Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Not to Wear



I've worn - and later on discarded - a lot of ill fitting costumes in my time. I'm talking about persona costumes, like the High Priestess outfit I wore through most of the 1990's. Both literally and metaphorically I was so uncomfortable in that outfit. Am I psychic? Yes. Am I a mystic? Yes. But standing in the center of a circle of celebrants, leading ritual? It never fit. That costume gave me spiritual wedgies every time I tried wearing it.

Gone, too, is the I'm Cool costume. I tried, most of my adult life, to wear that one, never successfully. I have never loved staying up past eleven o'clock and would rather sit on my couch reading books about the brain than hang out at the hippest bar in town. For heaven's sake, I am so NOT cool. Into the trash bin with that one.

I've recently discarded a mental outfit I thought of as Loyalty. When I had a good hard look at it, though, it turned out to be Co-dependence, Wearing the Mask of Loyalty. Don't want that one any longer!

About the only costume I'm willing to keep is the Mama-Gaia-Reya outfit I wear when I'm working. As a healer, I have to be a mountain for my clients. I need to sit, and listen, and be there for them. As soon as I leave work I remove that outfit immediately. I have boundaries around it, but it serves a purpose. It's worth keeping.

I've been thinking about costumes because the trees, who have all been standing around naked since Thanksgiving, are just starting to put on their poufy little pink and white spring costumes. I can't wait to see them all decked out and gorgeous. Can't wait!

32 comments:

Steve said...

Hmmmm...this makes me wonder about my own costumes. What an interesting way of looking at things...

janis said...

I love this posting! Really made me think! You are so clever.
The Dogwood Tree blossoms made me smile too... ahh Spring, can't hardly wait.

The Family Julz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Family Julz said...

My worst costume was the Young Republican attire I donned my freshman year of high school. One weekend of boozing and smokin' dope with the heads and I saw the light.

I tried the Cool Costume in my mid-twenties. I think it worked for a short stint but then saw the downside of "popularity" quickly when I found myself with no time FOR myself. Plus it almost ruined my marriage.

I now want to be in the same play as you, wearing a student's costume. It currently feels best being slightly submissive and eternally inquisitive.

The Family Julz said...

Dogwoods are such a blessing!

Angela said...

You make me think, too. Funny how I never wanted a cool costume, or any costume really. Felt comfortable in my own skin, most of the time. But maybe I missed something. Come to think of it, in my young days, I desperatley wanted to wear leather skirts and be a boy. But that was because they were allowed more.

Tessa said...

Fascinating...I'd never really thought about the 'costumes' we wear in our alta ego states of mind.

My very worst was when I first visited England as a young bride and attempted to carry off the twinset and pearls costume in a vain attempt to 'fit in' and impress new relations. An unmitigated disaster.

Now, and always, I am Mama Africa. It's the only one that suits me and absolutely the only one I am comfortable wearing.

Reya Mellicker said...

Angela I believe you never have worn persona costumes. Wow. I've worn outfits all my life.

The dogwood blooms are somewhat off in the future. The pic in today's post is of a tulip magnolia in Lincoln Park. They always bloom first.

Julz you are so so SO cool. C'mon! Fits you like a glove.

willow said...

I've got a lot of discarded costumes in my little life's closet, too. Some fit, some didn't.

Amazing that your magnolias are already blooming out there!

Reya Mellicker said...

Spring starts early in DC and then goes on and on and on. Incredible! I love it.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Reya, you always have an interesting outlook on ... well, on everything. The blossoms on the trees make it look like little ballerinas in their tutus ... all poofy, soft, and pink & white. I wonder what my costumes are? I'll have to think about that one.
Lizzy :)

mary said...

The Spiritual Wedgie made me laugh out loud - the loyalty costumes makes me wonder how many times I have been an enabler in the name of loyalty ......and the Mama-Gaia Reya costume makes me want to fly across the country to you and surrender.

Lori ann said...

I think that the best thing about getting older is not having to wear a costume, or at least not for anyone except for yourself.
i am glad you don't have a wedgie anymore!

Fire Byrd said...

Fantastic photos, make the world feel more hopeful.

I'm unbelievably glad that I don't wear 'I want to fit in' costume any more. Take me or leave me, anothers choice not mine.
I'll just stay in 'I'm doing my best now leave me alone cape!!!'
x

Amy said...

