Corner View: personal style
I must admit I don't have anything very serious to say about my personal style these days. I used to have all sorts of style opinions (and a wardrobe to match). But 2009 was my first year as a mother, and...well, I think we all know what that means! It also happens to be my first year running a sort of business from our home (in addition to the freelance work I've done for years now). The combination of motherhood, my stubborn refusal to use daycare, and working during every spare minute (nap time, bedtime) that I can filch in my studio...let's just say I spend a lot of time in my pajamas.
When I do have a rare (rare!) opportunity to actually get dressed, I enjoy it. But, lacking the time to be terribly inventive, I have retreated to the classics for the most part. Good jeans. A cashmere sweater (which I enjoy finding at resale stores), a classic trench. Most of the contents of my closet haven't seen the light of day in over two years.
But here's the other thing...for the bulk of my life, up until just a few years ago, I lived a sort of nomadic life. My parents had lived this way since they met and, having an only child, they were able to continue with me in tow. They were not (as most people assume) either hippies, jet-setters, or military. This is just what they liked to do. They were at least functionally multi-lingual and well-traveled. They loved to roadtrip and were comfortable in a variety of environments. They lived lightly and were always ready to pack up and move for the sake of a new horizon. For me, this was a lifestyle in which I found myself at birth, so it was not just second nature but, really, first nature. I felt safe and secure on the road. I enjoyed the transitions, and my own ability to shape-shift from one environment to another. It felt like my greatest strength, and I relied on it. If I felt insecure or unhappy in my life at any point, my immediate reaction was to move, the farther the move and the greater the change of environment, the better. It was almost like shedding a skin and growing a new one, just as sleek and snug and supple as the first, but entirely different.
So it is that I have always been captured by those moments in spy novels or films where a character goes under cover, sheds all signs of previous identity and takes on an entirely new persona. The idea of stepping into an anonymous motel room with a drug store sack containing hair dye, scissors, new sunglasses and a change of clothes, tossing all possessions in a dumpster, and walking out a new person with nothing to lose....ah. Forget your romance novel formulas, your happily-ever-afters. If there's a fantasy for me, that's it.
Of course, I effectively gave up that lifestyle when I got married, became the owner of a lovely home, and brought home our amazing, magical, mercurial child - at least for practical purposes. Lest you fear for my stability, don't worry - I married the one man who will happily buy a pair of drugstore shades, step into a strange motel room with me, and spend the week on the road heading wherever the highway takes us. The one man who would sleep in the desert with me for days on end, washing in streams and waterfalls and never minding the sand in our teeth and the dust in our hair. The one man with whom I could have happily traveled through vastest China on the way to adopting a child we'd never met.
So for this personal style moment, I give you my form of escapism: a pair of cheap shades, a false set of reading glasses, a faux ponytail... Hey presto - I'm a new person for the day. Even if, these days, it's only for the space of a trip to the coffee shop ;)
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