Looking in the Closet

I stumbled across a piece on how Frida Kahlo’s closet was opened a good 50 years after her death to unlock insights into her personality and story.

By no means do I fancy myself a Frida Kahlo, but the idea of a future civilization (or aliens) finding something I have left behind and learning about how regular people lived ‘back then’ is a favourite idea of mine. It is not lost upon me that this is the mind’s attempt at soothing itself that one is not completely irrelevant- “Don’t worry,” it coos, “Your finger bones will surely let aliens know that there was a human civilization roaming the earth at some point.”

And so I launch into day-dreaming about what a similar discovery of my closet would say, if time were to stop today, and re-start another thousand years later. What would they, the future discovers, find?

The first thing they will surely notice is that my closet is spilling over a little, which is ironical because I pretty much wear the same 3-4 sets of clothes all the time. Will they take this to confirm every feminine stereotype about me? I wonder if they will know that I recently emptied out an entire cell to put in the ‘random stuff’ that was so far parked in my dear husband’s closet, because I had an epiphany that it was not fair given my closet is, ahem, much bigger.

They may figure that all of the clothes are either bought in the last 2 years, or from at least 15 years ago. The former tend to spoil much more easily. The latter are robust as ever. I wonder if they will see it as a difference in quality of the clothes, or the preciousness accorded to the memory of younger days.

They will find lots of long-sleeved T-shirts. Will they think me boring and conventional? I wonder if the long sleeves will explain the many considerations: the cold-sensitivity, and the sun-sensitivity.. the greater elegance, in my view.. the protection from the coarseness of woolens directly on skin..

They might notice that most of the woolens are the same cardigan style. I wonder if they will see it as predictable, or as practical- with the ease of taking off and putting on at any place and any time. Because the weather fluctuates so, and one must be prepared for all contingencies. I wonder if they will know I have actually never taken off a cardigan I did put on in the morning. But I like to think I can if I want. I wonder if they will see it as commitment issues.

The summer wardrobe suddenly becomes more fashionable. Many pieces often get complimented for being classy. I wonder if they will know that these classy dresses are invariably paired with the most ridiculous colours of clothing underneath. I wonder if they will see this as a conflict between the public self and the real self.

I wonder, if looking at those wonderful elegant dresses, they will know that they are moderated by expert consultation of my dear husband. Else I would be turning up to work and social gatherings in batik-painted genie pants.

I wonder if they will find my genie pants. I hope they do! That is about as close as they will come to finding my horcrux. A part of my soul will forever live in my genie pants. They are light, airy, colourful, comfortable and just slightly silly.

They will find jeans. Several pairs. The pockets will be filled with all kinds of chits and papers. Some bills never claimed. Some receipts never filed. Some tickets to a lovely place, that it seemed like a bad idea to just throw away. Also money. Oh yes. I wonder if they will know I was clumsy, careless and sentimental. Ok they will, this cannot be interpreted any other way.

They will find little back-packs which I carry pretty much everywhere. Containing umbrellas, should it rain. Paper towels, should someone catch a cold or spill something. Sun-glasses, if it should get too sunny. Head-gear, should it get too windy, or should I like to look more colourful. And eye-liner. Should I run into a celebrity I have a crush on, and need a moment to look my best self (this has happened, by the way). Will they think I was neurotic? Or would they think I was always open to all possibilities- good or bad?

You know what else they may find- empty toilet paper rolls. What do you mean that’s disgusting? Have you never been on Pinterest? Apparently you can put them to all kinds of DIY projects to create everything from exotic lamps to whole houses! And so my artsy self stored these empty rolls over months and months. Will they know I never got around to delivering on that project even after couple of years?

They will find gift wrapping papers- cut out in odd shapes and jagged edges. Because I hate to get gifts wrapped from the shop. It’s somehow very impersonal, like I don’t even know what’s in that box anymore. Unless dear husband offers to step in, I like to do my own brand of a shoddy wrapping job, which I will then be insanely proud of (applies to all my art work too).

They will find gifts. Such beautiful gifts 🙂 Handcrafted jewellery, jholas and bags, perfumes, tops… I wonder if they will know how blessed I feel that my aunts, cousins, friends would say, “as soon as I saw this, I thought of you” and buy the trinkets for me months before there was even any plan to meet. I wonder if the discoverers will know I was hardly as exotic as those belongings might indicate, and yet I was fortunate that there were people who saw me that way.

They will find a cell full of hair care stuff. Different brushes and all manners of clips, hair bands, hair mousses etc. Out of all that, only one comb ever used. Will they know that despite the dry weather here, and the wildness of my hair, I could never bring myself to use any hair products/appendages beyond a few days, eventually always falling back on what my mom anyway said – Natural is the best. Will they know I had my mother’s hair?

I wonder what story the closet will tell. I wonder if they will smile at the layers of the projected self, real self, and socially perceived self. I wonder, if it will instead all come together in harmony in one coherent picture that I don’t yet have the foresight to see.

Featured Image: Photopin.com

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