Dressing Down

hand-painted silk, 1987


As I was getting dressed this morning I realized that I would need to dress down a bit.

The reason for this being a visit to the Santa Fe Water Department to apply for economic assistance. Water here is pricy and I do my best to conserve but the bills are still higher than I can afford.

And so.. I realize from past experience hunkering down for the long wait in some gross, green flickering florescence with my sisters/brothers-in-need

That I can’t look rich.

Or even good.

My life has been blessed with a great education, family of means, all the perks of the 1% I suppose.

The fact that I love beauty, fineness, thought provoking anything,

Appreciate a good hair cut (an angelic friend gifts me each month! Can you imagine??!!!),

And enjoy presenting myself as a woman who appreciates style

Is a downright no no at any governmental assistance agency.

When I first applied for Social Security years ago I was counseled to pretty much dress like a bag lady, not shower for days, wear no jewelry or make-up and not smile.

I got the point: If you look good you can’t REALLY be in need.

This mind set is something which shadows me constantly.

Looking put together in the water department today with my hand out likely will not add to the likelihood of success.

Out in my world rolling around holding myself as a woman who is not a victim to her circumstances is supported by a myriad of un-intentional connections

As folks seem interested in chancing to chat with me.

This is great for me and them.

I am quite sure it would be a different story were I smelly and dressed in tatters.


4 Responses to “Dressing Down”

  1. Cathy on September 3rd, 2014

    This from a reader wishing to remain anonymous :

    Hi, Cathy – Once again, I was emotionally moved by your dressing down piece. I want to leave comments that others can see, but don’t want all the info required to comment listed. I don’t mind just KK or even KK Wilder, but it won’t take my comment that way. I want to say my reaction to this piece was actually visceral. Also, where do you get the pictures that accompany your pieces? How old are you, Cathy? I might have already told you I’m 72. Thank you.


  2. Cathy on September 3rd, 2014

    All images are of my own work over my 30 year career. Thank you for asking… and being out there reading.

    ps- I am 59.

  3. Barry on September 4th, 2014

    Not showering for days may be taking it to far, but I am confident that you can design just the right “pitiful” to get what you need. I know you have a lot of pride, but your powerful intellect/logic is teaching you when to set it aside to serve your also powerful sense of survival.

  4. laura Hegfield on September 10th, 2014

    too true… what an odd world we live in.

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