When I got home from the gym the other day, I realized that I forgot to put my belt in my bag after changing out of my clothes from work. I called the gym right away and told them about it. They took my information and said that they would call me if they found it. They also asked if I was going to be in the next day to work out and I said yes. There was no call and it was not in the lost and found. I tried to be hopeful that someone would have turned it in at the desk. I was very sad as the realization began to sink in that it was really gone.
It was a really nice belt in the way that I could wear it with quite a few things. It went well with jeans or khakis. I could semi-dress it up for a relaxed preppy kind of look or I could dress it down with a t-shirt and comfy jeans. It was made of soft, worn brown leather with small, flat metal studs and a line of stitching of twine-like threading. It was so me. Soft and casual, yet with a subtle depth of layered detail. It was the perfect belt and I had had it for at least twelve years. It was an artifact from college that remained a classic staple in my wardrobe and I probably would have worn it until well past eighty. I'm a simple kind of person and not always one with a lot of accessories, so for quite awhile this was my only belt. (Why would I even need another one?) But now it is gone. I am so bummed.
But why? Why am I so emotionally invested and attached to the belt? I've tried to shake the feeling because it seems silly to have such feelings of loss over something material. So, what is it about this belt that is so hard to let go?
I guess it reminds me of college and my youth. It was a simple way to recall the past without breaking out an old, smelly t-shirt. And somehow I think the belt served as a way to connect my past and present by representing what was consistent in my identity across time and that certain elements would follow me into my future. There were several times in my life when I struggled with either loosing my identity or figuring out how to reclaim it or redefine it. But the belt was a constant--looking at it I would think, yep that's me.
But then there were times in the last year or so that as I would put on the belt and I would feel sad. And it always felt strange to have that feeling with something that I considered to be a favorite. But there were times that the belt would take me back to that dark, lonely place in my divorce when I felt so lost and alone and like my life was spinning out of control. It was because during that time I lost forty pounds (I had gained thirty pounds during the prior year while trying to get pregnant.). I was at a loss and felt helpless each time I had to pull the belt another notch tighter. I remember when I got to the last notch and it just wasn't tight enough. I felt scared and knew that I couldn't loose anymore weight and stopped stepping onto the scale when it dropped to 98 pounds. That was a low point in my life.
Well after I returned to a healthier weight, I wondered if maybe I should get a new belt. Why keep something that could sometimes draw out hints of sadness? But would I be abandoning something that seemed to symbolize what makes up me has always been there and use it to carry me forward? Is it better to hold onto something and learn to live with that trace of sadness or to come to a place where it is time to let it go and move on?
I guess the decision has been made for me--or perhaps it was my subconscious that decided for me. The belt is lost and gone and I will have to find a new one. I just hope that I can find one that is just as awesome, but in its own unique way. More reason to go shopping!