My clothes are starting to hold memories, like a stain that won’t come out. The dress I wore when I taught “English” with my friend Jess to 250 students at the Holiday Inn. The dress I got the night I watched the boy I liked flirt with another woman. The special dress that I wore on my birthday, it held so much promise then…
Many years ago, I did an Edgar Cayce meditation as a way of remembering past lives. I never got further than this particular exercise. By the end of the meditation, we were supposed to imagine ourselves in an outfit. I surprised myself by visualizing an over the top fou fou yellow dress with ruffles, lace and cap sleeves. I never saw myself as very girly. Yet as the years have passed, I have come to realize I am rather feminine. I guess I never wanted to identify myself this way because it’s not considered – strong.
Although if you dress well, you are automatically considered capable and confident. When I was a training to be a Waldorf teacher, we were told we had to dress a certain way. We had to be professional, and take into serious consideration that the children would be looking at us all day. Despite looking the part, I was still fired. So now the 1960s red cashmere double breasted jacket I frequently wore holds that memory.
When I got attacked by a dog on Hickham Air Force Base, my mom made me throw away the purple and white striped mini dress I was wearing. She said it was bad luck. At the time, it was my favorite dress, but I listened to her anyway.
I don’t know if I’m ready to give up my clothes just because they have a perceived negative experience attached to it. But maybe my mom is on to something. I wore the dress I got the night I watched the boy I liked flirt with another woman, as a way of showing my fortitude. Nobody said anything about it, so maybe I don’t wear jealousy well and it needs to be passed along.
I would prefer for my clothes not to hold memories. I’d rather not identify too much as a teacher. But the dresses help, I put on my teacher clothes and I feel ready to teach. I feel classy too. It has become much more acceptable to see girls in shorty shorts in CM, and when I breeze by wearing a lovely dress, I feel strong and feminine.
So despite Thailand taking away the men in my life, my father and my long term relationship, maybe Thailand is giving me back something I previously felt afraid to claim and hold. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it all out.