Hello lovelies! And welcome to blog #90….. we’re racking up these blog postings – I can feel lucky #100 coming up, can’t you? Just over 3 weeks of my year without clothes shopping to go. Bring it on!
The TV show Modern Family has skyrocketed into success after only one season. The three interwoven storylines balance funny, irony and poignancy with such precision, you wonder what strain of genius the writers have caught (and where you need to go to get infected with it).
I was watching an episode recently where our favourite gay family Mitchell, Cameron and their adopted baby Lily are getting ready to attend a toddlers morning with other families. Before they leave the house, Cam is dressed in his usual style of jeans, t-shirt and a patterned long-sleeve button up shirt (a look I love, and one which suits the well-padded Cam beautifully — see photo left). On this day, he’s wearing a pink t-shirt and a pink and white paisley long-sleeve shirt. Mitchell is concerned about the flambuoyance of this outfit (“really? A pink shirt and the pink paisley?”), and asks Cam to change. He reluctantly does – into chinos and a green polo shirt. He goes from wow to blah in 3 easy moves.
So – off they go. As they enter the center, Mitchell comments that he’d like for them to be “a toned down version” of their usual familiy – a dig at Cameron’s tendency to “draw focus” from the others in the room.
The morning’s activities include playing with blocks, finger painting and — an opportunity for each parent to dance with their baby. Each parent is called on, and they get up with their baby in their arms and dance in the centre of the circle. When Cameron is called, he gets up and dances in a very restrained fashion — no “making his horsey go” by slapping his butt or contorting his body into a choreography that could only be described as ‘experimental’. As he and Lily rejoin the circle, you can see that a little piece of Cam has ….well if not died exactly, then been given a very strong tranquilizer. He’s been bridled. Reduced in some way by his compliance with his partner’s need for them to blend in.
Everyone but Mitchell seems to be onto this. Instead of embracing their conspicuous uniqueness, he tries to deflate it.
Instead of celebrating the peacock-ness of his partner, he throws greige paint over him. Fortunately, it’s water-based.
As they are about to leave — early — another gay couple arrive, with an African-American baby. One of them proclaims, loudly “well, we’re late because Mr Fashion Plate took soooo long to get ready!!”. There is much cooing over the new arrivals, clearly friends of the group. Cam gives Mitchell a sad but knowing look — “see – I could have been me! It’s ok here!!”
They literally have one foot out the door, Cameron mildly triumphant and his flamboyance exonerated and Mitchell recalicitrant when the last item on the agenda is announced – the “dance for your baby” piece. Mitchell asks (somewhat rhetorically) “you want to do it, don’t you?” and Cam responds “YEAH – I want to dance for my baby!!!”. All the other parents are dancing, and Cam throws his considerable body weight into the mix – “making his horseygo” by slapping his butt repeatedly and generally being unmissable as he throws himself into the dance. It’s the kind of dancing where someone could get hurt – an eyeball dislocated, a rib bruised, a toe squashed – by the sheer velocity of his movements. Cam is resplendant in this state of abandoned joy. He’s back to being him – to being in vivid colour, animated, expressive. Pink and paisley on the inside, if not on the outside.
Whoever you are is not an accident. And unless you are a closet Jeffrey Dahmer then limiting who you are is not doing yourself or the world any favours.
These are qualities we want in a good seat belt, not in our friends. Anyone who truly loves you is going to support the full and generous expression of the true you. The best you.
Clothes make up part of that picture. Clothes matter – they say something about and for us, whether we wish they did or wish they didn’t. And who we are can be expressed and informed by what we choose to wear, including the many me’s that most of us live.
This doesn’t have to cost a penny, let alone a fortune. And it’s one of the things we explore in the 12 month Shop Your Wardrobe program (it’s the focus of Month 3).
So – go on. Be you. Make that horsey go. Right?