Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Protective Coating

    That we use our apparel to protect us from the harsher aspects of the elements is a given. We understand that as one of the root reasons we wear clothing at all.  The other easily apparent reason is our seeming need to codify, and place each other, and ourselves, into a hierarchy of one kind or another.
    But, there is another reason we do this; a less often spoken one, and a murkier, less understood one.  We wear clothing, in part, as psychological protection from each other.  We gird ourselves to keep away the dangers of too much intimacy, to keep out the unkind, and the uncaring.  We strap on, sometimes literally, layers of garments to insure that we don't give someone else the upper hand, by revealing too many truths about ourselves.
    Wearing a vast and fuzzy coat is partly about keeping out the cold, partly about making a statement of grandeur or drama, and also, possibly a statement of internal unease.
  We can use volume to create a false sense of size, so that we are less visibly vulnerable.  We can use dense texture, like fur, to carry over that animal aspect of us, investing ourselves with its potential dangers, so we feel safer.
    Does this imply that we are somehow less well adjusted?  No, I don't think so.  We all come with our built in boundary layer beyond which only those we love and trust may pass. We watch over that layer, whether we think we do or not.  Our apparel is sometimes a manifestation of that need. So,  much of everything we do jumps from the subconscious, to the conscious and motive, before we realize it.  And certainly a huge percentage of the decisions we make about our clothing choices have very little to do with logic, and everything to do with the unspoken.
    Take a minute to consider this. Is there something you wear that gives you an instant feeling of being safe?  My guess would be that you do, though you might not have ever vocalized it.  I know that I have a coat, not an expensive one, that makes me feel secure and fine in some ineffable way.  Could I tell you precisely how or why it does?  No; not without weeks of internal digging.  I can only tell you that it does, absolutely.
    So, we carry this motivation in the background all the time. Sometimes it voices itself in a feeling of comfort that we don't examine any further; when in fact, we are feeling comfortable because we feel protected.

At the end of any day, any time, the things we do have myriad meanings, both cogent and nonsensical.  Its up to us, as observers, to try and suss out the meaning from what we see. Sure, its often confusing as hell.  Having a background of thought, is a huge help, though.

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