My friend, Ruthie, takes pictures of her clothesline and it says as much about her as any selfie could. From this picture, you might have surmised that Ruthie is a colourful person, living a fairly relaxed lifestyle in the country. And you wouldn’t be wrong.
I began being curious about clothes and how they can tell our stories better than any photograph after reading an article in The Book of Life called The Serious Business of Clothes. The article ended with this line, “Our wardrobes contain some of our most carefully written lines of autobiography.” After reading this, I decided to write my autobiography around different clothes I wore throughout the years.
I began my autobiography with the first article of clothing that I remembered being truly excited about. Here is my recollection:
“I can still see them resting in the cardboard box with the cellophane lid. It couldn’t have been a better gift if the prince himself had delivered them. My six year old hands trembled as I carefully lifted the first one from its tissue paper nest. The sunlight shone on the sparkles in the clear plastic and they whirled and danced inside. Magic.
Tentatively, I slipped both feet into the glass slippers and inched my toes under the white elastic band with the pink and chartreuse flower embroidery. I took my first hesitant steps trying to adjust to the pressure under my arch that supported the kitten heels. There was something about those heels that caused me to hold my head a little higher and move with a grace I hadn’t known before. There was power in those shoes.”
I grew up in a very masculine household with an energetic father and two brothers. My mother was British and wore “sensible” shoes. This was one of my first remembered experiences of what it felt like to be a girly girl – a princess, if you will. And I loved it!
In the spirit of Ruthie’s clothesline as self portrait, I decided to take a self portrait of my own. Since I began my autobiography with a story of shoes, I thought it fitting that my updated self portrait be of shoes. I tried a few combinations, as you can see.
It’s not as easy to take a self portrait as you may think. I’m liking the relaxed look of Ruthie’s clothesline more and more after my experiments this afternoon. My self portrait might be considered interesting, but relaxed, no. And that just about says it all.
*The Book of Life is the “brain” of the School of Life co-founded by modern day philosopher Alain de Botton. It is a gathering of the best ideas around wisdom and emotional intelligence.