Masks everywhere. The pretty ones the young women are wearing, to match their outfits. The simple black ones for common daywear. The one-time use medicinal ones the older people prefer. Of course the goofy ones, the fun ones that anyone can be seen in. All these masks have me pondering : Does what we wear affect who we are? I think yes, and reminisce about examples from my own life.
Since I was 6 years old and insisted on picking out my own outfits for school, I’ve known that what I was wearing affected my persona of the day. For the record, I loved school, so preferred to wear special things, like my red corduroy flair skirt with the wide elastic waistband, as often as I could. My poor mother would exclaim, “Oh, Mickey, really? That skirt again? With your green leotards? And it’s hot out today, won’t that skirt be too much?” (For you younguns’, leotards were the little-girl-1960s version of leggings. A great improvement on stockings, which required a garter belt to hold up!) My mother knew the more she disapproved, the stronger my insistence, so off in my super-powered skirt I’d go.
Yes, super-powered. That’s the magic of arraigning ourselves with intent.
Another example : I had a difficult interview of entreaty scheduled with a college professor. For what exactly I was entreating escapes my memory – but not what I wore! My high dark brown brass-buckled cavalry boots, all the vogue in the early 1980s. I was usually a runners girl in college, canvas Nikes just breaking into trendiness. But this mission dictated the sharp clickety-clomp of those boots down that institutional hallway to the professor’s office. Courage and purpose, that’s what those boots meant to me.
Fashion changes, but not favourite articles of clothing. I had a houndstooth hat bought at a true Milliner’s shop – a hat shop – that was never in style and never was even warm enough for a Canadian winter, it didn’t even cover my ears. But I loved how it looked, how it fit. I always got comments when wearing it. Is that why I liked it? For the attention? And where is it today? Alas, given up along the way of life, but never forgotten.
Speaking of favourites, I do keep many old favourite t-shirts. The ones I bought at my sons’ colleges. My concert t-shirts. Ones that I always felt looked great on me. The ones that are too small now, the ones that are stretched out of shape, the ones I can’t bear to reduce to rag duty.
And don’t get me started on my jeans collection: a pair for each decade and waist size, at least!
So what mask do I wear in this year of 2020, the (first) year of the mask? As you might expect, I have many. Some to match outfits. Some are the most comfortable. And some make me feel great, or powerful, or happy, or cool. And although I look forward to a time when masks won’t be necessary again, while they are, let’s enjoy them.
For more stories, check out my memoirs : “Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story” and “First We Eat. Food, Life, and More Stories”