Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Technicolor Dream Coat

I’m not big into things.  Possessions.  Material falderal and knick-knacky trappings.  I like moments.  Memories.  Personal connections.  Those brief intimate interactions between people that are instantly and indelibly captured, imprinted and immediately embossed onto the long-term memory part of the brain.  The Hall of Fame chamber of the brain, I imagine.  I like to think back on those belly laughs, liquids dripping from the nasal passage, wet your pants laughable moments.  Or the crying, flailing, still love me anyway interactions.  The late nights, deep conversations, quiet stillness of shared experience with someone who has made a difference and stayed on, and sometimes not.  That’s what I collect and carry and preserve.  But I do have a few things that have meant a great deal.  They have some symbolic meaning and they generally fit within the typical developmental need for acquisitions to help you through the bad times schema.

Two things in particular have brought me pleasure, calm, and perhaps closure during my divorces.

In 1991, all of 28, while in the process of a divorce, I was far away from home, more in heart than distance.  I had two young children.  Babies.  I was away from them for the first time. Ever. And I knew I would be away from them again.  On a regularly scheduled weekend visitation routine.  I would be sad, and empty and longing each weekend in one way or another for a long time after.  I knew this.  I also knew I had to take care of myself. 

This taking care of myself has been a difficult concept.  It’s been nearly impossible to take care of myself and have children.  Or at least have enough time, energy, financial security, and trust to seriously give myself more than a shower, a fleeting moment, or dinner with friends without thinking of, worrying over, being interrupted by, or needing to attend to my children.  And, that has not ever been a problem for me.  It has been my life.  It has occasionally been inconvenient for brief moments.  It has overwhelmingly been my biggest joy. My greatest accomplishment, my hardest job, and my proudest feat.  With and without a spouse or two…But still, it is important to take care of oneself....

So, back to 1991.  I went to visit my college friend.  The one that has shared quite a few of those body fluid leakage moments.   Laughs, cries, Tab from the nostril, walking home from after-hour clubs wetting my pants with laughter.  Friend.  We talked late into the night about my marriage, my children, my new start.  We cooked. We cried. We laughed.  She gave me time to be me, again.  I went to a few galleries.  I met up with other friends.  I went shopping. Emboldened and ready. I went to Fiorucci.  Fiorucci. New York City. 1991.

I was all of 28, which made it OK to go to Fiorucci shopping.  But I imagine I was more than likely trying to reclaim a little burst of premarital, premotherhood youth in that loud crazy way that one does when they go through a divorce or other such big loss.  We need to do something outlandish, don't we? Symbolic.  So I bought the coat.  THE coat.  The red, shiny, satin, Asian inspired coat with the black fur detachable trim, Detachable for the times I wanted to downplay it or upscale it?  Anyway, I loved that coat.  I felt like a hot siren and a devil may care hellcat.  I might have looked a bit vampy and a Times Square minute away from trashy.  (Remember, It was 1991, Times Square was not cleaned up yet, not completely anyway….)  If I still had that coat, I would wear it, at least inside.  Maybe with my bedroom door closed, just to feel free and spirited and ready for what ever comes next. 

This past year during and following my second divorce and  twenty years of marriage, I have been looking.  For too much really.  For escape.  For sense.  For answers and for clear endings.  I haven’t found much, so I’ve stopped looking.  Just about.  There are occasional lingering thoughts that generally lead me to the wisdom that I made the right choice.  Without question.  Without regret.  I can’t explain or begin to understand a great deal.  I can only care for my son and myself.  I have time for that now, and more trust in myself, and a few more belly laughs to look forward to

So, what does one do to mark this awful but necessary event?  Well, if you’re me, you look for a coat.  The kind that wraps you up and presents you to the world.  Ready to be seen again, fully.  I didn’t go to Fiorucci this time.   I went to Desigual.  I seem to like the Mediterranean inspired, European coat makers.  Italy.  Spain.   Maybe it’s the inspiration of the romance language, the food, the wines, the belief that women should be dressed up in flair and frolic and look-at-me adornment.   I might like coats because they protect and offer warmth, and I am in need of that as well.   It might be the fact that my first memory of being a strong, feminist-embodied being, occurred when, at 4, I stated with command and confidence, “I can put my own coat on!”  as a male family friend attempted to help me put my coat on.  It was the laughter and comments that followed that made this memorable.    “Phil, you’ve got yourself a live wire.  A little feminist on your hands”  Mr. McCabe laughed.  My father rolled his eyes, smiling knowingly, but allowed me the stance and command.   Respect and acquiescence, a gift.  Maybe that's what I am in search of, and have not yet found, a man strong enough to acquiesce and respect me.
I can put on my own sexy, vampy, warm, twirly, spirited technicolor dreamcoat.  Of course, I can take it off just fine too...  I just can’t wait to find out who is big and strong and bold enough to help me take it off and share a few belly laughs with, late nights, deep conversations, quiet stillness, and perhaps a wild coatless romp or two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say hello