I sit on the comfy couch across from her. My fingers find the hole in the left knee of my jeans and I start breaking the thin threads that run across it. By the time I am done recounting my muddled thoughts to my therapist, the whole is gaping.
My favorite jeans are now holey.
And while I would never dare to put an article of clothing on the level of that which is truly sacred, there is something about this pair that is “holy”…i.e. “set apart”…to me.
(Play on words intended.)
I’ve worn many other pairs of jeans in the 3 1/2 years since I added jeans back into my wardrobe (after 9 years of not wearing them because of my standards of “modesty”)…but these are the ones I’ve worn the longest.
I remember the day I bought them, at a JC Penney outlet in Louisville, KY – with my newly-walking son toddling around the dressing room. I had just a few days, weeks earlier sent my husband back to Afghanistan, and I was treating myself to some new clothes. I had lost just enough weight that my Walmart jeans were too big.
I bought three pair of jeans that day, but these were by far my favorite. They were “distressed”–the “coolest” thing I’d ever owned. They fit snugly around my curves and made me feel femininely attractive, yet they weren’t so right that I felt they were obscene. The fabric had a give and stretch that made them so comfortable…I was pretty sure that this was what the four girls from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants felt like when they tried on their jeans.
I wore them and wore them hard and wore them out.
They now have stains and snags and frays but I don’t care.
In September of last year, I sat in the front sear of my car on the way home from taking Ezra to see Thomas the Tank Engine. I had kicked off my shoes and socks and pulled my legs up onto the seat, my feet on the glove box.
I studied my jeans.
The frays and stains seemed to whisper to me of my story…of comfort…of belonging.
I snapped photos with my camera because I had nothing better to do.
And because I wanted to remember that feeling when I really felt okay with it…
like I belonged in a pair of jeans.
The tops of the metal buttons popped off, and for months I wore them with sharp metal buttons on the pockets. Finally I replaced them with more “no sew” jean buttons, which lasted all of a week before they too bit the dust. (Apparently sliding in and out of the car really does a number on jean pocket buttons.)
They sat, buttonless on the waist and the pockets, on my dresser for months – all winter long. I kept meaning to fix them, but I could feel myself gaining weight and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fit.
But then, a few weeks ago, I gambled and sewed buttons on them (this time, normal needle and thread buttons).
Then I tried them on. As if by Sisterhood magic, they still fit over my added 10 pounds, still comfortable as ever.
And I wear them harder, I get them dirty. I embrace the rips and the stains.
But now, there is this gaping hole…
And so, I took a break from my dinner preparation to check the tag and do an eBay search. And sure enough…
I don’t know exactly how to put into words how these jeans make me feel…
all I know is that they do.