A couple days ago, in a business meeting, a friend and colleague complimented my sense of style. It was a warm moment, and I appreciated it.
When he, joking, asked me for the name of my fashion designer, I wish I'd had the presence of mind to suggest the design academy where I studied.
In case you're wondering, it's The School of I Wear What I Want.
Which sounds simple, and it is. But simple is not the same as easy.
Most of my life, due to general environmental conditions and traumas and circumstances specific to my life, I have been dissociated from my body. Most of us are, especially those of us raised as girls.
The patriarchy likes it that way.
Easier to control someone who is divorced from her body, separated from her source of power, at war with herself.
In this condition, and for these reasons and others, I have hated and ignored and neglected my body. Even when I tried to take better care of her, I didn't know what she wanted or why.
I didn't even know what I wanted.
Which is a funny way to put it, I know, to separate what "she"–my body–wants from what "I"–me–myself–wants. My body and I are one.
And we are also separate.
I believe in the sentience of literally everything, and that means that I literally contain multitudes. Each cell in my body has its own sentience. Each organ, each bundle of tissues, each feature of my anatomy. My body herself has sentience, and my soul and my mind have sentience. And I, the corporate and incorporate whole, I also have sentience of my own that is the same and separate. And each of us contain the whole.
It's a fractal and infinite universe.
One of the jobs of our walk here on this planet, is to remember both that we are multitudes, and also that we are one. That what impacts each of us, impacts all of us.
That starts at home. And the most home place of all, is the place inside ourselves.
It starts with recognizing that we belong in our bodies, and to our bodies, and that our bodies belong to us. In listening and actually giving a damn what our bodies want and need.
Sometimes I get started on a thing, trying to explain it, and discover that words are inadequate. There are some things you simply have to FEEL to understand.
At any rate, the point is, my sense of fashion isn't just a sense of fashion. It's a sense of KNOWING. Knowing what I actually fucking WANT.
Letting go of attachment to whether anyone else approves.
Learning to fucking trust myself.
The School of I Wear What I Want is not free. In fact, its tuition is among the highest in the known world, and its degrees aren't handed out automatically at the end of four years after you check all the right boxes.
You only get the outward recognition of your work after you've paid the tuition, and the tuition is only everything you ever believed you needed but didn't. And after you've paid the fees of humility, and starting over again, and walking away from things and people, and embracing new things and people, and walking face-first into your fear, and doing it over and over and over again until the fear burns away and leaves only YOU.
After you've given up all the layers of giving a fuck about things that don't serve your deepest, truest self.
And at the end, one of the outward signs society gives you is a nod and a "you look good." And the funny thing is, after all that, you don't even CARE.
The comment makes you smile, it's true. You appreciate the sentiment, and the connection with the person or people that the comment represents. You appreciate that they care enough to say something nice to you.
But also, you smile because you remember what it cost and you remember what it's worth. You smile because you're so fucking proud of yourself for doing everything it took to claim yourself. You smile because you know it's so much more than just fashion.
You smile because you wear what you want.
You smile because you're finally actually YOU.
And that feels good.
Fen Druadìn (they/them) is anamchara, storyteller, dragon, student of trees, and a breaker of generational curses.
Fen's mission here is to love and remember themself completely, connect deeply with the world, and help others do the same for themselves.
Fen connects deeply with the universe through their relationship with a sacred land in the Appalachians of North Carolina, and shares messages here and elsewhere. When not in the woods, they can be found on Facebook and Patreon.
If you feel led and are able, you can support Fen's work in any of these ways:
You can also contribute to the work of reconnecting with yourself and the world in any or all of these ways:
Stand in front of a mirror, look in your eyes, and say, "I love you." Repeat daily for as long as it takes
Send your love to the trees and stones and water and Earth
Spend time in quiet meditation with a plant or stone person, and listen for messages
Clean up litter in your neighborhood and/or engage in other acts of environmental restoration
Build a personal relationship with the plants and animals in your area by spending time with them and listening for their messages and responding to their needs
Reconnect with your own strength and power and truth via meditative practice such as yoga, guided meditation, chanting, drumming, dance, or any other tool that feels right and helps you ground and connect
Engage in this community and/or other communities committed to re-establishing our right relationship with ourselves and the earth
Wherever you are, on your journey and in your life, may you be well, may you be at peace, and may you always find the next good step.