I am wearing what may be the homeliest sweater in the world. It has a collar and a zipper and a Nordic cross-stitch pattern. It’s also made out of that velour type fabric, neither fish nor fowl, a pretend real sweater.
I bought it in a thrift store. It seemed like a sweet, homespun deal, something to keep me warm when looks don’t matter. I like those times so much that I plan for them: the times when I can be homely without apology.
Now do other people know I’ve chosen the homely track on any particular day? No. For most, my attire from day to day would be a difference without a distinction. Oh, she’s dressing homely today? I didn’t notice.
Whatever, I say.
Any fool would see the studied lack of care, the unshaven legs of it, the effortless intentionality, the hair that could become dreads with a bit more time. It should be seen and witnessed. But can I get a witness? That is the question.
In our canoe there are just the basics, the essential elements. Water, granola bars, sweatshirts, our phones. I sit in front, the figurehead on the bow of our two-paddle ship. It is my countenance that greets the reeds and the water lilies, the submerged logs and the surprised eagles. I am drab like my sweater. No threat to anyone.
Here, I feel free of every expectation. I paddle quietly like a small brown duck, just being my own self without adornment. No adornment for me. I am plain today and at home here.
I should spend more time like this, I think, not worrying about how others see me, being unaware and uncaring of the judgement of the external world.
It is good to be warm in my homely sweater, zip it up to the neck and turn up the collar. It is plenty fine.