I'm one of those obnoxious people, who, when complimented on something I'm wearing, will tell you the story of how, why and where I got it. And possibly also what a great deal it was. (My friend Wendy says it's really tacky to tell you what something cost, but sometimes I can't help it. I love a deal and also I don't want you to think I'm spending too much on myself. It's one of my issues.)
But the main the reason I do this, is that almost everything I'm wearing actually has a story. My husband and I are flea market, thrift store and garage sale treasure hunters, and when we vacation, we don't buy traditional souvenirs. We buy an old jean jacket, a piece of art, a vintage necklace, or a pottery jug -- and we think of the place we bought it every time we use it.
When it comes to the treasures that I actually wear, I almost always wear them for an emotional or spiritual reason. As a writer, I love metaphor and symbolism, and I literally wear symbols around my neck. Today, for example, I'm driving up to L.A. to finish recording my audio book, and though no one but the tech Andrew will see me, I'm wearing:
a bracelet my friend Jill gave me that symbolizes strength
a locket my husband gave me in the shape of a book, with my title engraved on it
a necklace I bought myself that has a woman reading a book on it
my rainbow and unicorn kicks that my kids think I'm too old to own
Wearing this jewelry makes me feel like these loved ones are with me in the sound booth (which is kind on an intimidating place), and my silly shoes remind me not to take myself too seriously and make me feel slightly rebellious, which I enjoy.
If you talk to people with tattoos, they usually love to tell you the story of how, why and when they got them -- unless it's one of those unfortunate drunk-in-Mazatlan-in-college kinds of stories. Generally, they carve that symbol onto their body for a profound and personal reason.
My clothes, jewelry, and yes, my tattoo (it's a needle and thread, with a heart), remind me of this passage in the Old Testament:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)
God seemed to be reminding us that sacred things become powerfully linked to our hearts when we make them part of our everyday life: our walk to school, our bedtime routines, our doorways, hanging from around our necks.
So what are you wearing?
What hangs around your neck everyday? What clothes are on your back? What shoes are on your feet? Are they something that remind you of your positive identity, your dear ones, your strength, your whimsy, your passion, God's love? Could what you put on help you accomplish what is before you today? It's kind of a creative, fun thought, isn't it? That what you wear on the outside can connect to your heart.
(P.S. I'm in the process of getting spousal permission for a second tattoo...which I said I'd never do. It will say "love rejoices in the truth." But that's a subject for a further blog. Stay tuned.)