When we moved in together, we both came with purple towels. He looked at the towel I was holding. “Yours,” he said. “I cut the tags off mine.”
Sure enough, there it was. The tag. Right at the end of the purple towel. The tag with wee instructions for washing and drying, and a wee list of the towel’s fabric content. The tag that’s been there since I bought the towel.
An epiphany. People cut tags off towels? That’s, like…okay? (No one will come and get you? You won’t end up in jail?)
I grew up with towels. They all had their tags on. I remember sitting in our orange bathroom looking at the turquoise towels hanging from the railing that bisected the sliding glass bathtub door.
I also remember the tag on my mattress. Do Not Remove This Tag Upon Penalty of Law.
I believed it.
I also believed that you should not walk on people’s lawns. And that you have to answer any question someone asks you.
I was wrong.
I was wrong about so many things. Not cut off tags? I had no compunction cutting off tags in the neck of my son’s shirts because they bothered him. That’s just something I did to support him and his über sensitivity. But I was perfectly willing to put up with years of unsightly towel tags.
I get that this is a metaphor. I am queen of metaphor-making and seeing meaning in things. So what does this mean?
I was content to play by someone else’s rules, and live in a box that someone — not me — made. That I did not even think to cut off the damn tags bothers me. Baa, baa, little sheep.
This morning I cut off the tags on all my towels. Pillows are next (I can’t believe I let that one go). And the stupid hangy loopy thingies in some of my slinky tops.
The power of scissors — cutting, shaping my life into the shape I choose.
What tags are there in your life? What boxes have you allowed to settle around you, closing you in from your true desires? Imagine you are given a pair of golden, magical scissors — better yet, a sword! — with the power to cut away the tags of your life? How will you shape your own life with that sword?