I’d rather chew on rocks than give up these jeans. It’s not because of the perfect way they cling to my curves. It’s not because I saved up for years to afford them. Hell, the money I’d spent on the sneakers laced up on my feet could’ve bought three pairs of the same jeans.
But they would never be the same jeans anyway.
For over five years, I’ve refused to replace this pair of denim. Sure, their color has faded. Gone is the bright, crisp blue that screamed they were new. The initial tight fit around the waist has been stretched like over-churned bubble gum. Okay, so the length has shrunk a bit and I look like I’m prepared for the high tide. Yes, there are stains sprinkled about – the very stains that embedded in the fabric like a parasite no matter how many times Mom scrubbed away at them. And no, I didn’t buy these jeans with premade rips and tears in the knees. I earned those damn jewels in my battle against the pavement. (The pavement always won, but who’s counting anyway?)
Beyond each and every imperfection and far past all the reasons I should throw them out, there’s one thing that remains – memories of my youth.
I prefer to scour thrift stores and garage sales for my clothes. It’s when I get to pretend I’m a bounty hunter on a mission to find the rare article of clothing before it becomes the latest revamped fashion trend. Other times, I imagine I’m an archaeologist mining my way through unwanted hand-me-downs only to discover the Holy Grail of forgotten apparel.
But with the impending new school year, Mom insisted we go to the department stores.
I had to endure over an hour of trying on clothes Mom picked out. Cute little jeans that had flowers embroidered down the side hems. Oh, let’s not forget, the bright white jeans that made Mom reflect on her younger years. (What teen girl takes the risk of wearing white pants at all?)
With Mom busy conversing with the sales lady, I knew I had to pounce.
Darting over to the clearance rack, I became the bounty hunter. The hangers screeched as I tore through clothes. Most of the jeans didn’t fit me – too big or too small and here I was stuck in size Awkward Petite Teen.
And then I saw them.
Drooping off a hanger like a hungover sloth, these bright blue jeans swayed and whispered, “Sup?” Tags pierced through the waist with mismatched neon prices slashed so many times you would’ve thought they were a victim from a horror movie. I snatched them off the rack and held them close to my chest. I wasn’t about to let someone pry them from my fingers.
After a quick trip to the dressing room, I swirled around in these jeans with a proud smile plastered on my face. I plucked the tag from the waist and handed it over to the sales lady along with my old jeans. Of course I didn’t take them off. I wanted to die in these jeans.
And that was only the beginning.
Over the years, these jeans and I have been through it all. That battle with the blacktop? Yep, I busted my knees against the pavement from trying to ollie on a skateboard that wasn’t mine in the hopes of impressing the kids at the skate park. I wear those rips with pride. They show the world I’m not afraid of falling.
All the grease stains lining the side hems are from the countless Friday nights that began with pepperoni pizza. To think I could’ve been stuck with the jeans Mom picked out. I’d be using napkins for my greasy fingers in the fear of smearing the pretty daises on the sides. As much as Mom hates it, those stains proclaim I’m not the cleanest and girls shouldn’t expect to be.
Now, these jeans also carry a secret. That belt loop on the left side dangling with busted threads? It came from a night where I sneaked out of the house. What? I never claimed to be an angel.
I met Erik at the park far beyond my curfew. We laughed as we challenged each other on the swings, daring one another to jump farther and farther without impaling our face in the tanbark. By that time, hormones decided to widen my hips. My poor jeans got caught in the chain and I nearly ate wood chips as a late-night snack. Erik laughed the hardest as I pleaded for him to help me. After jiggling the chain, I was free and looked up into those dark brown eyes. I kissed him so hard he should’ve shattered to pieces. These jeans will never be able to hold up a belt, but they remind me that I’m in charge of my own destiny.
I know that one day I’ll have to pack up these worn-out jeans. The impending adulthood looming over my head whispers that day is bound to come sooner than I expect. However, I can’t get rid of these jeans. I’ll store them up in my closet until the time comes for me to hopefully pass them onto my child. Because these jeans aren’t just strips of fabric; woven in each stitch and fiber is a piece of me that defines who I am. In these jeans, I’m comfortable being simply me.
Until next post,