Although I love fall, at this time of year I find myself rebelling against having to wear long pants, socks that come up my ankle, and leather shoes. Ugh. Not to mention, coats, scarves, mittens–so many items. I want shorts or short skirts and t-shirts, athletic shoes with ankle socks, flip-flops. All of that other stuff binds, chafes, and restricts. No, thank you.
I was at the Eddie Bauer store in the mall the other day, returning a pair of jeans I’d bought online. Oh, they looked cool, fit nicely and all, but I could not bear to have them on for more than an hour, so they had to go back. Too scratchy! And that waist, snap, and zipper! Too binding! So I was chatting with the guy at the counter and he told me that someone he knew who had been working at home was having to go back to his workplace again and had said, “I really don’t want to start wearing hard pants again.” Hard pants! I love it!
When I left my draining job as a therapist to pursue a creative life, I took off my watch and never wore it again. It represented that job to me, along with the fact that someone else owned my time, and I never wanted to wear a watch again. We all have those things that represent something bigger than what they are, usually something negative. We all have our “hard pants.”
Later, I accepted a clerical job in a medical office. I was in the middle of getting my greeting card and art business off the ground but I needed more income. I’d hoped to work just 3 days a week, but that wasn’t part of the deal, so I’d had to talk myself into the amount of time they required. Okay. Then I found out that I’d have to wear scrubs to work. Okay . . . maybe? I went to the uniform shop and was shown my two choices–olive green or khaki. Day after day, olive green or khaki. Not my colors, at all. I would not be able to present myself as an individual. Not only could I not wear my own clothes, I could not even choose my colors. Hard pants! (Although I bet they were comfortable.) I cried in the uniform shop. And then I called to say I could not take the job. Deal breaker.
I once had a boss who said, “If you have to buy new clothes for a job, it’s probably not the right job for you.” I think she was right. So now it’s a season that requires a different set of clothes. I’m pondering. I’m strategizing. I’m plotting. Stay tuned. Just kidding. I won’t bore you with all of that. That’s probably not your “hard pants.”
“I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.”
― George Carlin
“everything you do shows your hand. everything is a self portrait. everything is a diary.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”