Monday, August 31, 2009
I like to play dress-up.
I don't have The One Big Passion. I've always thought I wanted one. To be a Potter. To be a Weaver. To be a Writer. To be a Photographer. To be a Painter. To be a Filmmaker. To be a Singer. To be a Chef. I've done or still do or want to do all those things. But none exclusively.
I've always thought I had some kind of ADD, some deficiency that made me unable to concentrate on just one thing. Or that I just hadn't found the one thing that would get me to settle down. I was the Bachelorette of Callings. No commitments, baby, no tying me down.
But lately I've been thinking it's altogether something else. I reckon it's not an accident that I loved to play dress-up as a child. When my parents would go out, I'd go into their bedroom and turn their closets inside out and upside down as I put on one thing after another. Mom's stuff, Dad's stuff--sometimes combined--and always accessorized with whatever trinkets and oversized shoes allowed me to inhabit and move freely in the faraway worlds in my head. There were soundtracks in there and smells and furniture and pets and foods. I would invite my real friends (of which there were few, truth be told, until I got older) to come over and participate, but they got frustrated by my inability to stick with one narrative. I was in and out of a story before they ever got past "once upon a time" and, really, what was the point of trying to keep up?
In college, my first roommate used to throw her hands up at my habit of sitting in front of the stereo, changing LPs like a short-order cook flipping pancakes, Al Green to Beethoven's "Pastorale" Symphony to Dave Brubeck to Linda Ronstadt and all the time singing along on not one, but ALL the parts.
And now I'm officially middle-aged and on a trajectory toward dotage, I suppose. I embrace the irony that my depth is my flightiness and I give deep and solemn thanks that I can clap with joy at so many things, all on the same day, and DO.
There's a term for this in German: "Lebenskünstler"--someone who is an artist and whose medium is life. It sounds much more impressive in German, but really, it's just a fancy way of saying that I'm someone who (still) likes to play dress-up.