I just had a vision – an idea – a fantasy – a thought (those are all the same things, right?), of my future self taking my teenage daughter thrift shopping for clothes.
We were browsing the isles of used clothes in some huge place, like suburban Goodwill, chatting amiably about politics and pop culture and culture in general, and her saying something like, “Hrm, does this look good?” and me making a dramatic “NO” face, and her continuing, “egh, I just don’t know what I want, I don’t know what to pick out! I feel so stale!”
I reply, “Well, what are you working on this season, what do you want your themes to be?” And she replies by talking about her projects, both mundane and spiritual, the upcoming events that she might participate in, talking about what’s coming up for herself in the next year in general, expresses some anxiety about big challenges looming on the horizon.
“Hmmm, that does sound like some big work to take on. What sort of tools do you think you’ll need to help you?”
She thinks for a moment, “You know, I had a dream last night. I didn’t remember it until just now.
[ i don’t know what the dream was. ’round about this point, my ego interrupted with the thought, “oooh, I’m having a vision! wait no, I couldn’t be, I’m just imagining, right? But wait, isn’t imagining and having a vision the same thing anyways…?]
At which point, I say, “fuck-off ego, stop interrupting!” But it’s too late now, I can’t get back into the original vision. But then I find another one…
By the time I have a child, and that child grows into a teenager, and I’m taking them shopping for new clothes, will All of This even be here? Will thrift stores still exist? What sort of world will this future-potential person with a feminine disposition live in? Will there be food? Will there be shelter? Will shopping malls and thrift stores, and the large trucks that stock them still exist? Or will they be rotting away into suburban decay, the ruins of the not-so-distant past… and in 100 years, 1000 years, what will the archaeologists find? Not much, actually. They won’t find much because the things we’ve built aren’t made to last. In 100,000 years, this point in time will have barely existed. Except for the thin layer of petroleum slime that is beginning to show in the geologic record…
Naaah, I don’t think we’re quite so precarious as all that. I mean, I’m 30, so this vision really can’t be more than 25 years into the future. How different can the world possibly be in another 25 years? Twenty-five years ago was 1989. Except that we seem to be balancing on the edge of a mighty precipice…
Sea levels rising, weather patterns becoming more chaotic, more violent, food shortages are imminent, anti-biotic resistant plague looms its garish head… How different might the world be in 25 years? We can’t possibly imagine.
But maybe there will be pockets here and there, pockets of people being part of their ecosystems and learning how to thrive. Pockets of people learning to live again, in community, in interdependence, in communion with their environments. And even then the questions I might ask my daughter when she is wondering in what style to cloth herself, the questions I ask will be very much the same.
“What tools will you need to help you walk your path?”
I don’t think fashion is at all about how we look to other people. Fashion is the story we tell ourselves about who we think we are.
[post apocalyptic re-write of “Que Sera”]