Deborah S.

A jumpsuit in denim blue, with a silver lamé lightning bolt across the chest, outlined in red.

In France on Bastille Day, there is a celebration in the streets.  The smell of smoke from the fireworks drifts through the air.  A crowd of strangers presses up against me and my father.  I hear the strains of an American disco tune and begin to dance.  A space opens up around me.  People are watching me dance.  Through the darkness, they throw coins at the little dancing girl.  The lightning bolt becomes a good luck charm, a sign that I am talented and worthy of notice.

In America, it is school picture day.  My hair is in two ponytails.  My eyes stare through thick glasses, the dark frames heavy against my fair skin.  I stare at the camera, serious and unsmiling.  But the lightning-bolt on my jumpsuit gives me some courage; I’ve brought my dancing circle and the approving crowd with me.

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I don’t have a lot of detailed early memories from my childhood.  While I do remember the experience of dancing in the streets of France, I don’t actually remember the school picture day in which I wore the same jumpsuit.  I can’t even find the photo at this point.  I’m just relying on my memory of the photo and using some poetic license here.

But I think this is a relevant memory for me because I consider what I wear to an extension of my creative self.  I like to dress in colorful, sparkly, and unique garments and accessories.  One of the reasons that I sew is to make myself unique garments.  But alas, I have not had time for much sewing in recent years, and my outfits have become more mundane and prosaic (though I still have gorgeous jewelry and scarves to dress them up).  I once read an exercise that asked us to consider what our muse wants of us, and my immediate response was that my muse wants me to be better dressed!  This exercise reminded me that our outfits reflects more than just practical coverings – they are imbued with emotional and symbolic significance.