My jean jacket.
Yes. For those who do not see me on a regular basis (or have not seen my facebook photo albums), I have this jean jacket. It’s nothing special. Just a regular blue jean jacket from Old Navy, with two REAL pockets (that’s very important…why the HELL do so many women’s jackets not come with pockets these days? Are we not allowed to keep anything on our actual person unless it’s slipped down the cleavage?) The jacket also has at least five to seven buttons on it at any one time.
Each one of these buttons has a specific meaning to me. At the moment, the jacket proudly wears these:
1. A button the color of the Spanish flag, with the silhouette of a bull and the word OLE! across the top.
2. A strange green, glitterly elephant that almost looks like it’s puking, but it’s really just it’s golden tusks.
3. A Batman button. Just the logo.
4. A Blues Brothers button – just with the title and the glasses. Light blue background.
5. A pin of the pink ribbon for breast cancer.
6. A white button with three pixelated question mark boxes from Mario Bros with the words “question everything.”
7. And the taco button in the picture to the right.
My friend Naomi brought the Spanish button to me from Spain when she traveled abroad in college; the elephant belonged to my mother in the ’70s at some point; Batman is…well…the most awesome superhero ever; my dad and I have bonded over watching the Blues Brothers and by best friend and I once dressed like the sexy female version for Halloween; I’ve known several people dealing with breast cancer or other cancer over the past few years; Mario Bros had a huge impact on my childhood, my relationship with my boyfriend, and the slogan is something I must keep reminding myself of everyday; and the tacos button was given to me by my fam this Christmas, and is the way I’d like to see the world, quite frankly.
This is the thing about my jean jacket. I wear it ALL the time. If I could get away with wearing it EVERY DAY, without getting strange looks from people, I would. I force myself to wear at least two other outfits per week that do not include this thing, otherwise people might have to give me a talking to.
Why do I wear it? It’s not because it keeps me warm (really, without layers, it does practically nothing to keep me warm – which is helpful in my ability to wear it during summer months). It’s not because it’s particularly fashionable (because really…I have no idea). It’s not because I’m a crazy hipster that must be ironic at all times or I can’t afford to buy another jacket. It’s because it’s the ONLY thing, in my entire wardrobe, including all wardrobes I’ve EVER had in my ENTIRE life, in which I feel completely and absolutely comfortable and most assuredly myself.
No matter how I’m feeling that day, if I wear that jacket, I start feeling a bit more grounded in who I am.
This is the third of these jackets I’ve owned. I still have the other two, but they are so faded and worn out with holes, that I simply had to move on. The last one has no fabric left in the elbows at all. And every last bit of blue dye seems to have been washed out of it. The first one got me through high school. The second through college. The current one has been helping me navigate the after-college years (you know…those years we never get to see on sitcoms).
I’m not sure I can explain how or why it is specifically the jean jacket that I have latched on to, and I’m not sure I need it explained. I think what it comes down to is being able to find your voice – it’s why we might feel comfortable in leggings but not a prom dress, or prefer slasher flicks over rom coms, or prefer pizza over sushi – it’s about finding your voice. You have to go outside your comfort zone once in a while, try on something new, work out those identity muscles, but in the end you have to be true to the voice you inherently have.
I’ve been trying to really discover and refine my writer’s voice the past few months, and it’s one of my final goals for this year; I think it’s something a writer is always redefining of course, but I think I’m finally coming to terms with where my voice is coming from. I think I’ve always known who I was, but have been running away from it for some reason.
The other day, I was checking out at Trader Joe’s, wearing my jean jacket of course. And the checker says to me, “I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that jean jackets are coming back into fashion. That’s what they’re saying anyways.”
I looked at him kinda blankly. “I’ve been wearing a jacket like this since high school – so, I can’t say I’ve noticed,” I said. “But thanks for the heads up.”
I’m going out for drinks with friends tonight. Most likely I’ll wear this jacket. My friend will probably be disappointed in me, since she has always been more fashionable, beautiful and smarter about her appearance than I am, but I’d rather be comfortable in my skin than wearing someone else’s fashions.