Depending on what door you enter a building through, your mannerisms, your _; the same data/information will be interpreted differently as narratives are woven about you. Who you are. How much (if) you matter. What opportunities (or violence) will be visited upon you. This isn’t fair, this isn’t necessarily right, and yet it is.

I’m trying to learn better the language of clothing, to be able to see class, flows of capital, assumptions, et al. by the patterning of leather shoes, by bags and other baubles. I was raised in ill-fitting donated T-Shirts and frayed pants, my father disdainful of clothing with biker aspirations crashing headlong into his Christianity. For my daughter, I’m trying to help her understand when her clothing is ripped, or stained so she can choose her presentation (even though the style she consistently chooses could best be described as rainbow barf). There is some urgency here as I suspect middle school in girl world (often) is a brutal harrowing in ways I don’t truly understand… with the battlefield shaped by and fought through with clothing, sexual politics, rumors and all attacks that shoot across the bow of relationships & esteem. I want her to have more tools, more agency in dress… don’t wish for her to have to upskill from illiteracy even as puberty eplodes like a torrent.

Something I took from the book practical typography’ is that you can’t not communicate; from the font on your resume, to the style of your pants you’re saying all manner of things -intentional or not.

In all things status and class, I seek to hack. To steal ideas, possibilities from classes and (sub)cultures around me to find a way through the future with flourishing for me and mine and as many others as I can given my strength and limitations. This is important as the middle class american lifescript fueled in the past by inflating house prices and more humane to ratio of income vs healthcare, housing, and the other essentials falters, shatters in the face of the future (if it ever truly worked at all).

My car is old and damaged. I can do many repairs to save money, intend to drive it into the ground. But in the meantime, I can hack to make it look like the car of an adventurer rather than simply one who can’t afford better. Perhaps to communicate this as choice, not poverty.

My apartment is old, the building shifts and its bones creak and crack. I can claim sovereignty to modify it, to read as higher status. In the process, I gain skills. In the process, with fumbling, halting steps I begin to see ways and possibilities of presentation and arrangement of space, fabric, color rather than relying on prebought premium mediocre gloss of faux granite over particle board.

My life is a tumble of signals; bits and baubles stolen by the goblin-crow scavenger in me, woven together by my syncretic instincts to bricolage a life.

Up next In the Absence This story originally appeared in Girl at the End of the World Melissa laced her fingers around the cup of coffee, drawing in heat I never regret camping. I never regret going out dancing. I never regret writing. I never regret having an adventure with my kid. I never regret
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