The proverbial closet. Oh, how true to be locked inside. But sadly…i’m not. I have no doors on my closet and the contents are usually spilling out into my dining room/kitchen nook/back porch. Megan’s foray into my world of clothes was daunting not only for sheer abundance, but for the numerous lives she took on for nine hours. Lives I left long ago, 2, 5, 10 years ago, I just can’t let go of them.
Megan…but what Megan? Megan Hildebrant or Hildy (as I prefer) moves in and tries my life on for size. I still don’t know how she did it. I swear one trip to a department store dressing room shaves at least a year off my life. But she has dressed herself into compositions of my life. The result is a living catalogue of me and my consumption. Vintage inspired portraits pixel their way across my walls like a series of old JC Penny ads. At moments I have to stop myself because I think it’s actually me in the photograph. My own clothes remind me of ME and the only thing I can feel is utter humiliation. How much is too much and where does my past stop and my present begin? Do I mask behind my clothes or are they just an extension of my projectory persona?
It was 1994, Kurt Cobain had just killed himself and it felt like every 12 year old I met was personally and profoundly effected/affected by his death – every one but me. I liked Nirvana, but I was also still listening to Reba McIntyre. Little did I know I was about to be bitch slapped by the grunge movement with flannel. I went from a small conservative Virginia town to Louisville, Ky where my first friend discussed her clinical depression and kids were practically having sex on the bus. The move proved to be a pivotal shift and I knew this was going to be my badass phase. I immediately demanded a trip to the thrift store for flannel, tore a hole in my jeans, and traded in my chucks for One-Stars. I had my first puff of a cigarette, my first shot of whiskey, my first kiss (all secrets from my parents until now…sorry!). I was Angela from My So Called Life, only I didn’t have the friends from my past haunting me with who I really was nor did I have Jordan Catalano, but if the metaphor fits… I quote her unending wisdom: “People always say how you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing like a toaster or something…” And, I couldn’t agree more. We all have to try on many hats and I think the bolder our choices the better.
I eventually came to the conclusion I was being a gigantic asshole and wasn’t as fit for the badass role as I originally thought. So I dropped it on the way to dance class. I’ll never forget it. I was wearing turquoise spandex and realized I liked them too much to keep pretending to be dark and brooding.
You can blame the identity crisis on being 13, but I’m not sure it’s something we ever get over. I know I still do it. If you think of life like an octagon, every so many years you are going to need to rotate – shift sides to see what’s next. With each rotation comes change and renewal, but your still on that damn octagon. The clothes you wear bear all the language you need. I like knowing if I’m feeling funky i can slap on a pair of tights and a fun dress and be the person I have written. The piles of frayed jeans with perfect weathered holes tell of nights in the studio. Those brown, ill-fitting “slacks” are reminders of my first real job, a time in my life when I felt everything had to be by the book.
Oh, and that purple sequined trapeze blouse hanging in my closet? A fun trip to the thrift store with good friends on a crisp fall day, but also the butt of one of the funniest one liners I may have ever said in my entire life and for that alone, I will never EVER get rid of it.