I’ve dressed a step above business casual for work every day this week, prompting comments from colleagues. I heard, “Dapper!” more than once, to which I replied, “Thank you.” People also asked me, “Why are you so dressed up?” I answered without hesitation, “Job interview,” and I laughed, letting them know there was no job interview.
The fact is, I dressed up primarily to feel a sense of control. Various aspects of my life are out of my control right now. Deliberately choosing what to wear gives me a sense of power over the chaos.
Frank commented one day, “I can’t figure out the look you’re going for.” He said it early in the morning, a time when neither of us are at our best. I interpreted his words as being critical whether they were meant to be or not. Upon reflection, I’m as confused about my choices as he was: cowboy boots, a suit, a bow tie, a fedora, an overcoat that’s over twenty-five years old, the beard, the hair in a ponytail, the bright blue glasses. Flair might cover it. Eclectic may come closer. Bat-shit crazy may hit the nail on the head.
Setting all that aside, the ability to choose is what motivated my selections. Even though the combination seems chaotic, my willingness to make the choice is an expression of calm, of peace, of freedom desired. Or maybe my dress, my hair, my beard are reflections of the chaos I’m feeling inside. To stifle this self-expression would make it harder to breathe, or make breathing feel less important.
You may see dapper, dressed up, flamboyancy, or crazy, on a face lit up with a smile. I feel adrift, helpless, and sad. Note I did not say hopeless; I am determined not to stay here for long.
Sing it, George:
Well it looks like the road to heaven
But it feels like the road to hell
When I knew which side my bread was buttered
I took the knife as well
Posing for another picture
Everybody’s got to sell
But when you shake your ass
They notice fast
And some mistakes were built to last
That’s what you get
I say that’s what you get
That’s what you get for changing your mind
And after all this time
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes
Do not make the man
— Freedom 90, George Michael