With all the comments about Eccentrics on my blog, Deja Pseu's thoughts, and your forthright comments, I'm wondering "Is this outfit too Jung on me?"
|Dr. Jung, why am I trapped in here?|
I've been dreaming about shopping, clothes and wandering, lost, in Bloomingdale's. I won't bore you with interpretation (and if you think you might not be bored, I recommend Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis' book, "Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life".)
It is Hollis' work, and that of Marion Woodman that inspired this post.
When a woman says "I don't want to dress like a dreary old lady", she means it. And she may mean that on a number of levels. The most obvious concern is that she does not want, as so many commenters said, to "be invisible".
But: why does she not want to be invisible?
First, because the ultimate invisibility is death. And before that, if you live long enough, comes old age, with its diminished vitality and sexual allure, its inescapable losses. Unless you're sure you'll be reincarnated as a world-class beauty, this is not a thrilling prospect.
Second, every woman hears a profound inner and cultural message: youth is everything we prize– so stay young!
That message is heeded by the ego, the part of the one's consciousness that has worked intently through adolescence and young adulthood to weld a firm, defended, change-averse identity. It is only in midlife, Hollis says, that the ego is strong enough to withstand the issues of life's meaning and our vulnerability, and to face the Shadow, the disowned, shameful, irritating dimensions of ourselves.
While ego strength supports our successes and drive, it is also invested in the status quo, control, self-protection. Invested in running the show, ego does not take kindly to the pain of being told, "As a matter of fact, you don't own the road, missy."
What does this have to do with a dress?
|Charles James Four Leaf Clover Dress|
Flooded with the culture's collective worship of youth, the ego tells the woman, "Try to look younger." Fussing about "not being invisible" or "losing your relevance" is the cry of the discomfited ego.
Fortunately, (according to the Jungians) we have souls, a deeper Self infused by the unconscious and supported by the Universal Essence, God or whatever you call the supreme life force.
So whether you are considering a hat with little tentacles all over it or the quietest tweeds, invite your soul to help you choose. Usually that shows up as "Ah. Yes." There is that tangible joy Pseu describes and seeks.
It is time, at midlife, to let the deeper Self shine, whether in gold lamé or grey flannel. When you are as conscious as possible, freed from the cultural clamour, you will chose what pleases you, not what "they are wearing".
You will remain unconvinced by dictates like those of Hollywood costumer Edith Head in her recently re-released book, "How to Dress for Success", urging you to dress "as young as you can get away with".
We ought not worry about visibility. If we strive for authenticity, for being as awake as we can be, accepting both our gifts and flaws, visibility takes care of itself.
And I wish we would not denigrate aging by refusing its every sign. Ram Dass says it far better than I could:
"Aging is the opportunity for growth. It's the greatest learning we have. All our old desires are off our backs, finally. We're quiet. We aren't dancing to the culture's dream. And we are silent inside. That silence is there so we can hear our intuitive wisdom."