I love a good winter coat. Living up north for the majority of my life a winter coat was a wardrobe essential. Somewhere along the line it also became a source of comfort. It became a piece of clothing that made me feel accepted in public. Over the years I gravitated towards wearing coats with one particular function. A hood.
There was a time, still is, where you would not see me out and about without wearing a hood regardless of the weather. There were times when it was sunny and you would see a hood on my head. I carry on wearing it indoors when I am out and about too. It became a bit of a safety blanket.
The more I think about it, the more I feel the hood was a symbol of how I have felt about myself eternally. I have spent a good few years feeling inadequate, someone who didn’t have faith in herself. I wasn’t happy with the person I was and as a result, I hid my face from the world.
On the occasions where I couldn’t wear a hood, at events, or maybe it was just too hot to wear a coat, I felt like I was being laid bare, naked. It was like I was on show for everyone to see and laugh at.
Now, of course, a hood has a practical function but when you get in a car and keep it on during the journey you know there is a little bit of an issue. I just wasn’t happy with how I looked and felt with the hood came off.
It took me moving to London where it doesn’t rain as much and the commutes which suited to layers more than anything else but also finding more confidence in myself. Simultaneously to this, I have been working on myself, giving myself permission to have a place at the table, to let people know I exist.
A hood to many is obviously just a hood but to me, it symbolised more than that, it was an external symbol for what was going on internally, something which still goes on but is slowly diminishing and with work on myself.
People think paying attention to the clothes we wear is superficial but in my experience, it is the exact opposite, it has a direct link to how I present myself and the way I present myself and how I feel.
If you’re wondering what I am feeling now, I think it is time to work on dropping the hood, don’t you?