, secured a mortgage and a car
She lived in fear that she couldn't keep up with all that society had dictated she ought be. So
she gave in, broke down and gave up. She slowly retreated into her own emptiness
withering away in her sadness. All her energy went towards convincing the world she was
Ok, convincing the world she was strong and able. Years of feeling underachieved,
unworthy and unnoticed mounted on her and those layers showed up on her body as fat.
She then overcompensated and people pleased. She thought that would somehow validate
her worth and make her whole again. It didn’t.
Being fat, tired and rundown became her norm. After all she was 40 now and that is just what
happens she convinced herself. Isn't that what they say? The media and magazines had
deemed her beauty and worth washed up and expired. Thus she believed them. That is
when she boxed up the wild clothes. At that moment she literally made a mental note that it
was time to “hang it up”. She accepted her fate of settling into the impending doom of
mundane middle age. The clothes were then packed up into the box and made their way into
the rafters to be forgotten. THE BOX too accepted its fate and settled into its lifeless reality.
Flash forward a decade later to that rainy day. As I laid out the hot shorts before me the
thought crossed my mind. “Do I dare try them on”? “Why not?, ”I thought, “I am the only one
awake”. Feeling a bit eager, the answer was an astounding YES! I had recently incinerated
those 50 hellish pounds through a fabulous weight-loss program. At 50 years old I was finally
feeling optimal again. I decide to go for it, not really knowing what to expect.
I excitedly stripped off my clothes; trembling with both anticipation and fear. Feeling a bit silly
I turned on some music and I picked up the first pair… a black shiny, size 2 sequined little
number. I smiled and took a deep breath as I shimmied them over my naked hips, really not
sure what to expect. Then spontaneously the tears came streaming down my cheeks…they
fit, they actually fit!
In that moment I became so grateful for the weight loss but more importantly grateful for the
reclamation of myself. Not only did they fit but as I strutted in front of the mirror, I looked
pretty damn hot! Not hot like that thirty -something hot, but a radiant white hot!
The sexy radiance kind of hot that one earns thru the journey of time and experience. An
inner glow that is the reward of wisdom obtained and heartaches felt deeply; the alchemical
mix of success and failures that transform the maiden into something altogether different.
The undeniable exuberance of a woman who has finally stepped into her power and laid
claim to all her glory. That was me! In those hot shorts, in that moment, at the age of 50… it
was the Goddess recognizing herself. SHE was alive and well. At last, SHE had awoke!
The epiphany was crystal clear…I am and always have been the Wild Woman. HER energy
pulses thru me to my very core. It is what I am made of. SHE is my essence, SHE is my
birthright. The tears poured forth as I became acutely aware that THE BOX metaphorically
represented me. How I had hid my contents away, sealed myself shut and shoved myself in
a dark corner to collect dust. My identity boxed in and suffocated. My Soul yearning to be set
free, to breathe, to just BE!
I asked myself, “Why had I kept this box in the first place? “ Why didn't I just throw the
clothes away years ago? And the answer came. Somehow even in my darkest of days, I
intuitively knew I would one day wear those garments again. That one day I would cherish
them and what they represented for me. I would reclaim them and I would reclaim myself.
That day was today…. the day I rescued myself from the garage rafters.