I’ll never forget that day. You came over to my house earlier than expected. I wore only a towel, no makeup, wet hair. I flipped out a little. We hadn’t been dating long. Relax, you told me, take your time.I kept getting ready in the bathroom and left you in my bedroom. I came back in holding a toothbrush in its packaging that I’d picked up earlier at the store. Your eyes got wide. A small gesture that said, “I want you. Stay”. You looked like you’d just received a Big Wheel for your 4th birthday – the one you only told your puppy about – no one else. Wide eyes and an open expression. I looked down and saw your hands holding my chonies. You’d been quietly folding my still warm laundry for me – and I wanted to cry. Now who got her Big Wheel. Except this time no one knew that was the gift I wanted – even me.I’d prayed for someone matching your exact description shortly before you’d arrived, so it never really occurred to me that it wouldn’t work out. The illustration of you fit so perfectly, down to “drinks red wine while dancing with me to Mo-town music”. 3rd date. Your house and your suggestion. Otis Redding. The lesser-known tracks.You daydreamed out loud to me our wedding plans, one month in. Maybe we could have a taco truck at our wedding, Kat, since we met at Taco Tuesday. Touching. Sweet. Brown eyes and piel canela at the kitchen table over Peet’s coffee while you cooked our breakfast.We were on and off – never solid for long. You met all my family. I met the occasional uncle. A brother.The last time you came over we had a conversation about chonies. You weren’t wearing any boxers and you worried it was obvious, even covered in jeans. I wasn’t either, I mentioned.Things I knew: You were moving. I would miss you.Things I didn’t: You had a girlfriend. In 5 days you’d ask her to marry you.This was goodbye. There were no besos just one very long abrazo that I can torture myself with if I want to. I don’t.Months later, my horizon is finally wide again. Blinders. Off. Driving in open space.I still think of you, occasionally. I guess I’ll always wonder.But I don’t think of you. When I think of chonies. Anymore.
Have you ever heard that the universe/God/Allah brings you what you spend most of your energy on? It’s definitely a tenet of the law of attraction. The universe delivers what you most focus on and feel most passionately about. At 22, for me, that was freedom and independence….and so I got them. At 26, it was a career and life purpose. Well, I’m 30 now, and I’m in my nesting phase. Simply working on setting up my space is a project that motivates me. It can take hours of my time, and its still my favorite part of unwinding. When expectant mothers “feather their nest” they ready themselves for the baby’s arrival. Now, I’m not currently expecting, but in a way, I see myself readying my nest as well. My new meditation corner is a beautiful part of my morning routine and it is helping to solidify the fact that while variety is certainly nice, and has always been my fallback position, what I seek currently is continuity.
If your friend told you they were thinking of marketing a line of sleeves–sleeves and only sleeves–you would laugh in that person’s face, right? No one would cover just their arms and leave their midsection bare, you would tell your poor, misguided pal.
So then why do we accept the sweater vest?!
What is its purpose? No one in the history of cold has ever said to themselves, “My chest is freezing, but my arms feel fine!” Just to look at it, the sweater vest is the torso’s version of the backwards cap. It’s as useful as a finger-less glove or a sole-less shoe.
The thing is this: we don’t accept the sweater vest. We fear the sweater vest.
Don one, and watch yourself transform in the eyes of the people around you. You become powerful, respected, under that sleeveless sweater. And to others, the secret of that power is impenetrable, like the knitted chain mail of an argyle knight.
To your friends, your colleagues, or even strangers on the street, you certainly don’t seem any warmer to them–but you do seem wiser. And, obviously, you must be, right? After all, they have no idea why the sweater vest even exists, while you seem to have unlocked its mystery, and now wear it proudly.
The sweater vest is invaluable to anyone who is expected to have all the answers, or to lead others, when in truth maybe they don’t know much at all and can’t lead anything. The sweater vest is good for a few extra IQ points. If you’re locked in a seemingly irresolvable argument, you had better believe the person across the table will take one look at your sweater vest, think for a moment, and decide, “I had better give up. They obviously know more than I do.” In case of any sort of emergency, you shouldn’t feel foolish calling out, “Is there a sweater vest in the house?!”
Why the sweater vest? we ask. Why do soldiers march when walking seems safer and more comfortable? Why do doctors scribble when obviously they are educated and must have had to communicate on paper at some point in order to earn their medical licenses? Why do Starbucks drink sizes come in strange languages?
We don’t know. And it’s the fact that we don’t know that intimidates the heck out of us–because they must know.
It’s October in Bakersfield. Even though I’m eating sweet potato fries at an outdoor café, wearing a swim suit underneath my tank and skirt, I’m thinking about cooler fall weather. And I’m pondering Halloween. Like most things in life, I take great pleasure in the planning that goes into something, whether it be travel, an event, a party, a new job, a new life:) And around this time of year, I enjoy the act of creating Halloween costume concepts, sometimes more than actually wearing my creations and attending festivities. If I do it right, my Halloween costume demonstrates not simply a mere identity on October 31st, but rather a part of a story, one that requires fellow party-goers to inquire as to my inspiration.
Please enjoy the following from our inaugural guest contributor, Jeannie Hart. Guest authors will be a monthly feature on Feng Shui of Garments.
Heels, flats, pumps, peep toe, sandals, casual, business, does it really matter?
For me, shoes make an outfit. There is a whole philosophy in shoes. Everything from what kind to how many you have can say so much about your personality.
A friend asked, “I have two pairs of shoes. What does that say about me?”
“That you are dependable.”
You see, it’s not always the type of shoes people wear; it’s also how they use them, and sometimes how they buy them. My friend currently owns two pairs of shoes, but when she has a job interview, she will buy a new pair. To me, that act is allowing the possibility of something new into your life. Instantly placing a frame of reference in your head saying it’s time for a change. The physical act of placing on a new pair of shoes before a job interview can alter your mindset.
I have a shoe closet. Shoes assembled in rows, categorized by heel height, color, and type. One could say it’s my thing. Every shoe in that closet I bought for a specific reason. Sure, just like any attraction, it started with an, “Ooh, you’re cute.” But once the newness waned, the true reasons for those shoes start to shine forth. I remember my first pair of Calvin Klein heeled riding boots. They were beautiful—soft leather that stretched and formed perfectly around my calf and a gentle touch of silver in a buckle which offset the dark brown of the boot. When I wore them, I walked taller. My dresses would twirl better when I pivoted. They made my inner confidence glow. I had more than my fair share of ‘come hither’ moments in those boots.
Some days—most ladies can attest to this—we can feel like crap. We feel ugly. If we are single, we feel like we are going to end up with forty cats. If we are married, we can feel like our husband doesn’t think we’re sexy enough. On those days a good pair of shoes can define what you are feeling. You can give in and wear flip flops or a pair of UGGs that make you feel comfortable and at home. There is nothing wrong with finding comfort within your skin. Or you can let your shoes lead the way to a new perspective. The simple act of choosing what pair of shoes you will wear can open your viewpoint to how brilliant your day can be. The physical act of slipping on your go-to heels or your dependable flats seals that idea subconsciously. Before you know it, the worst day has turned into a day where you got free coffee from the cute barista who wrote his number with a smiley face on the cup.
What about you? Do you have a pair of shoes that when you wear them you feel fabulous? What does your shoe collection say about you?
Jeannie Hart is a writer and artist in Central California. She enjoys exploring the depths of interpersonal relationships while infusing the nuances of social commentary into her work. As a lifestyle journalist, she hones her dialog wit with help from the greatest characters, artists. Jeannie develops writing workshops and lectures in conjunction with the county library system and is an advocate for the literary arts.