Home > Family, Friends, Love, Personal > Wearing experiences

Wearing experiences

I like getting rid of stuff.

Recently, I realized I’ve pared my t-shirt drawer down as far as I can.

What’s left are shirts that are more than shirts to me: They’re reminders of bygone experiences, and who I was when I had them.

tshirt spread

My mom sent me the Ducks sweatshirt my first year of law school. She’d picked it up from a garage sale, like she did most the owls she sent me. She didn’t want me to forget where I came from. Or her.

Sick as a dog but pleased as punch to be holding The Monster's Daughter in my hand for the first time

My first time holding my book, many years after I received the sweatshirt

I bought the Superman tank top while a student at the UCLA School of Law. I bought it at Aahs! Westwood a decade ago. I should have been studying, but comic book superheroes were far more exciting to me.

I even pretended to drum in it. Convincing, yeah?

I even pretended to drum in it. Convincing, yeah?

I pretended I’d forgotten my younger sister‘s birthday once during law school. It was hard as hell not to take the bait when Rache posted how sad it was to realize birthdays were no longer worth much, but so very worth it to see her reaction when I knocked on her door the day after her birthday. “Excuse me,” I said calmly. “Could I borrow a cup of sugar?” She ran around her living room shrieking before offering me the Pac-Man shirt, an offering she’d purchased to commemorate my love of Ms. Pac-Man. (I didn’t wear it at the Dog with a Blog finale party, but I imagined I was wearing it.)

mspacman

Rache was an Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic student at Cambridge in England when I went to visit her soon after returning from Japan. She’d decided not to pursue her Ph.D., which she’d realized would cost a bazillion dollars and leave her with limited job possibilities. I visited her in England to help her pack up and move back home. Our big outing was–no joke–to see Viking toilets, which she thought were amazing. I was less thrilled by Viking toilets than by the fact she was thrilled by them. I will never have nerd cred like Silver (Obsessed-with-Beowulf) Star has nerd cred.

Right visit, wrong shirt

Right visit, wrong shirt

The white butterfly shirt was a random solo buy. It became meaningful after I wore it to my 30th birthday party, shortly before the guy I was dating casually became the guy I was Actually Really Dating.

One year before Li'l D

One year before Li’l D

I loved the randomness of the Ninjas for Obama t-shirt I found somewhere in Los Angeles in 2008. The shirt became my pregnancy photo shirt, so that I consider tossing it into my donation bag only briefly before thinking, “But this was what I wore as I prepared to meet Li’l D!” So the t-shirt remains, though I only wear it now when I’m behind in laundry and my other options are dirtyexhausted.

Late 2008

Late 2008

I liked nerd musician Jonathan Coulton before I started dating my husband. I liked JoCo more when my future-husband and I watched him together.

We liked him so much, in fact, that “Skullcrusher Mountain” was the soundtrack for our first dance when we got married two years ago.

I wore the shirt I bought at my first JoCo show for my first son’s first birthday: another first at Farrell’s.

Another first at Farrell's

Another first at Farrell’s

My mom spent most of her final days in the pink shirt. When I miss her especially fiercely or need to remember how deeply I am loved, I wear this shirt to bed and feel my mom with me.

mom n d light

My husband bought me the couch shirt before he wrapped up his five-year stint working on The Big Bang Theory. I didn’t love the show, honestly, but I loved the role it played in our lives. I wear the shirt and remember my sleepy then-toddler Li’l D fighting sleep when we visited set for crew photos one year.

The one with that couch

On that very couch

Sarah was my first not-biological-sister girlfriend. She’s now godparent to Rache’s children, officially making it really bizarre to me that the three of us weren’t always sisters. We became that way with time.

trex selfie

The last is a t-shirt my youngest sister, Madeline, sent me a few months back. “Deefy” is a nickname I cherish, though my mom–Ms.-That’s-Not-the-Name-I-Gave-You!–always loathed it.

I cherished the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is probably what compelled Madeline to make me a Deefy the Vampire Slayer shirt. Which I love, and which I wore for the first time when my older son–coincidentally–had his dad paint on a vampire face. (No staking was involved after the making of this picture.)

dtvs

These shirts are shirts. They’re pieces of cloth that fray further with each wear, and will someday be meaningless to those who hold them and decide their fate.

But for me? For me, as I sit poised to greet my 37th birthday, these shirts are a reminder of everything, everywhere and everyone I have been so far. They make me wonder what shirts–and experiences–I’ll collect over the decade to come, and over the 27 years I’ll have beyond that, if I’m so lucky.

I don’t know where the road ahead will lead. But I do know,

(and it’s a bone-deep, happy kind of knowing),

for absolutely, positively certain,

I will collect many more shirts

from friends, and that the

experiences I collect–

with t-shirts an

afterthought–

will be more

precious

by far.

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  1. October 26, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Nice memories about your shirts 🙂

  2. October 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

    I love this post so much! 🙂 (And my husband has the exact same Skullcrusher Mountain shirt…mine, however, is the black version.) 😀

  3. cardamone5
    October 27, 2015 at 5:25 am

    I am making my husband read this post as his t-shirt collection never dwindles, only grows. He needs to take a page from your book and purge until he has only a drawer full.

    Fondly,
    E

    • October 27, 2015 at 10:13 am

      My husband’s t-shirt collection is the same. He was complaining (with a smile!) recently about my too-aggressive laundry schedule keeping him rotating through the same handful of shirts, so I’ve started mixing ’em up. :p

  4. October 27, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Great, moving post. Love all the shirts and stories behind them, and totally want the Deefy the Vampire Slayer shirt! Happy Birthday! Which day is it on?

    • October 27, 2015 at 9:38 am

      I thought it was awesome to find a shirt making site the had the “Buffy” font.

    • October 27, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Friday, thank you! It’s gonna be a great day, for no big and lots of little reasons. 🙂

      • October 27, 2015 at 10:22 am

        Well, Happy Birthday in advance! I am sure it will be wonderful! And, pardon the almost pun, but you should “deefy-nitely” wear the Buffy shirt!

  5. NotAPunkRocker
    October 27, 2015 at 6:24 am

    How awesome that there is so much meaning behind each one. I may need M to apply such logic to his collection, though that is really all he wears in terms of tops to begin with.

    • October 27, 2015 at 10:15 am

      I had to refold everything after J got into my shirt drawer over the weekend. I was so glad for that, in the end, as I touched reminders of my personal history and reflected on them instead of just grabbing at random. ♡

      • NotAPunkRocker
        October 27, 2015 at 10:16 am

        Perfect. 🙂

  6. m
    October 28, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Are you a Duck???

    • October 28, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Through and through!

      • m
        October 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        I have lived in Eugene most of my life, but I have not yet started my education at the university.

  7. October 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    This made me smile all the way through. You don’t know, but I desperately needed to smile, today, right now, this very minute. Maybe I will read it again for the afterglow. ❤

  8. October 29, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Awesome shirts, especially loving that vampire slaying one 😀

  1. November 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm
  2. December 26, 2015 at 2:13 am
  3. November 16, 2016 at 5:31 am

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