So, basically, these are my clothes.
The ones on the shelf
and the ones hanging on the door
and they are enough for everything I need.
I love my clothes. They are comfy and plain, unobtrusive and modest, soft and quiet. They aren’t scratchy and they don’t rustle. They aren’t tight or restricting. I can bend and stretch and walk and work in them. The colours (dark, muted) suit me. The shapes suit my body. They wash and wear. They are made of natural fibres. They are stretchy and accommodating. They layer to follow the seasons.
Yes. I do.
But I have noticed – only gradually because I am slow to catch on – a 3-Part Phenomenon.
When something is required of me, a thing happens.
By ‘something’, I mean
- a party
- a speaking engagement
- a preaching appointment
- a funeral to conduct
- a seminar to lead at a conference
- a quiet day to conduct
~ suddenly my clothes seem not enough (that’s Part 1). In response (Part 2), I start buying new clothes.
My clothes look very ordinary – boring, even – but I assure you, finding just the right things is not easy. Successful additions are not readily acquired. So then we come to Part 3 – after the event I develop an aversion to the new acquisitions – can’t bear them – don’t even want to look at them – refuse to put them by in case they come in handy in the future – and get rid of them. Because my clothes – my regular clothes – are the ones I want. I have enough.
And I realize, this is like one of those dreams – you know? Where you are out in the street or somewhere in the public eye, and you find you have no clothes on. You are naked. Caught out.
Everyone knows in these dreams the problem is psychological, not sartorial. The issue is about a feeling of inadequacy, not about the contents of your wardrobe.
And I see, this is what happens to me when something is required of me. My Top Mind (Mrs Collins) knows I can do it, and is keen to pursue the project, especially if it earns money. But my Underneath Mind (Ember, glowing under the ashes) is terrified, feeling unsupported and out of her depth. So Ember decides to get some dressing-up clothes that will hopefully allow her to pass off as Mrs Collins, and it all goes fine until afterwards – because she really only wants to be herself, not Mrs Collins at all.
I think for the future I’m going to turn down opportunities where I cannot be comfortable in my own skin. Because frankly they have earned me a pittance and cost me a fortune.
I am Ember, and I have enough.