The other day at the grocery store I was accused of not paying for my sandwich.  After checking out I walked through the store and headed outside to eat.  A woman came over and stood next to me and then after an awkward moment of silence she asked if I had paid for the food.  I said yes.  She said that she had seen me come outside, but she hadn’t seen me go through the registers.  Did I have a receipt?  I hadn’t asked for a receipt.  I told her which clerk had checked me out, and she went inside to confirm, and it was fine, and I could have gotten upset, but I understand how appearance influences perception, and the bottom line was that with my ripped clothing and unkempt dreadlocks, I looked like the kind of person who might steal from a grocery store.

The way I’ve been looking is now incongruous with the kind of life I am currently trying to lead.  So I decided to buy some new clothes.  I haven’t done that in at least three years.  Just thinking about walking into a clothing store actually made me really uncomfortable, and I realized that this is yet another unexpected way in which I’m being pushed to grow as I go through this transition.  The way I dress has actually been an unspoken insecurity for a long time.  I was in 7th grade when I stopped wearing what my parents bought me and started dressing the way everyone else in middle school did.  I always felt like I was doing something wrong.  I wore only grays and dark blues because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.

I set out on the mission armed with a sketch inside the back cover of my notebook mapping out the thrift stores of Boulder.  My first stop was Rags Consignment.  I walked in and awkwardly pawed through a couple racks of hangers.  I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be looking for.  A girl walked up to me.  “Can I help you find anything?”  “Um…jeans?”  “Well, actually, this is a women’s only store.”  “Ah.  I see.  Well do you think I could rock women’s jeans?  Just kidding.  I am leaving now.”  Next, at a complex on the corner, I saw a sign for Wild Bird Depot or something like that.  There was an X on my map at that intersection, and I was pretty sure that was the name of one of the thrift stores.  I peeked inside and immediately realized that this was a bird seed store.  Ok.

Eventually I ended up at a real thrift store with both women’s and men’s clothing.  I started pulling things off of hangers randomly.  I didn’t even know what size I was.  I tried some things on and once I found a pair of unripped jeans that fit me, I felt a little more at ease knowing that I would be buying something.  I stayed for probably an hour and ended up buying a few collared shirts, a sweater, a jacket, a black vest, a gray fedora.  Nothing was more than like $12 but I spent a total of $93 which is more than I have spent on apparel over the past three years of my life combined.  I got in my car with a shopping bag and drove away to an empty parking lot and put on some of the new clothes.  It was weird but I looked good.

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One Response to Clothing?

  1. Deaet says:

    You were followed in my store as well. I was told to watch you and make sure you paid in my self check. I looked up as you approached in your dreds and weatherd clothes, just as you described. I saw a young man, an interesting one at that, someone I wanted to talk to. I approached you and asked how heavy your backpack was. I asked you where you were going and later chatted with you more in our coffee shop during my lunch. I wanted to talk to you, you looked interesting and honest to me. What I also saw was a young Man tired and a little beat up from some weary times. I ended up bringing you home with me and my Husband. What a pleasure to have you for a visit and learn some new things, because of the way you looked. I think of you from time to time and enjoy to read anything you post. Good luck David in your NEW journey. I will be watching and learning.

    Deaet Knight

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