A Suit Of A Happy Soul
Is meaningful, fulfilling work a path to the fulfilled life, life that we associate with something called happiness?
Immigrants are capable of performing the hardest tasks and enduring the most difficult conditions in order to reach a place of safety or a place with a better life.
But is there a life for an immigrant beyond playing the role of an immigrant, beyond the offerings of a system through which the immigrants are accepted? Often they can, at best, project themselves through the lives of their children.
Can immigrants then, with a brave further step, engage in the pursuit of their own aspirations, their dream (work) and creations? Is an aspiration and a continuous striving enough to carry anyone through their life towards that something called happiness?
Can writing a poem/poetry make an immigrant’s life fulfilled? And is the successful life the only fulfilled life? I don’t know any more. I have been an immigrant for a long time now, but still only for half of my life so far.
Since long time ago many professions are associated with immigrants. Even the stereotyped occupations for immigrants can lead to a fulfilled life. One of them is the occupation of tailor. Creating a suit for another person is a profession of the highest responsibility.
Stitching pieces of fabric that will eventually become a suit is like stitching together seemingly disconnected parts of our lives.
Even more, there is something that is called the fabric of society. And the immigrants are stitching together seemingly disconnected parts of Social Fabric, taking on whatever job or challenge is given to them.
In one of my favourite plays, a heroine comes on the stage and declares: “Clothes, I need clothes… Clothes… they have their lives. They like to be out, exposed, involved; marked by experience. Then they acquire their own characters and longevity; resistance to accidents and disasters. Then they become our shields.”
Most of us have a favourite garment, a cardigan, inherited, or a jacket, left by a dear old friend, that envelops us with absolute comfort and a feeling of safety. Aware of our vulnerability, with the archaic need to acquire additional protection, or additional power, we seek and we make our clothes.
In an interview for FT, some time ago, Patti Smith tells that one of her most cherished possession that she’d lost was a slightly tattered black coat that belonged to a poet, who had given it to her. She’d worn it everywhere: to the opera, on the beach, in the summer and the winter. She’d slept in it. She’d loved it so much she’d wanted to be buried in it. And somehow it had disappeared.
To have a bespoke suit made for oneself is almost an act of rite of passage. Some of them involve completing hard tasks; such as acquiring the Nemean lion hide for Hercules. Or acquiring the Golden Fleece for Jason. Those decisions mean no longer relying on acts of providence that might or might not bestow on us mythical garments.
The decision to have a bespoke suit made for oneself is a feat. A quest. And here is where we meet a tailor who is in the role of an artisan as much as an alchemist. The profession of tailor is a life long engagement with humanity through which deep connections are established. It is one of those professions where the process of learning is continuous.
A bespoke tailor will guide us through the maize of possible choices to our own decision on fabric, lining and styling. From that cloth there will come a suit to be wrapped around us with all the elements of a mythical garment. But this time of personal choice, for the person as one is, and with no interference from fate.
There will be plenty of work to be done by tailor(s). From pattern cutting and sewing by hand, to the first and the second fitting.
But six weeks to make a bespoke suit in the age of instant satisfaction!?
Still, some of those mythical quests took years to complete. They take time, through which we change and we stay the same.
And than we put that suit on and we have a bit more awareness about ourselves and a bit more connection with other things around us. The understanding of how things happen to be. From a bespoke wish to a bespoke suit. And with that understanding we can move from one bespoke wish to another.
And then there is the time in which a tailor will be waiting for a customer to return. A tailor must work in a way that the customer would want to return. He creates that body armor, that invisible shield, with just enough space left for the growth of a soul.
Copyright ES 2021.
Working on the SELMA project on Displacement, Gender and Health led by Imogen brought myself together with fellow creative people Anan, Bumi and Sabrina.
Two of our on-line workshops were exceptional chance to share our thoughts and artistic visions. We were inspiring to each other; we were able to talk freely and openly about our experiences.