I've been behind on reading the blogs I love and was so happy to see this one in the pipe this morning. It's such a fantastic analogy, Reya!

Makes me also think that we have the freedom to choose to wear or not wear a certain costume if we are not comfortable in it. We're not stuck in the one we've squeezed ourselves into or the one we feel society will accept.

Beautiful and brilliant you are!

deborah said...

Perfect
in thought
in word
in photo

love and more love

Bee said...

The trees only have two costumes: naked, and what they are meant to wear. I wish that it was as easy for us!

John Hayes said...

I sure have done that-- lots of various cool costumes at various times-- thankfully not so much nowadays-- I think being over 50 tends to make you realize at least a bit of their absurdity. I love the term "spiritual wedgies."

Reya Mellicker said...

Bee - the trees here in DC have many different outfits - naked, early spring bloom, tiny light green leaves, big heavy June leaves, late summer droopy dry and dusty leaves, and autumn colors, too.

They "dress" at different moments and sometimes dress inappropriately. For instance, some trees don't draw their chlorophyll back into themselves, so their leaves don't change when they're supposed to, and blow off when they've dried up.

Sometimes I wonder if we humans (certainly including me) don't over psychologize our behavior. It's interesting to think about!

runmotman said...

tremendous visual of costumed trees...my favorite is the green costume, weird since i'm all about beige and plaids...boring.

Delwyn said...

Aren't the images of buds and blossoms opening the most invigorating pictures? I get a little buzz from looking at yours and imagining the scent of them, feeling the cool air on my cheeks as I lean into the blossoms...

Costumes-personnas-facades - we all live and operate through them at times. I am looking forward to being the crone, already I wear the same old daggy clothes every day, scrape my hair back into a pony tail, no makeup, bare feet, aaaaaahhhhh so comfortable....

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, I have a matching Mama-Gaia-Ronda costume. And yes, it requires cleaning of contaminants, freshening and being left at work. But it sure is comfortable to slip into every day. Soft, familiar, strong.

Ronda Laveen said...

I love the pic of you, your sister and your father. A young reflectivist in training.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love my Mama-Gaia-Reya outfit. When I wear it, I remember to stretch, breathe, drink water - all the things I tell my clients. It's a good thing.

YES it must be cleaned every time I put it on. Oh yeah.

Michelle Stiles said...

Reya, I love this! I have been forced to shed my own constume that I have been wearing for some time. I am in the process of dealing with what is underneth. I can't wait to see what is underthere and of course what will replace it.
I love the bottem picture, I too also am giddy with the idea of SPRING!

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Good to see the blossoms are coming out in DC.
This means here in NYC spring is right around the corner!
It's always a pleasure to come here.
Say hi to Jake.

karen said...

Beautiful, beautiful Spring blossoms.. interesting and thought provoking, as ever! I think that the various costumes in my life have been discarded at a rapid rate, in direct proportion to the increase in my age. It's a great feeling to see them go..

There's an award for you over at my blog, today.. :)

Evening Light Writer said...

Reya, I recently encountered someone that knew me from work at a social event. Immediately I changed in to professional Mindy. I even held myself differently. My sister was there to view this transformation.I don't know but I felt like such a phony. Perhaps I wasn't being as sincere as I always try to be but it was an automatic switch. Your post came right around the time that happened and I've been thinking about it since. I'm glad I'm not the only one who wears costumes.

I finally threw my needy juliet costume away. I'm still a romantic but in an adult sort of way..no more star-crossed 13 year olds costumes for me!

Great post, I hope you're feeling better.

blonderthanyou said...

ohhh..i like this post!!!...in my personal experience i have often come across codependency hiding in plain sight "costumed" as you say... as loyalty, commitment, faith..
what a good way of stating it!
xoxo

Pouty Lips said...

I too think of winter trees as being naked. The young teens of today create polyvores, it's a website apparently, where they have their persona outfits pre-chosen and they post about them. Isn't that interesting? I don't know much about but it caught my attention at the time I heard of them.

Bee said...

You are right! I really oversimplified it.

Lani Vento said...

Spiritual wedgies! That's really good. I like this post, food for thought and great pictures, too. Thank you! I'm going to go make a cup of tea and analyze my costumes ad nauseum. Thanks for giving me something to do today.