Friday, July 15, 2016

Yearning And Display

    We have a debt to each other. Truly we do.  When we walk a street,  or sit in our cubicle, or stand before a class of students, we owe a debt to them that see us. We might like to, in our self absorption, think that it is the reverse, that they owe a debt to us.  The reality is that we all walk our life paths learning of ourselves, and giving of ourselves to others without fully knowing the payment that is due.  The Attire language that we have built painstakingly over millennia of time is not simply, baldy, a methodology whereby we communicate our own reality, or fantasy to others.  It is far more. We gain a huge amount of our self knowledge from how we choose to present ourselves visually, and how people respond to the sent message that they see. We see ourselves as worthy or not worthy, largely by the usage of, and the perception of the Attire language.
     How do I perceive myself?  In full honesty I cannot say that I entirely describe myself by myself. I am not fully my own person. None of us are. A part of us, a significant part of us is defined and described by the interactions we have, and the culture in which we live. In other words, I am not only myself, I am also my interactions and the effects those interactions have had.  Part of those interactions have been based for good or ill on how I have chosen to accoutre myself for the world's viewing. My manner of dress, how I choose to groom myself and so forth, all have a part in how the world perceives me, and in reverse, how I end up perceiving myself.
                                                            (yeah, this really is me)
I will be bald faced here with facts.  I am 5'4" tall, 59 years old and 155 pounds. I am short-waisted, unexercsised, balding in the back, and a bit stoop shouldered. I have serious bunions and a myriad of other small details that would put me outside of the ideal.  I also acknowledge that my facial physiognomy is one that meets a good many of the parameters currently in vogue.   Frankly, all those admissions are based upon cultural normatives that define those things as more or less than desirable.  And in other cultures and times nearly all those things would have been, have been seen as positive or negative markers repeatedly.  So, I am not moving entirely free of social influence.  None of us are.
     Yet, even with this understanding I still yearn for something more.  Perhaps this is a manifestation of my/our baseline desire to grow and change, to evolve, to metamorphose into something greater, larger than I/we have been.
    What it may be for me, for any of us really, is a desire to be accepted and honored fully for ourselves.  And yet, within the Attire language we can only ever get part of the way there.  For as manifestly communicative as apparel is and can be, it can never fully express us. It can only help us along the way to understanding.  And so, we display, like peacocks in rut, we display. We make ourselves visible, desirable, and potent.  If we are people who define as female we often display as procreative source points, harbingers of succession.  If we define as male we regularly present as supreme examples of how to engender progeny.
   My final and most salient point is this. We cannot ever conceive of ourselves as being entirely separate from the world in which we live.  We are children of our cultures whether we like it or not.  Our apparel choices, our methods of using this huge, complex language of Attire, all depend, more than we might like to consider, on the thoughts, opinions and feelings of others.  And what does that mean? We need each other. We need each other for validation, support and continuance.  We need each other. Oh yes, we do.

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