Started Writing Sunday

Posted on 31 January 2005

(I started writing this Sunday night – hence the date – worked all day yesterday in store and have only finished writing this self-indulgent episode today, February 1st.)

I’m back from Seattle. First read my emails and my daughter’s blog. A coincidence or not. I too was thinking about hair – even spoke about it with Helen when we were in Seattle. I keep having my hair cut, thinking that luck will win and I will look like I imagine I can look. Sexy with a dash of savoir faire. It never happens. No matter the cut, I am just me with shorter hair.

Another coincidence? We always take a lot of pictures at market. It’s important to try the sample clothes on to see what they look like on a body. I have a couple dozen pictures of me in summer fashion and I can barely stand to look at them. I look tired, old, “ugly” to use Gill’s word – not the sparkly woman I sometimes feel.

But the outside never matches the inside. Especially as time passes. Or is this the case? I’ve heard Kate and Gill talk about the transformative power of hair cuts. What are we seeking? A new person? “Life is tough and then you die” is what my young friend Maria used to say. I guess I better speak for myself. I wonder if I’m trying to take a shortcut thinking the outside will change the inside. A new haircut. A new outfit. A new self-assured me. I should know better. It’s the inside that informs the outside. (I cropped the photos from the show – took my head off the really bad ones, I am embarrassed to admit.)

The store is doing well. Walter is calling me a genius because of my idea for a resort section that’s doing well. What a joke but I lap it up. Buying clothes for others is still a guessing game. I side on caution but I’m getting better at guessing. What do people want, what will people pay to own something beautiful or unusual? I think of the poem by Rudyard Kipling “If” for some reason: “If you can make one heap of all your winnings/ And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,/ And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss”.

My thoughts are rambling. I’m thinking here that Kipling is wrong, that it takes nerve to speak about “your loss”. (That’s why I admire Gill and her courage to tell her ugly feelings. And Kate to write her honest truths about her body, marriage, and motherhood. And… I hesitate here… I could continue with more names… I am realizing that I have more than a few friends who are willing to speak of themselves openly, of their losses and gains.)

This job of mine that earns me a pittance really – not enough to live on – is a game of pitch-and-toss, a guessing game, but I enjoy the play, the mapping out of seasons and colour, the surprise when a box arrives, the personalities of women shoppers and their response to the clothes – more than interesting and good material for a story or two.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed and not able to follow any thought through to conclusion so I will start the orders, clear away some of my load, and perhaps take a walk by the water to calm myself and clear my head.


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