Objects, Symbols and Affectations

When you’ve had a habit for many years, it becomes part of your persona. Your image, totem, signature, symbol — however you like.

When folks see someone with your habit, they think of you.

When they’re looking for you, they look for your symbol.

It could be anything from a piece of clothing to the way you walk. There’s something you do that’s yours.

Someone once told me that my combat boots are my signature. I started wearing them in fourth grade to be practical. When my class shuffled through the hallways in two parallel lines, some dickhead always stepped on my sneaker and make my heel pop out. I hated it. Flat tire, we called it. It was probably accidental each time, but it still drove me nuts. I started wearing boots to address an immediate problem. They became familiar. Comfortable. Preferable.

Things are different now. I don’t walk in line with a bunch of other kids. The boots’ intended purpose is gone. It doesn’t rain enough, or get cold enough here to justify heavy boots; but I still wear them every day. As a little kid, I didn’t plan on incorporating a symbol; but now the boots are part of the image I project. I still wear them because they’re familiar. The tricky thing is, I couldn’t tell you if the familiar thing is the boots themselves, or that projected image.

When you see someone walking down the street in big black boots, what does it say about them? What does your perception say about you? These objects are telling in both directions.

What’s your signature?  Your symbol?  How do objects and affectations affect your story?

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde

From one thing, know ten thousand things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi

Untitled by Shadi Ghadirian (Iran) from the "Muslima" exhibition

Untitled by Shadi Ghadirian (Iran) from the “Muslima” exhibition

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5 thoughts on “Objects, Symbols and Affectations

  1. margitsage

    I had a blue fleece that I wore everywhere for many years, but the pockets wore through, so I finally gave it to Goodwill this Spring. I bought a fuzzier teal one to replace it. Before the blue one, I wore a black sailing team fleece in college, and I sometimes borrowed my boyfriend’s hunter green fleece pullover. I’ve always felt at home in fleece. It’s so soft and warm.

    Reply
  2. Bob Bonsall

    I have a biker jacket that I enjoy wearing when weather permits. The best part about it is I don’t think I’ve ever actually been on a motorcycle. When people ask I tell them it’s a holdover from my punk rock days. The truth is I’m still a punk rocker, I just don’t show it as much. I just wear the jacket when I can.

    Reply

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