This summer, visiting friends, we played a game describing our style in three words. It’s the sort of game we like, and it took me some time to name mine, but I did.
Yesterday we talked again, and my friend and I. And we caught up, she described a small dilemma she was having trying to decide whether to dye her hair. One hair style satisfied half of her style, one satisfied the other. I listened and gave my opinion, but the conversation stayed with me through the day. I had, without realizing it, been suffering a similar small dilemma.
I’ve been reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels– one of the very best things I have read in a very long time. I remember something from one of the books- was it the first? the second?- when the protagonist talks about how her friend can’t be contained in one version of her life, of herself, how she will explode out of the limits of it like the copper pot exploded.
Sometimes it seems like we are all always spilling out of ourselves, unable to be contained in our expressions, even in something as mundane as the way we dress, the way we do our hair, the way we set our table. I like how I feel when I wear playful and simple old-fashioned prints. I like how I feel when I am in black. But I’m not the same, just like I’m not the same when I speak a different language, when I’m in a different place.
Or maybe that is just a part of being young- I don’t know, I’ve never been anything else. But I like to think that I will always confound myself. I like to think that if I never know quiet how I like to dress, it’s because there are other sides of me flaring up, catching the light.