Domestic Violence, House and Home, Truth

Is it okay to wear a t-shirt that’s been laying around in a dusty box for 15 years?

Air Force T-shirt
The back of one of my Air Force t-shirts features my Training Instructors (TI’s), Tech Sergeants Hardy and Cute. TSgt Cute has to be *the* scariest woman I have ever met in my entire life. What I wouldn’t give to know that woman’s story!

In my quest to rid my house of stuff I don’t need, I’ve make several interesting discoveries and recovered many items I forgot I had. One of these items is a squadron t-shirt from my Air Force basic training days. When I found it, I laughed, threw it in the laundry, and then started wearing it non-stop. That’s not weird, is it?

When I separated from the Air Force, my ex destroyed most of my uniforms, my combat boots, and anything else I owned that might remind me I was ever my own person. Somehow, I managed to stash a couple of these shirts in a place where he wouldn’t find them.

*Hmm. I wonder if that’s why I’ve had such a hard time letting go of my “stuff.” See, writing is better for me than any shrink could ever be.*

Anyway, I’ve been wearing these old Air Force shirts to bed almost every night for the past two weeks. You might think I’m crazy, but I get a strange sense of empowerment from wearing these old t-shirts. They remind me of who I was before I met my ex-husband and was beaten (literally) into what he wanted me to be.

I am a former Air Force intelligence analyst. I survived several grueling weeks of basic training, followed by several grueling months of Intel school. I was a strong young woman who was ready to conquer the world. I want to be that warrior woman again.

Last night, I was eyeing my reflection in the bathroom mirror (we’re still trying to decide how we feel about each other) when it suddenly occurred to me that I have two master’s degrees. How many people can say that? Here I am, picking my face apart, telling myself how old and puffy I look, as if my face is the most important part of me, and it occurs to me that I have accomplished some pretty awesome shit that had absolutely nothing to do with my face.

Who is this woman I keep trashing in the mirror? She deserves better, don’t you think? Don’t you think this woman deserves some respect? I do. It’s cool with me if she wants to wear her old Air Force t-shirts, even if they have been laying around in a dusty old box that has been dragged from Hawaii, to North Dakota, to Wisconsin, and somehow survived the years of hell that transpired along the way.

What are you holding on to, and why? Please share in the comments below.

~Mandy Webster

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2 thoughts on “Is it okay to wear a t-shirt that’s been laying around in a dusty box for 15 years?”

  1. Good for you. I hold on to everything, much to my family’s annoyance. You sound like you’ve come through some hellish storms and you have every right to look in the mirror and be proud.

    1. Thanks. I’ve found the more I get rid of, the more I want to get rid of. Just when I think I’m done, I think of something else I may as well toss while I’m at it!

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