The Pseudo-Librarian, the Priest & Her Wardrobe

img_12891963. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Brown courdouroy smocked dress and white puffy blouse. Navy blue polka dot shift and  striped Danskins.  Parochial school uniform and Peter Pan collars.  Mary Janes, saddle shoes, and Keds.

1973. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Peasant dresses, halter tops, and army jacket. Denim cutoffs, bellbottom pants, and macrame belts. Parochial school uniform and Oxford cloth shirts. Platforms, flip flops, and saddle shoes.

1983. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Pleated skirts and cardigan sweaters. Padded shoulders and tailored slacks. Designer jeans, and tasteful flats.

1993. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Khaki trousers, corduroy jumpers, and denim overalls.  Cotton turtlenecks, kilts and tights. Embroidered vests and cable knit sweaters. Black flats, brown flats, and tennis shoes.

2003. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Target basics and Talbot’s work clothes. Cotton sweats and running suits. Clergy shirts and clerical collars. Random flats, Birkenstocks, and flip flops  — in every color under the sun.

And thirteen years on.

2016. Open my wardrobe and what do you see?

Funky tunics and interesting tops. Comfy leggings and skinny jeans. Prints, patterns, and primary colors. Autumn hues and basic black. Dressy dresses and dresses just for fun. Lululemon trousers and button down shirts. Bits of ribbon and bits of lace. TOMS, saddle shoes, ASICS, and a multitude of multicolored flats.

I have both lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Middle child, parochial school girl, head of the class.

Flower child, high school nerd, and rebel without a cause.

Computer programmer, working mom, sometimes a wife.

Seminary student, kindergarten volunteer, and Del Ray mom.

Parish priest, divorcee, and mostly manic.

Half marathoner, storyteller, blogger, irreverent reverend, and pseudo-libarian.

I have lost and found myself in my wardrobe.

Clothes are the window dressing of the soul. Spiritual expressions of our psyches and personalities. Creative expressions of our passions and our moods.

In my darker days, my wardrobe was all solid colors. No prints. Basic and boring. I would buy three colors of the same pants and the same sweater.

All the better to hide in. All the better to disappear.

Those dark days are long — and hopefully forever — gone.

How do I know?

Because my wardrobe therapist tells me so.

My therapeutic fashion consultant, Stephanie Hernandez, helped me work through my closet issues.

Stephie is a very good friend of my awesome daughter Colleen. Stephie is a young LCSW with a passion for style and an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the founder of  “Look Good, Feel Good”— “a therapeutic approach to finding your personal style.”

A brilliant idea! This bipolar soul signed herself up right away!

Personable, warm, and observant, Stephie first sat down on my couch and we had a chat. I walked her through a “regular day” so she could learn about my bipolar life — both at work and at play. I gave her a one minute tour of my condo and then we took a thirty minute walk through my wardrobe.

And then for the next half hour, we played dress up. Mixing and matching funky and flattering combos, Stephie helped me come up with outfits that  I can wear just about anywhere:  @LOC, @EEC,  walking Del Ray, or strolling DC.

Working with Stephie made me feel so much cooler and so much cuter than I actually am!

It was very therapeutic.

It was so much fun.

“Look Good, Feel Good Style”

It’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s fashion philosophy.

I recommend Stephanie Hernandez and her new enterprise most happily!

So friends, what’s in your wardrobe?

Singularly yours:

The Rev: Joani

Note: Also posted on Unorthodox & Unhinged: Tales of a Manic Christian

 

 

 

My Lover is an Open Book

bookish heart pages folded

My lover is an open book.

Quite literally.

Currently I am intimate with three:

White Noise by Don DeLillo. Hilarious, beautiful, and strange.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett.  “Lovely, lyrical, and deeply informative”.

and…

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf.  “A big, magnificent, and adventurous book”.

Each is easy on the eyes, lovely to hold, and stimulating to my gray cells.

It depends on my mood which one I take to my bed.

I love a good conversation with a good book before falling asleep. Pillow talk is both provocative and conducive to interesting dreams.

My intimates are most passionate, as am I.

I am good with words. I make my living with words, but they often best me. Words drip like honey from their pens: quotable things describing intimate things — like this brief delight from Don DeLillo.

Babette and I have turned our lives for each other’s thoughtful regard, turned them in the moonlight in our pale hands, spoken deep into the night about our fathers and mothers, childhoods, friendships, awakenings, old loves,  fears (except for fear of death). No detail must be left out, not even a dog with ticks or a neighbor’s boy who ate an insect on a dare. The smell of pantries, the sense of empty afternoons, the feel of things as they rained across our skin, things as facts and passions, the feel of pain, loss, disappointment, breathless delight.  In these night recitations, we create a space between things as we felt them at the time and as we speak them now. This is the space reserved for irony, sympathy, and fond amusement, the means by which we rescue ourselves from the past. 

Such language, it makes me jealous.

Books are also a sensual thing to hold in the hand: smooth pages, ragged edges, the whiff of oak trees and earth.

And there is something evocative about the printed word, being engaged in black and white.  As sentences slither from left to right, my moods shift from dark to  light.

And books are a perpetual tease. Turn the page! Turn the page! Breathless, I dream of what is on the other side. It is so tantalizing to believe that if I just get to end of this chapter, I will be satisfied.

Deeply satisfied.

And the best of books, of course, make me think. They not only get into my bed; they get into my head. They puzzle me, challenge me. They expand my inner space and widen my outer world.

I will never be an astronaut but I have explored the cosmos. I will never be a philosopher but I have pondered by Walden Pond. I will never be a botanist but flowers and weeds both grow wild in my head.

All for the love of a good book.

Tumbled between the sheets, my lovers lie spent. Their covers lost. Their spines broken. Their pages torn. Their corners bent.

No man can possibly compete.

Or can he?

Next week I take the plunge and dive in deep. I start sixteen weeks of intensive training at the Library of Congress — where I will get to hear, see, and taste all of the delights this great Temple of Learning has to offer: its collections and its history; its rumors and its secrets.

Who knows who I might bump into in the hallways or meet up with behind the stacks?

There’s nothing like a sexy librarian to make me weak in the knees. The possibility of a literary assignation in the corridors of the LOC — lights me up like a firefly.

Yes,  a bibliophile’s dream.

Just one more week on S&TSV.

Singularly yours

The Rev: Joani