Starting with the clothes

The first thing that Marie Kondo says you should sort through is clothing.

I think for most people, it’s the thing most people have the most of. I know it’s true for me.

The idea is to gather every piece of clothing you own, and put it all in one spot, which I decided should be on my bed. I laid items out according to category. Shirts/blouses, jackets, long pants, shorts, workout clothes, underwear, socks and my personal favorite, lounge clothes.

Army stuff
Army stuff

Now, I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty much the best lounger ever. On any given day, you can find me on the couch, wearing anything from an extra large T-shirt with the sleeves cut off, to my old favorite, sack shaped pastel blue mu mu.

I liked the nightgown because it had three-quarter length sleeves so when I cook stuff, I don’t have to pull them up. I accessorized it with of course, no bra, because yeah, it’s my house and I do what I want….Jackson, I’m very sorry for this. (For those of you who don’t know, Jackson is my significant other, going on eight years and…oh…a lifetime of searching.)

Once you’ve put everything in one spot during the process, you then have to hold each article of clothing in your hands, you have to touch it and feel the weight of it.

This was the key part for me.

About a month ago, I went through my closet, prior to reading the magical aspects of tidying my stuff, only to get rid of one garbage bag full of clothes.

This time was different. As I held each thing, and really looked at it and thought about the different memories associated with certain pieces, the attachment fell away.

One shirt in particular I spent extra time holding and smelling.

It was an olive green shirt. Down the middle of it, was a swatch of pattern depicting a Japanese type styled dragon with a forked tongue. Within the pattern, for some reason were flames in camouflage.

The last bout of cleaning, I just couldn’t get rid of it. It was ugly, too big for me and ridiculously cheesy. But I had folded it up and put it back in a drawer after getting rid of a few other things.

But this shirt was my dad’s.

Now you non-sentimental people who just want to know about cleaning up your crap, you can skip these next few paragraphs.

My dad is one of the reasons I started this blog.

I’ve always wanted to write a book, but lacked the motivation or discipline to put in the writing time. I mostly wrote when forced to in school and the occasional Facebook post. I thought it perfectly fine to walk around, considering myself a writer without actually writing a damn thing.

I don’t know a lot about my dad’s life prior to him being my father. As of now, all I know is, he was born in Puerto Rico, was married once with two children from another lady that’s not my mom. Then he moved to New York and worked as a jeweler for a Hasidic Jew. He met my mom somehow in Indiana (I think) then moved our family to New Jersey, then eventually to Indiana. He had a liver transplant and mostly worked at B&B Loan, a local pawnshop. That’s pretty much all I know.

A number of years ago, I don’t know how many, because I avoid the particulars of life, dad passed away from the big C.

So I was left with the desire to call myself a writer, while not actually writing, but also the desire to know whom this man really was. He was an alcoholic, sometimes violent man, whom I happened to love dearly.

This blog is a way to hold me accountable to actually putting the words out there. It’s a way to get into the habit of putting the work in on a daily, well mostly weekly basis right now.

Before I get to the hard part of finding who Al Bonano was, I need the mess to go. I need my life to run just a tad more smoothly before I can open those festering wounds up, thus cleaning up my closet, along with the rest of my life.

Back to the pile of fabric littering my bed. I took a moment, sat down on top of it all, holding that ugly ass shirt. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember my dad actually wearing it.

When I think of him, I remember a blue striped button down shirt. I remember a dark blue robe, no pants, just stained tighty whities, with his belly and man boobs sticking out because he never tied the sash right. I’m pretty sure he saw nothing wrong with wearing that robe while he sat on the front porch looking at traffic go buy, legs spread wide. Hey, that’s what Puerto Ricans do…they look at traffic.

I touched the shirt to my face and felt…nothing.


That shirt wasn’t my dad.

Dozer comforting me
Dozer comforting me

Getting rid of it wasn’t getting rid of memories of him. It was just getting rid of a shirt that no one should be caught dead in…no pun intended. Remember, the goal is to get rid of anything that doesn’t give you a “spark”.

I thanked the shirt for serving my dad as long as it did, and placed it into a trash bag, set to go off to someone else, who would find joy in proudly strutting about town in it, looking like a pure badass.

The shirt
The shirt

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