Moving back into my mom’s house yesterday, I went on a cleaning spree as I attempted to cram all my belongings into the room that I only inhabit on vacations. And boy, did I dig deep.
I found Every Single Homecoming T-shirt from high school. I found pajamas I haven’t worn since 8th grade. I found my Nintendo DS (and promptly sat down to conquer the world in Civilization Revolution, which was still in the game slot). I found the hardcover notebook in which I wrote my very first spy novel, a twenty-page, painstakingly handwritten epic about a neighborhood society of dogs, who uphold the age-old feud between felines and canines, and a turncoat kitten. I found the watch I borrowed from my mom for an AP test four years ago.
And I found a box full of jewelry I used to love.
These included such gems as a tattered peace sign bracelet; a necklace with fake silver, gold, and bronze links; another necklace with one of those homemade pendants from a repurposed Scrabble tile; another necklace with some kind of giant fake amethyst that frankly probably made me look like I thought I belonged in a fantasy novel (which, to be fair, would have made high school a hell of a lot more fun); and a truly hideous flower pendant choker.
I could remember loving every one of these pieces, planning entire outfits very carefully around the grayish white peace sign bracelet or the weird flower pendant. I could remember the heady feeling of no longer having to wear a uniform (#CatholicSchoolKid), the awkwardness of trying to figure out my own style, and the terror of having my Then-Best-Friend, who I idolized, look me up and down and say, “Really?”
My style, of course, has evolved over the years. I stopped looking to others for the final say. I got addicted to Pinterest and all its inspirations. I figured out what actually looked good and what didn’t.
But I remember what it felt like to be that awkward, shy, please-God-don’t-anybody-look-at-me-too-closely girl who hoped that the jewelry would help me pretend I knew what I was doing. It was one of those moments I think a lot of people have where we want to give our past selves some reassurance that they’re going to turn out okay.
The nostalgia was not quite strong enough, though, to save these beauties from the Donate Pile.