|Vintage thrifted fisherman sweater; thrifted J Crew chambray shirt; thrifted Gap corduroys; thrifted J Crew boots; thrifted vintage Coach bag.|
It's 1986. I'm in the sixth grade. I have long, frizzy hair that tangles into knots the size of my fist and a binder covered with Lisa Frank stickers. My class is putting on a off-off-off-off Broadway production of a play loosely based on Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (don't ask.) I have been cast as The Sun. This is the penultimate moment of my short, unremarkable theatrical career. I spend weeks memorizing my line, reciting it with the same vigor Shakespearean actors reserve for gut-retching, macabre soliloquies about death. This is a big deal. I am an Actor, and not just any actor - I am The Sun. This is my time.
A week before my performance, I am ushered into the girls room, where a shrill collective of PTA mothers have prepared my costume - a long-sleeved leotard, flimsy sheer skirt, and tights. All in yellow. And not a pale, delicate, dainty yellow. No, this is an aggressive, harsh yellow, the same shade used on street signs to alert traffic and painted on school buses to ensure the safety of children. There was nothing glamorous or regal about this costume. In the harsh light of the bathroom, it looked cheap and unfinished. Where was my crown of glistening diamonds, my scepter, my royal robes edged in sumptuous fur? Where were my golden slippers and dazzling rings? And, while I was asking, what about my private dressing room, appointed with white lilies, diet Coke chilled to precisely 42 degrees and bowls of red Skittles? This was an outrage.
I was instantly reminded of this incident when I thrifted these yellow corduroys this week. Corduroy always reminds me of school, with it's strong ties to chilly late autumn weather. And yellow triggers memories of my early theatrical experience, traumatic as it was.
Somehow I learned to function without my royal robes and luxurious appointments, and make yellow work for me. Perhaps that acting thing wasn't so bad after all.