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Dressing Up, Costume, and Being Eccentric

Being a self-employed writer isn’t conducive to what used to be called dressing for success.

Even though I have an office away from home, I could get away with going to work in my purple fleece Couch Sack if I were sufficiently what-used-to-be-called laid back.

Today, however, I went hog-wild in the other direction and put on a pencil skirt and heels and a semi-fancy shirt. Mon Dieu! It changes my view of myself and the world. I feel much more grownup (this is important at 59) and to-be-taken-seriously.

What may have inspired me to do this: last night I watched the first half hour of Grey Gardens, the documentary on Jackie O’s poor relations, when they were revealed in the mid-70s to be living weird reclusive past-obsessed lives in their wretchedly decaying old house full of cats in the Hamptons. These two women, Big Edie and Little Edie, mother and daughter, both born beautiful and still wildly theatrical, brought back to me my childhood mantra: I will not be eccentric.

Having that running through my head regularly as a wee kid should have been a sign.

In recent years, however, I’ve mostly abandoned that resolve, and pretty much do and dress as I please. And I haven’t gotten too weird.

Last night, though, I was sobered. Seeing the state of their house — when I’m a so-so-minus housekeeper and spend much time alone with husband and king-size dogs in our very messy house in deep mossy shade– made me think about my old childhood resolve.

But the truth is that, having relaxed, I haven’t turned into a camp icon. The truth hasn’t turned out to be so bad. Even so, I’m turned out like a hip CEO today. The old fears seem to always leave their traces.

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Categories: courage, creative, fear, self expression

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