Friday, March 9, 2012

How Do We Self Identify?

I thought of this for 24 hours while I was obsessively thinking about a shirt I saw yesterday and did not buy. It is not a tailored garment that fits within an inch of its (and my) life. Beloved Beckie's grandmother Shirley said that people miss most at the end of life what they held in high esteem about themselves throughout their existence. If you loved power, you miss it. Value your beauty, and losing it will drive you melancholic. Fame, control, lover worship - whatever illusions blew your skirt up, you will mourn that loss in elder years. How do I self identify? My sister said that if you are unaware of something you don't like about yourself, you point it out in another person. Spot it, got it. A therapist asked me to define myself, and before I took a breath, she said "and don't start with I'm not." I drove back to the store to buy the shirt today. I thought about what I was doing the entire way, pausing occasionally to remind myself to enjoy the snow, the wind, the trees, the late winter sky. How do I self identify? Is my labeling external? Is it what I wear? I loved labels. Labels at a bargain, naturally. What does a label mean? To me it meant exquisite tailoring, fine fabric, and fit & finish in a timeless elegant profile. I know quality. I know tailoring. But I no longer prefer tailored. The shirt I bought today is free form, loose, rumpled, not tailored, bohemian, and comfortable. I don't know the label. And I think it suits me just fine with the self I identify now.

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