Dealing with Emotional Attachment, Part 1: The Dress

It all started with a dress.


Photo Credit: My dear friend Nicole Z.

That’s me in the middle there, on my wedding night, surrounded by so many of my closest friends (aren’t they fabulous?). The dress is a 2009 Betsey Johnson, and I spent weeks looking for it. It fit perfectly, I looked so fierce in it, and every time I passed it in my closet, I was reminded of this wonderful time.

True life: I attach unnecessary emotional attachment to inanimate objects. This dress is more than a dress; it’s a memory. It’s PART of me. I save everything. Concert tickets, movie stubs, pebbles from the Grand Canyon from that trip I took with my mom when I was 11. Each time I look at these objects, I am transported back to the time and place attached to the object.


If I get rid of the item, I am afraid I will lose the memory. 


This fear is intense. Some people are afraid of spiders, I’m afraid of losing all of my memories. Which, thinking about it logically, is nuts. I mean, how could I ever forget this time? It was one of the greatest days of my life!


Photo Credit: My dear friend Sarah F.

Now here’s the tricky part. A piece of clothing is still technically functional. I could still technically wear it somewhere some day, right? Right. Except:

  • I had a baby 7 months ago and my bones aren’t in the same place. It’s unlikely the dress would fit again soon, if ever.
  • It’s white. I’m a stain magnet and I don’t tan.
  • The only semi-formal events I’m likely to be attending in the near future are weddings, wedding related activities, or baby showers. This dress is not really appropriate for any of those situations.
  • During the last song of the night, a particularly raucous rendition of The Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” I partially busted the zipper in the back.

Now, instead of a beautiful memory, all I could see was a partially broken, ill-fitting, poofy yet beautiful designer dress, taking up space in my closet.

So I sold it. 

I sold it for $13 to a little consignment shop in the next town. And now, somebody else will be able to make beautiful memories with it. To treasure it, as I have. Or to wear it once and have a fabulous time. After all, it is just a dress.


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