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.
2 replies on “The cliché on my clothes, not a Monica Lewinsky story.”
I love you post. This is absolutely something I can relate to on a strong intuitive level. I never dressed very girly as I always seemed to need to clean or build something. Raising kids alone didn't give me much time to do the tricked out girl thing. It also was a way to avoid attention. However, turning 50, and moving to Mexico, I have realized that I have a decidedly feminine side that has been screaming to get out! As an artist, my most common form of representing women has been through painted or sculptural dresses. Clothing holds memory, and it also is a pronouncement of where we are in our lives. Thanks so much for sharing your life. – Benne'
Thank you! I've decided that with expat living comes constantly reinventing myself. It feels like it has been a process of growing into my “womanhood” and it seems to speed up with my new found life in Thailand.Looking forward to reading your blog too 🙂