Authenticity. For some reason, this word made me think of clothing. Maybe it's because I'm from Washington state, and I find myself breathe a little deeper when I land back in the Seattle airport and see all of my frumpy-looking kin. Clothes are a big deal, here in Los Angeles. And while I at first poo-pooed this, it's actually caused me to reflect on the value that clothing choices can have.
Clothing can be used as a mask, something we hide behind. It can be used as a dream, something we use to believe in ourselves a little more (“Dress for the job you want!”). It can be used to communicate something to others or ourselves.
I think this is especially clear in adolescence. In adolescence, we sometimes use clothing to “try on” different parts of ourselves in different seasons. Perhaps this year, I'm going to try on my ability to take social causes seriously. Or perhaps, I'm going to try on the dark feelings I have – reveal my ability to feel the sorrow and heaviness of being on this earth. Or maybe clothing isn't much of a conscious decision for me at all this year, and that's a way I can try on a part of me as well.
I asked Ron Ben, Art Director, about this, and he comments, “I have always believed that clothes reflect your emotions or where you're at in life. Some people don't care what they wear, some people care greatly, but if you take a look at both you can see where they are in their life.”
So, thanks, LA. You've taught me that clothes go a little more than skin deep.
Allison (Allie) Ramsey is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF #94391, working under the professional supervision of Michelle Harwell, MFT 50732. Allie works with individuals on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, depression, relational challenges, faith integration, divorce, and aging.