“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
Okay, I give in. I’m female. In all the worst ways.
Apart from the shoe thing… those you can keep.
I dislike shopping in general and avoid it like the plague unless I have money in my pocket that I can actually afford to spend and something I really want to buy. Which doesn’t happen often as a rule, on either count. Except books, of course… but they are necessities not fripperies.
I, who didn’t own any trousers, not even jeans, not for donkeys years, now live in leggings and jumpers. They suit my lifestyle, they are easy and comfortable and go well with the flat pumps that are practical for life with the small dog, crawling around on the floor and the amount of walking I do. Yep, me who always wore stilettos, even for working and driving. Always.
And do you know, I’m fed up with it.
After years of corporate sartorial elegance I can appreciate comfort, but I have come to the conclusion that comfort could just as easily… and more beautifully… be found in long, flowing dresses and soft feminine lines. Not that I own much in the way of such things, you understand, outside of the ritual wardrobe. And that, of course, is the problem. I’ve had to go shopping. Well, ‘go’ is probably not the right word. Online mainly. Assembling costumes for the weekend workshop. Which inevitably means looking at dresses.
These things always start with an idea and mutate depending on availability, looking through the charity shops and eBay sales. Which means that beyond the mass produced market-stall stuff, there are wonderful gowns and robes to be looked at, imagined, discarded or sighed over. Most of them I would never have occasion or opportunity to wear anyway, like the one proper evening gown that is sequestered in the depths of the wardrobe and has never been out. It survived the cull, being a gift from a friend when she moved abroad. Once in a blue moon I try it on in front of the mirror, just as a reminder. With the opera gloves. A girl can dream.
Yet why, after all… and ignoring the economic impossibility of revamping the wardrobe anyway… should I not float around eccentrically in Arabic robes or marvellous medieval gowns? I suppose it is a perception thing. I work with the Silent Eye, an esoteric school… but the robes I crave tend to be associated in the popular mind with particular beliefs and paths, none of which are mine. Or, perhaps all of which are mine in essence, for the essence of them all is in the Divine. Even the search terms online classify such robes by their respective spiritual labels.
And I am not happy with labels. They cause problems. From the designer labels on training shoes that cause so much heartache and rivalry amongst schoolchildren, to the cellphone latests, to the cultural, religious and spiritual labels that cause friction and misunderstanding across society, labels are divisive.
I do not live in the isolated cottage or gothic mansion that would let the local children see me as the witch of Waddesdon with her familiar spirit in the form of a black dog… no. And let’s face it, Ani is way too happy and friendly for that role. I live in a village where such things would stand out like a sore thumb; in a regimented street of similar houses, in an area of England where failing to visibly conform is ‘not done’. So while I, personally, would happily wander around being looked at askance by the fashionably clad, and not give the proverbial bugger about being seen as eccentric, I may, for the sake of the labelling of the School, which seeks to bring the spiritual into its proper place in everday life, have to curb my enthusiasm for drapery for a while yet before I can sally forth like a ship in full sail with my skirts billowing in the wind.