James Landreth wrote:.... A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. ....
Jen Fulkerson wrote:I think the real issue is being good with who and what you are inside. I say this as someone who struggles with self image. It doesn't matter if you wear rags, a designer suit, or nothing at all, there is always going to be someone who feels the need to be unkind. If you are comfortable with yourself, it really does not matter.
Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote: I always dress comfortably and second hand too, but I never get negative reactions, more often people I know react positive. They say things like "nice dress (or whatever piece of clothing) you're wearing! That colour fits you very well." That's because I don't just buy any clothes, I 'go shopping' in different second hand stores to find nice items to wear. They have to be made of good quality natural materials and not be in a bad state. They don't have to look like new, a faded colour is no problem at all, but I don't want to buy clothes with holes (if I get holes later, I mend them).
James Landreth wrote:I feel like part of living this lifestyle is breaking down current values and returning to or creating new ones. One example of this is turning lawns into food (valuing life, biodiversity, food, etc more than trends and aesthetics). Another might be going out of your way to produce something for yourself “the hard way” so you don’t have to buy it and contribute to an unethical production process.
I have faced near relentless criticism for living this way. I’ve received praise too, which is nice, but another subject. A lot of the criticism I’ve received has been about dressing (I dress comfortably and second hand) and other personal aesthetics. It’s hard. I don’t shave as often or neatly because of time and energy, I don’t care if clothes match, etc. Oftentimes I brush it off and continue about my business, but lately it’s been hard not to dwell on.
What are your strategies for coping with this? Do you turn to other permies and like minded folks when things get hard?
Clothes for me are camouflage
Pearl Sutton wrote: ...
I buy my clothes second hand and modify them, or sew them myself. I have exact colors, styles, fabrics etc that I buy, and I match my outfits. Even my grubby camo work jeans have shirts that I wear them with.
My entire wardrobe is a toolbox of personas I can hide behind, as I know that who I am is unacceptable and it's just a matter of which way I'm going to feel unaccepted today, and I dress to hide as much of it as I can. Clothes for me are camouflage, pretending I'm anything near normal. So picking clothes to wear out the door of the house, for me, is like picking through my tools, finding the exact correct screwdriver or wrench to do the task I need to any day. The task is to be dressed for what I'm doing, and be close to appropriate enough that when I'm getting in trouble for being me, at least it's not that I look bad too. I may be grubby etc, but I have my own style, and it all matches. Insecurity vs human contact. It's a hard dance some days.
G Freden wrote:I'm now in my late thirties and I dress conservatively. I don't want to be approached by strange men in public; in fact, I'd rather not be noticed at all, so I don't go out of my way to make myself attractive.
Rufus Laggren wrote:> clothes are tools...
Pearl, that is SO true! I don't know if you've ever thought about it this way, but that is a highly skilled, respectable and important practice you have given yourself. And to see it clearly the way you do helps people a lot - it's a good way to think about it, I believe.
And I was speaking exactly above: It's major and complex skill set. On those occasions when you decide to "come out", I bet your skill can be used in aid and enlarge your own personal expression.
Jen Fulkerson wrote:My aunt gave me advise once that had me rolling my eyes, so I can't believe I am going to pass it on to you. Practice self love. Look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you like about yourself. Do this every day, and try not to repeat the same things.
No matter what people think we are the only one's who can make us happy. It is something we must create for ourselves. You have value. I don't know you, but being human I bet there are parts of you that are very good, parts you need to work on, and lot of stuff in between. I tell my kids, and I'm going to tell you try to recognize the good and be proud of that part. Accept you are human and work on the parts you need to change, without beating yourself up. The whole of life is an on going learning process so smile and try to enjoy it.
Humans are a social species, and that's not an aspect of our core nature that should be held in contempt. We're meant to gather, and are unavoidably affected by those around us. Social grooming in particular is plainly evident in all other species who gather. It's about bonding.
As a woman I've been raised to be hyper-conscious of how I seem or appear in every facet of life, and while I've let go of most of that conditioning, I do genuinely appreciate all forms of beauty. I think everyone could do with being held to a certain standard-- and men are allowed to cultivate a FAR greater amount of general disarray and subpar grooming than are women.
I don't actually have a knee-jerk disdain for aesthetics, so long as those aesthetics aren't rooted in classicism. My property is a purposeful wilderness, but its an attractive wilderness. My urban neighbors refer to it as my "art." I am also well groomed, well spoken, and sociable. I share my harvests. People will forgive and support all manner of eccentricity so long as you aren't behaving in a depressive, petulant and/or antisocial way.
Pearl Sutton wrote: The best is there's one type of older Amish or Mennonite guy, they will NOT look at me in the hardware store etc. I'm invisible. I asked someone why, she told me "you are a woman doing a man's job, that makes you an abomination." Cool! I have never been an abomination before!! :D
Dave Burton wrote:
Overall, I find this kind of feedback to be more of a reflection of these people's life experiences and not about me. I think it's just another way for me to learn about who these people are, what they value, and how they believe the world works (or they would like it work). It becomes a way for me to understand them, instead of just another "insult."
Rufus Laggren wrote:Remembering back, I think clothing had a large part to play in the responses the OP received from people in public that bothered him. Hence, much discussion about clothing. (But much discussion of lots of other stuff, also...)
When you are moved by your fundamental values, what do you do? How do you express yourself? How can anybody possibly see your fundamental values inside of you? So you "express", right? But if you talk sustainability and other stuff, but stink because you haven't washed your clothes for a month, what is anybody to make of you? It looks to me like clothing surely matters in simple basic ways and can reveal much.
Nicole Alderman wrote:
I try not to be seen in holes or dirty clothes, not just because I don't want to be noticed, but also because I have kids. Every so often one hears the horror stories of parents loosing their kids to CPS because someone decided they were poor and unable to care for their kids. ...my kids have their play clothes, and the clothes they wear to the store and school, etc. I just aim for looking clean, nondescript, and non-holey.
Rufus Laggren wrote:... Goodwill, the Salvation Army and the occasional chi-chi resale store.
It's fun to be me, and still legal in 9 states! Wanna see my tiny ad?
Fermentation Intensive, San Diego, CA | Feb. 15-19, 2022https://permies.com/t/173381/kitchen/Winter-Fermentation-Intensive-San-Diego