“the art of the clown is calculated improvisation.” (Suarès)

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Not gonna lie. I was pretty excited about my #clownchic on this day, so when I, in clownery fashion, spilled tea on my shirt I was excited, like a five year old, to wear to tap class before walking in to teach my first class, I was frustrated by my own imperfect coordination. But that seemed to only prove what bodies are – fallible and graceful all at once. I got to a sink to rectify the tea stain just in time to resolve it and for it to dry! before embarrassing myself in front of my students (or perhaps, my teacher, that evening). So here’s the documentation throughout the day, finished with some before and after shots of the watermark on my shirt. Astaire on the front, and Kelly, not pictured, on the back. An extra bonus: taking some self portraits in front of the barber shop I won’t tag because of its implied masculinism. But at least I may have shook things up for them for at least a minute or two, taking up space in their see through glass. #clownchic #baesjacket #ourshoeswebothown #ruffles #thebodyisimperfect #butiwouldnthaveitanyotherway

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a beginning.

I suppose the easiest way to begin is to say that I didn’t always think of clothing as something I could construct meaning out of, or that I could think of my body as a vessel that said something specifically about the body which I dressed as I made my way out into the world.

That brings us to the first point, which is the point of being twinned.

What I mean to say is that because I was twinned, because I was a body that was doubled in the world, at least, that is how I was seen, how I was handled, how clothes to be placed on my body were approached with me, then that meant that I didn’t really think too much about the role clothes played in individuating the self.

Not at first, anyway.

I was twinned, which meant that I was dressed. Almost always identically. There were times, I suppose, in which one of us wore one color and the other of us wore another color. There were times in which we fought over who would wear what version of the same outfit. Then there were times in which my father bought two versions of the same ensemble and held each version in each hand behind his back. We were asked to pick a hand, and then we were dictated to that we were not allowed to fight, because it had been democratic. There were times my twin insisted I was wearing hers of the same shoes. At which point my father commanded that we write our initials into the bottoms of the insides of the shoes so there would again be nothing to fight over.

Why was it we always wanted what the other had, even when it was the same? This is an unanswerable question, no matter at which stage of life the twin asks it.

But, to get back to it. I spent a good amount of time being dressed the same. And then I spent a good amount of time accidentally dressing in the same clothes as my twin in the next room. (She always made me change before it was time to leave for school.) And then I spent a good amount of time wearing colors that would help me recede into the background, to vanish, as it were, from scrutiny. And then, something changed.

That something happened in graduate school, when a poet I was working with wrote something to me in one of her first letters of our semester working together. She said that it made sense that I would gravitate to imagery, because if everyone sees my twin and I the same, then how we saw the world would be the thing that differentiated us.

But, this did something to me beyond the role imagery played in my writing life, and why.

This made me perceive of my body as a different kind of vessel, as one in which I could assume a different kind of individuality, a word that remains mysterious and hard to reach. And yet. Through clothing I try to queer myself, to change the narrative, to de-twin my twinned body. More of this will be said soon enough. But for now, let’s let it stand as a beginning to this exploration of the curated body, of the body as an object to be adorned and brought out into the world.