I wear a uniform everyday to work. It isn’t horrible but, I hate it. I hate that it has no color and that the part I have no choice in is a man’s sweater vest. I grew up wearing dresses only for church and school. The rest of the time I wore my big brother’s hand-me-downs which eventually were handed down to my little-brother. I was not a tom-boy. I hated wearing boy’s clothes, and the haircut my mother gave me when I was six (short like a boy’s).
It’s not that I don’t get it. She was a stay-at-home mom with three kids and valued all that was practical and thrifty. She put a great deal of love and time into the things she made for me but, sewing new clothes for me had to be reserved for school and church. Nevertheless, I never felt right wearing my brother’s clothes, and I hate most of the photos of my childhood because I look like a little boy and I remember how wrong that felt.
I like wearing different clothes to express myself. I still like to wear different clothes to see how it feels, to try-out facets of identity that I am exploring, to try-on different ways of being a woman. It occurs to me what it must be like to be a trans-gendered child, to be stuck in a body and expected to dress and behave in a way that does not agree with your true self.
It may seem to be a small and petty thing, to wear clothes. They are simply a means to protect our bodies from the elements but, I have always experienced them as an expression of self, or an exploration of identity. And that is no small thing.
It really is the “little things” that make a difference…