It is snowing. I am six years old, and because there’s another baby in the house, I am sent outside to play. Mama’s lap is always full with one brother or another. My nose is cold. My mitten fell off. The icicle I was licking has my snot all over it. I beg to come back indoors.
The other mitten comes off. The boots and four socks. The scarf. The hood and the cap. The jacket. The sweater. The snow pants. I stand by the door somewhat mournfully, because I have shed the layers and seen what is left – a big sister who loves her brothers but misses her Mama, and has no idea who is standing next to the pile of wet outerwear.
There has come a time in my life where all my wet clothes are beside me and I am forced to look upon my naked soul in the harsh light of day. This is not a bad thing; my clothes are both designer dresses and ragged T-shirts. Some are stained but otherwise serviceable. Some should stuff a sofa in some third world country. Whatever the article of clothing, it does not hide the truth of what lies underneath.
It turns out that none of my decisions is entirely altruistic. With each step forward into the future, another costume is obtained for another pretense. I return from my latest tiny house visit and am bombarded with all the indecision associated with my possessions. The only good news is that I returned with less stuff than when I left. The emotional clutter will continue to reveal itself, I know. But will I throw the baby out with the bathwater?