It was the great bard who once said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. This was the beginning to a poem which outlined the 7 stages of life but the opening lines fit so many facets of day to day life.
“Life’s a show and we all play our part”, a line written by Joss Whedon for Once More With Feeling. Same concept, almost the same words, but rewritten for today’s audience.
The clothes we wear are our costumes for the show we call life.
When we go to work, depending on the job, is how we dress. Professional level jobs have professional career attire; go to most any store and one can purchase these nicer clothes for work. A suit, dress shirt, and tie for the guys and a suit separate set, either pants or skirt, for the ladies for the upper tier of professional employment. Khakis and a polo shirt for business casual attire. Many employers require uniforms on the job. All of this is done to distinguish employees from the other. To show the employees as a unified team, as a one.
When going to certain events, one dresses a certain way. For sporting events, one dresses in the garb of their team. This goes back to the employees-uniforms relationship. If all fans wear the same jersey, we are all showing that we are a cohesive unit. We can also tell the us from the them. In Raleigh, it is not uncommon to see a good number of away jerseys in the stands. This area is a big location from transplants who may have adopted the ‘Canes as their new team, but their ultimate allegiance will always be to their original home team. There are also the fans who “dress” in paint rather than apparel to show their warrior side and to prove they are “more” of a fan than the person next to them who is just in a t-shirt. You know who I mean- the pack of fools who stink of cheap beer and have to remember their seating order less they end up spelling the word painted across six chests wrong. Again, the cohesiveness compounded with the us vs them…even if everyone is on the same side.
On a first anything…date, interview, day of school…one dresses above and beyond normal expectations in order to put their best selves forward. But the self is always there, just below that perfectly groomed surface. As soon as one opens one’s mouth, the other party can decide if the candy shell goes with the gooey middle.
There is a reason why make-overs are such a big deal. There is a big psychological tie between what is shown on the outside to what is perceived on the inside. One psychological trick when you don’t feel all that great, it to just smile. Even if you don’t mean it, smile anyway. Soon enough, the physical act of smiling will trigger something in your brain and you will actually mean the smiles you are showing. You can trick yourself into feeling happy. By dressing in a way that makes one feel special, one begins to perceive oneself as special.
Our appearance…our every day costume: clothes, hair, jewelry, etc, are all an outer reflection of how we see ourself. They can also cast inward a new perspective if we feel we need a change.
Here in the South (not so much when I was attending church with my mom as a kid in NJ), folks really do wear their “Sunday best.” Hubby has a Homer figure which I got for him many many years ago (pre-Pagan discovery) mostly because he likes Homer but partially as a sarcastic joke- his view of attending church. Homer is in his Sunday best and he has his Bible…and his sports radio and his foam finger. Hubby would physically be in church with his family, but mentally he was already on the couch for the pre-show of the Football games.
When I attend Circle, I have been wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Super casual. Nothing fancy. Comfortable.
I feel I want to do more, bring more to the table. Feel more “pagan-y”.
Hey, maybe a cloak!
So I started researching cloaks. Viking cloaks, Celtic cloaks, long cloaks, mid-thigh cloaks. I’ve been waffling about purchasing one for some time now. Every time I go to Pagan Pride Day, I visit the cloak maker but I never actually go through with the purchase. The more I look, the more I feel like it’s wrong.
This time was more of the same: the more I looked at the various styles of cloak, the more inauthentic it felt. Like I was pushing the issue of being “more pagan”. I was trying too hard.
So I stopped looking.
Something that feels more authentic, more “me”, is a boho look. I dress this way anyway, so it’s nothing new and it’s nothing extreme. I went out and got a few pairs of sweater leggings. I have no problem doing the boho look in the spring, summer, and early fall. I start to have issues when it starts to get chilly and I just want to wear pants to stay warm. Sweater leggings should solve that issue. Boho look it is!
Then last night I had a beautiful ask and ye shall receive moment: my mother-in-law came by to drop off Witchlette’s Halloween costume. They sat with us while we had dinner and played with Witchlette until it was time for bed. On her way out the door, my mother-in-law said, “I saw a coven picture you posted recently…with all of the cloaks. Do you have one?” I’m pretty sure I squealed.
Having a cloak made for me doesn’t feel inauthentic at all. In fact, it feels right. She is an avid sewer- it is her favorite past time (other than playing with Witchlette). Yay!!!!