Friday, April 17, 2015


From the moment we are born, we have experiences. We “wear” our experiences. Layer after layer your experiences in the form of memories, emotions like disappointments, muscle memories, injuries all affect how freely we move, are bound to us inwardly and outwardly. They are like unfortunate garments which belong to us and which we cannot remove without great effort. It’s like once you have an experience, you are changed. My new possibilities of new days, new ways of doing things, having new loves or discovering new friendship, exploring new adventures – is somehow affected by these unfortunate garments I must wear.  

     For example, I got this leather jacket years ago because I thought it was “cool” and I saved up a lot of money to get it. I thought it would protect me from things I hoped would never happen to me. It didn’t. It got me into trouble so to one group of people, I’m the goofy guy with the leather jacket.

Some garments are defensive. Yes, my belly does hang over these swimming trunks, but you can’t ever tell when you’ll need swimming trunks. I once did without them and a hot tub came into play. Anyway, I can’t take them off. If I take them off, I’d be naked and vulnerable. I’d be cold. I might be ridiculed. See? Layers of unfortunate decisions.

     Unfortunately, I can’t even think or dream now without being within the garments of my experiences. Everything now gets filtered through these layers. It’s like I’m swimming and I’m at the bottom and I look up and see people swimming above me in swimsuits – but here I am at the bottom in unfortunate garments. They swim away so freely.


The world gives us the first layer of unfortunate garments. It’s what happens TO you beginning at birth. Where were you born? Was it hot or cold? Day or night? Were you healthy or not? These garments are given to you by life and your fortunes or misfortunes – your experiences. You’re born with your first sensual (or sentient) experiences. Were you touched? Loved? Held? I was born pre-maturely, adopted at birth, and spent the first 6-weeks in a metallic box incubator lined with a blanket. Not the usual first “layer” of experience. The guys I’ve taught in maximum security prisons had layers of experiences which were traumatic, chaotic, full of shouting, and blows. Quite the opposite of the isolating experience of a metallic box and a blanket. But, what is the “usual” first layer? Whatever we get, we get.

     This first layer is something we all are “given” by life. The next layer is what you do to yourself – your choices. Good choices, bad choices, good influences from friends, family or school; bad influences.

Unfortunate garments wrap us with an image or a version of reality which we can mistake for The Reality. These are OUR reality, but they are not THE reality. Casting them off takes a long time and is a struggle – like the literal struggle of getting out of an overly tight sweater or a butterfly out of a cocoon.


     Sometimes I’ve wondered if it would it be better to wear a uniform or a robe which reveals no individual mis-fortune and hides our personal fate? We could avoid being judged by others, but maybe it is better to wear our hearts on our sleeves?

     Now I feel that I am changing out some of my unfortunate garments – that this is getting easier to do.  I find that the “styles” are changing or that I am changing my own preconception and getting free of being who ever I was that wore that leater jacket.

This Madras shirt, for example, with colors that bleed together? This was an experiential gift from a woman who was too pushy and self-centered and we bled all over one another. I’ve avoided Madras from then on. Get it outta here!  These burnt socks? That was meeting at the writer’s circle where I felt like I had to walk across hot coals of embarrassment. Oh well. That’s one I won’t hang onto. Forgive but don’t forget. This tie is a Jerry Garcia brand and I love it. At least I have ONE not unfortunate garment. But, Jerry died, but a brand and a band lives on.

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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