It’s not that I woke up one day and suddenly decided to embrace the minimalist lifestyle. No, the dye was cast after the innocuous, or so we thought, decision to watch a documentary on the local on-demand-channel. It was a Friday night, January 15, 2010 to be exact, and we chose to view “Food, Inc.”, a movie we knew nothing about.
So we watched. Having been a vegetarian for over thirty years, I went into the viewing fairly confident that the movie would probably affirm my choices and perhaps I would come away with a new insight or two. Oh, such sweet, simple naivete!
My husband observed the movie from a somewhat detached vantage point while I watched with increasing horror and dismay.
By the end of those 93 minutes, I knew I could not live in denial anymore. It was impossible “unknow” what I had learned. Like a cosmic light switch flipping in my awareness, I knew I had to make some changes so that I could live with integrity in my own skin. I adopted a vegan diet and a leather-free life-style then and there.
The next day, I went to my closet and began pulling things out.
Good-bye salmon-colored designer sandals with the clear, round Lucite-bubble heel; good-bye taupe knee-high, western-style boots; good-bye aqua-hued, faux-crocodile mules; good-bye woven red leather chunk-heel sandals; good-bye black mary-jane flats with the leather flower accent on the ankle strap purchased at a summer sale in Paris. Good-bye dark chocolate brown boots with the ultra-pointy toe.
Good-bye cherry-red leather gloves lined with gray rabbit fur.
Good-bye numerous leather coats and suede jackets and elegant handbags and turquoise padded opera-style wallet that snapped shut with a reassuring ‘click.’
It was with a mixture of relief (mostly) and regret (a twinge, but hey, some of these items were kinda chic) that I donated all of these items to Dress for Success, a nonprofit group which provides professional clothing to help low-income women successfully enter the workforce. It took more than one trip.
Afterward, as I glanced in my closet, I felt a sense of peace. The first round of purging had left a little bit of space between my hangers and I could actually see where the back walls met the floor.
And I knew that my work had just begun.