Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dressing Up

Have you ever met someone, or gone somewhere, and felt that you had been missing him, her, it and that you are meant to be together? I felt that way about Italy when I was 15, then my BFF in college, moving on to my husband and Moab. And - I almost can't believe I'm saying this - but I feel the same way about The Renaissance Faire.

I only need to go once a year for one day, but I feel that it MUST be an annual event, it must be a ROY tradition.

I can't believe I missed out on the Renaissance Faire for most of my life, but better late than never. Saturday was only our second expedition to the festivities in Tuxedo Park, New York. It started 35 years ago, and I would have LOVED it as a child, a teen, a young adult, just as I love it now.

Last year I was in so in awe that I determined that it would only be better dressing up, so I lay down the big bucks and bought some Renaissance attire: a gold skirt, a long billowy periwinkle shirt, and a simple gold-ish bodice to go with it. See? Nothing too royal or peasant-ish or wenchy - a citizen's clothes.

Later, at home, I felt a little silly, and the clothes were thrown in a bag to be resuscitated this summer.

Now I am glad.  I imagine myself to be a rare breed of female merchant - in the silk trade of course.
My husband had the pleasure of sealing me into my bodice - so tightly that I could barely breathe. (You can't wear a bra with these things - the bodice acts as support.) We joked about me sporting a rated R look, but my kids would have been MORTIFIED, so we stuck to PG, knowing that we would see all sorts of versions and ratings at the fair.

It's the one place I've been too where 75% of the people were dressed up too. If people dressed up and played along at other places too, it would make our experience that more the richer. (Harry Potter World should have the Robes of Requirement. Each person who enters should have to wear school robes - that is part of the price of admission.)

But we do it already, don't we? We mold ourselves to the different environments we are in. We wouldn't wear our pajamas to a meeting at a corporate office, or a swimsuit to a PTA meeting, or sweat pants to the opera.

We want to play along to get along, which definitely has it's pros and cons. Conformity can lead to lack of personal identity. If we are just being like everybody else, who are we? Where are we?

But things like the Renaissance Faire bring out an aspect of communal fantasy that is just spectacular. Those of us dressing up are in the act of choosing to say "yes" to that part of our souls. I am celebrating a part of myself by entering the fantasy, by suspending my disbelief.

And this is also what we do when we read and write, yes?

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  1. A favorite Oscar Wilde quote is this: "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."

    By "dressing up" we are, indeed, saying 'yes' to an important part of our souls. We are giving it a voice.

    I love this, Léna! Thank you!

  2. Thank you, you awesome people! Yes!

  3. I so want to go to a Renaissance Fair after reading this. Although, I'm not so sure I have enough on the upfront to fill a bodice. Might have to get a bit creative:)

  4. I can't believe it! We go every year, at least once, to the Bristol, WI, Ren Faire. It's our tradition, too. How cool. Have lots of pics of it on Facebook. LOVE your dress. Every year I say I'm going to buy a "real" costume. I tend to play the part of a gypsy more than anything; hmm, part of my soul?

  5. Oh Amanda, gypsy costume, yes! And Christa, it is a "trippe"!

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