written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In the company of Me.

I haven't really bought "nice" clothes in years. I recall one time in college, needing some "nice" pants to wear to some thing I can't remember now. So I went to the mall, a place since 9th grade I haven't been able to take seriously as a place for actual shopping. Its contents too unsurprising and knowable before every flicking through the hangers. Each store, within itself, gives the shopper a promised continuity among its select identity. I’ll troll out the adjectives: Sophisticated. Funky. Rebelious. Feminine. Outdoorsy. Sexy. Trashy, even. And it’s a matter of which identity I decide to own for myself, that becomes a decision I’m too self-aware to make comfortably. And its not that I am or was repulsed by the MALL as an idea, I mean not anymore. I just don’t really go there, is all.
But choosing amongst the identities seemed so permanent, at least at the price. I purchased some linen pants from Banana Republic, which for one reason another appeals to the “worldly intellectual” that, yes admittedly, very much dominates my interests. I looked good in them. And as if (finally) I was attired in something appropriate --you know, suiting my tastes in classical and world music (but not “world” music), and capital L Literary post-modern writers, and something supplementing my interdisciplinary education in this, a interdisciplinary global international world, where being post-colonial is necessary but finding the colonial (i.e. Banana Republic beige linen pants) HOT! is understood, and is even code for the books we read.

But I didn't keep them. Wearing them with the tags, tucked in, I sat through the interview or date or whatever it was and performed (with my props) the sophisticated and attractive roles directed by my real inner self. Then I returned them, like a rented costume to the novelty shop. Not so much a fraud. More of a rejecter-turned-abuser of “the system”: I had the money to buy them after all, I didn’t look out-of-place in the store, but wanting still more, that is, to get away with everything my white lady privilege allows me without actually being the real white lady that is assumed of me.

Thinking that I'm creative enough with what ever I have, I mix and match. It’s a sensibility I have always had since childhood. Cowgirl boots and hot pink cotton pantsuits, I wore those a lot, according to my childhood pictures. But I mix and match in all realms of my individual whatever lifestyle: in food, in music, in perspectives, in the arrangements of materials (gathered from free piles and alleys and thrift stores) to make my room, my room. What attracts my eye. And that's that, that's core.

Digging into steamier piles of my former selves. I have plucked my groceries out of dumpsters, rambled with political rousers, worked grubby jobs for little money, have been intrigued by strip clubs, petty thieving and tresspassing, disparaged neighborhoods, Third Worlds, blight, and so-called ugliness, in general, whatever mixing with the "proles", becoming one myself, in appearances, though not in credentials. And all of my explorations outside of my socio-economic comfort zones have been really savory and satisfying. I really mean it. As if giving me tougher meat and gristle to chew on for much longer of a span of life so far, than the veggie smoothies that I would have otherwise too quickly digested, and in the end left empty. Not that I haven't drunken my share of those, too. And in plenty of company.

It’s thoughts I think about often. Not about styles and identities, but the everyday originations of them. Most of the places I end up, I meet people of my generation and we seem to be getting our ideas from all of the same places, despite most of those places being the “alternative” to what is offered to us. But maybe it’s just where I end up that this is the case. Bicycle riding, cafĂ© sitting, local art and music supporting, independent store shopping, alley-picking communities like downtown Tucson and the other like minded, some what jaded ex-pat communities abroad. Suspicions are that the alternatives have becomes the visible and the desirable. In the end, I think there is something in-honorable about all that I have said, all these little things that I have admitted, are bordering on an uncovered insecurity worn like a costly pair of pants that now I want to take back. But I will do the good thing, and not. What's said is and has settled.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson