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I Was Asked to Write About Hats
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Hats are a great topic for me. In my world, things exist metaphorically as psychological factors as much as they exist literally in the world. Of course, that must be true for everyone. Why else would we have hats?
Hats, like everything, at least for me, are a double-edged swords. In the world where I grew up, men did not wear hats. Especially, the children of men did not wear hats. Seen as an affectation, seen as a egotistic flourish in bad taste like too much gaudy glass jewelry all in one place with lack of color coordination, hats were a form of sin. Pride. Breaking the rules. Disobedience against the silent code, even.

It’s taken a long time to grow out of that. The first foray was into ball caps. I come from a sports family, the argument could even be made that without what sports did for my father, e.g., give him his education, and I don’t mean just the degree, so much more came to and from him around an incredibly well honed balance of healthy competition and a profound deep sense of fair play which he extended to everyone, well not only would I have not come to be alive, I simply would have missed so many values that are important to me, that pursue me even, when I am not living quite up to snuff.

I have a collection of ball caps that have meaning to me, as our family, in some kind of unspoken homage, has even done family reunions in a ball park, a place where all of us had permission to wear hats.
Lately, since I no longer have to pretend towards that persona that carried me through my professional life as a serious and reserved person, I’ve gotten a little more creative with hats. Sherpa hats; several other kinds of knit hats, and I’m even contemplating a trapper hat. Hoodies, I guess you could say, comprise some kinf of hat function, and I have a closet full of them. Hoodies also have meaning for me sijnce, the age of 5 way before they were appropriated by popular culture. That’s a long story that probably is best served by another separate piece of writing, but suffice it to say, you don’t forget what you are wearing or how you are feeling the first time you experience the joy of making and having a friend. Thank you, blessed Karma for that, for I cannot unknow it.

Our costumes define our roles, and the most important thing is to not believe we are the roles we take upon. I will confess, since I suffer from gender dysphoria, I have always been jealous of the many masquerades women have permission to display as part of their roles. But I have been saddened by the wisdom that its not so much a permission so much as it is a requirement. I read a great artilce called “American Burqa” which clearly showed me that the cosmetic masking women do is often for defense, not quite as much for creative expression I imagine it to be. I have been saddened in general that being female, which has so much potential for affective and creative sensitivity is often instead a burden, much like freedom, perhaps. Inescapable, but not without so many perils, from untoward attentions to lethal domestic traps, literal and figurative.

But back to hats, and my secret love of them. The best function of hats is probably that ability bloom into overt florescence of self-declared whimsy. They allow me to play with roles, try them on in a very small and modest sort of way, and take on a slant, an accent and a slant of a slightly different view of self without committing anything other to it than the top of my head. Creativity, like a tightly knit hat in winter’s chill, keeps us warm.

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