In an ironic exhibitionism, I am writing a blog on plain dress. Following a leaning felt since childhood, I find that in recent months, I can no longer ignore my desire to dress plain. It has become an obsession. I search the internet to find examples of plain dress and long for a simple cotton dress with an apron and bonnet. What is that about? A bonnet? I actually become uncomfortable when I can't cover my head now. What the hell? I wear kerchiefs most of the time which I bought in plain colors and kind of hope no one thinks I'm a religious conservative. I purged my wardrobe months ago leaving only the most plain items. Some red sweaters remained (red is my favorite color and a goddess color too) and I kept a short skirt and some jeans and comfy pants. I find that I never wear the pants and I now find the short skirt ridiculous.
Last week, I wore a long black skirt with floral print and a black top for a lunch meeting. They didn't show and I was left waiting around in a shopping district. I felt very uncomfortable because I didn't feel plain enough. I figured the skirt, an old favorite thrift store purchase, was fine for home but too busy to wear in public and the top, though black was not in a natural fabric. I kept thinking that no one could tell what I was. It was a very awkward, disturbing feeling to be there looking like "a normal" person. A "yucky" feeling if you will. I wished I had a button or sign that pointed out "This is not who I am!!"
So what am I? I identify spiritually and historically with Friends and Pagans...but not with Christian Quakers and not with Wiccan pagans. Neither my Quaker or pagan thoughts make sense without the other. Maybe they don't make sense together either. Whatever. I see the desire to dress plain as my desire to separate from the rest of the world which I find distressing to say the least. I cannot stand to be a part of it. I also want my dress to be a visual testimony of my beliefs. In a sense, I am sharing the millennialist sentiments of my Burned-Over District ancestors. Repent, the end is near. But I won't be climbing up on any haystack to wait for the descending savior. My concerns are environmentalist concerns: global warming, species extinction, melting icebergs, pollution. I don't believe we have any time left to waste. The end IS near unless we become very seriously committed to protecting our future. Unfortunately, I believe it is already too late. We're screwed already but I'm still holding out hope that we can mitigate the degree of our children's suffering.
Part of my plainness comes from my strong belief that we must pay heed to Gandhi's advice, "Live simply so that others may simply live." But must I wear a kerchief and drab colors? What's up with that? All I know is that it is a relief to wear such things, a relief to own very little. If only I could avoid looking like a conservative Christian.....