Enjoy the Podcast
Not sure if you have had the chance to read some of my earlier posts, where I talk about my early life and when I lived happily with my mother in a nice house, a nice life, just so very happy. That all changed when my mom decided to follow my father to the United States, and my life went from a beautiful happy home to the depths of the city sewer.
I really struggled when I arrived in the States. I mean I was just a child and did not know what was going on, but each day brought a new and terrible experience, but of course, there were happy times and good experiences as well. That’s where the title of my post comes in. I remember one day in my life when something I wore created an important memory, which I believe was an event that also placed me on the path I am now on.
As I mentioned before we were very poor and nice or new clothes were not an option. I mean we struggled to get new clothes for the new school year. Most of my clothes came from a thrift store, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but kids can be cruel; some of the clothes came about from donations. Now, I remember my 8th grade graduation, it happened to be the first time we were able to get something new, and in this case, it was a nice three-piece suit for my graduation. It consisted of slacks, a shirt, a vest, a jacket, and of course a tie. I also had the opportunity to get a new pair of shiny shoes. I remember showing up at school that day and remember that even my friends could not recognize me. I even got a few looks from the ladies, which of course never hurts a young man’s ego. I remember how I felt, as though I was walking on air, like one of the cool kids. I got compliments from friends, fellow students, and even teachers – it really felt good. I never wanted that feeling to go away. It was the first time in a very long time that I felt as though I belonged, I was accepted, as though I was part of everything around me. That was the second time in my life that I knew what I wanted, and where I wanted to be. The last time I had this feeling was in a very different situation if you recall I was in the back of a Safeway with my mom searching for food and I had an “aha moment”. That night behind Safeway and my graduation day were the same feelings that I wanted to have for the rest of my life.
For some reason that suit made everyone treat me different, even though I was the same poor kid underneath it. People acknowledge my presence and it felt good. Does that make me a bad person, wanting to belong, and be recognized? It is sad, but even today, I noticed that if you go anywhere looking like you just got up or hadn’t showered in a long time, people look at you differently than when you get dressed up. If you think about it, you are that same person underneath both types of clothing. We hear and see a lot about not judging a book by its cover, but many still judge, even the ones that say they don’t, still secretly do it under our breath.
That three-piece suit was a powerful memory, one that I believe had something to do with where I am now and maybe where I wanted to be when I was younger. That three-piece suit was my first set of new clothes, it was the first time I felt important, that I belonged; it made me feel really good – my three-piece suit.
For all the memories we all have, good or bad, I leave you with this thought, “Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action – Helen Gahagan Douglas”.