As the saying goes, everyone has skeletons in their closet–mine just happen to be covered in sequins. Welcome to my own personal Narnia.
Unlike my mum, whose wardrobe resembles an Oxfam rail and is bursting to the seams full of unused and unloved decade old rejects (I mean seriously mum, did you really need that jewel green velvet dress?), I am not one for hoarding clothes. In my mind an organised wardrobe is representative of an organised life, which leads me to have at least two full clear outs of my wardrobe a year and it is surprisingly therapeutic; who needs yoga when you can bin those ugly yellow loafers you thought you could pull off?
The one exception to this self-imposed doctrine which lies in the corner of my bedroom. A single old wardrobe that almost blends into the shadows, its contents could not be more of a paradox. Flashes of bright pink, green and blue hit you as soon as you open the doors, along with endless amounts of sequins and glitter; you could almost be mistaken for thinking you’d peaked inside a drag queen’s closet. The reality? Years worth of my old dance gear compiled into one big fat mess, all battered and extremely bruised. It’s like my own personal Narnia!
In terms of worth, it is pure crap. Anyone could look at the items and instantly know it was all junk that wouldn’t even be suitable for the car boot. But to me, those moth-bitten tutus and worn down pointe shoes remind me of a time that was equally confusing as it was simple. The one common denominator throughout my childhood was dancing; 15 years of my life is crammed into that small space.
Being a shy kid meant I found it harder than most to socialise and was never the most popular. Dancing provided an outlet for me to express myself in alternative ways and gave me something in common with the other dancers. It was like slipping on my leotard and ballet shoes made me a more improved version of myself; the Rebecca I wanted to be, even for just an hour.
Not to mention the countless memories attached to those clothes, both good and bad. The ballet exam where I had a stomach bug but still powered through and ended up receiving a Distinction; my first ever dance show where my little Quality Street dressed self fell off the stage on the first night; the funeral of our dance teacher where we all attended in pink tutus in her memory. Dancing wasn’t just a class three times a week to me or any of the other girls, it saw me through the tears and tantrums and first crushes and teenage heartbreaks.
If I ever have a daughter I don’t think I’d pass down any of the items because truthfully, what child wants blood stained, cracked pointe shoes as a present? But I’d tell her about what dance meant to me and who knows—maybe one day I’d be taking her to her very first ballet lesson with a nostalgic lump in my throat.
So the clothes will remain in that little tatted wardrobe and they’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks to them, I am now the Rebecca I always wanted to be.