This week started out feeling more like winter than autumn. Before taking the dog outside, I put on my Cuddl Duds, a flannel shirt, lined pants, my Carhartt coat, thick socks, and boots. I layered up so that I didn’t shiver while my dog explored the entire yard.
Wearing all these layers made me think of Aunt Ann, my grandmother’s sister. Aunt Ann always layered her dresses and wore several at the same time. Other memories I have of her are that she carried a huge purse that contained many treasures. No matter what “trinket” we kids found for her—a piece of colored glass, a rock, or a wild flower—it went into the purse. In an old family photo, she is holding my brother Donnie and me. As I zoomed it in, I noticed that I had on a rhinestone necklace, no doubt courtesy of Aunt Ann.
Aunt Ann’s layers were obvious, but all of us have layers. Sometimes, it’s hard to get past the hard outer shell to find the goodness beneath. The armor we wear hides our vulnerabilities from those we don’t want poking around in our business.
To the casual acquaintance who we meet by chance, we answer the question, “How are you?” with the trite, “Fine, and how are you?” We don’t want to open up about our troubles and woes. We use our protective layer as a shield to hide our weaknesses.
With close friends and certain family members, we peel back several layers to share a more vulnerable side. When we know someone is not going to judge us, or try to “fix” our problems, we share more of ourselves.
The luckiest of us have a best friend that we could share some of our darkest secrets with and know that no matter what happens, those secrets are always safe. This is a layer that lies deep within our inner being. It is important to recognize that if a secret is hurtful to the one you are telling it to, carefully examine your motive. The safest way to share secrets is with a licensed therapist who cannot reveal your conversations to others.
With all the layers humans have, we may question if we truly know what another human thinks, feels, or is capable of doing. Recently, a man in our town was arrested on a cold case from another state. Investigative genealogical DNA linked him to a burglary and sexual assault. People that knew him were adamant that he was not capable of such a heinous crime. He was a neighbor, a well-loved Sunday school teacher, and a standup guy. But DNA doesn’t lie, unless he has an evil identical twin.
Sometimes layers aren’t hidden at all. All this talk about layers brought back a memory of a bath time incident that I had written about in my journal.
From Indelible a memoir in progress:
Jim enjoyed soaking in the tub, so I decided to brush my teeth. Before I realized it, he walked across the bathroom floor, dripping wet. I led him back to the bathmat, and pulled a towel off the rack to dry him. He didn’t help me and just stood like a statue while I dried him.
“Here, put these on.” Jim slowly put his feet through the leg holes and pulled the boxers up. “Now for the T-shirt,” I told him as I placed the item of clothing in his hands. After the T-shirt was on, he sat on the bathroom floor and slowly pulled on his socks and sweatpants. Finally! He was ready for bed.
Jim settled in front of the TV to watch a Walker rerun, and I took my bath. When I emerged from the bathroom, Jim was fully clothed with his jeans pulled over his sweatpants. If I undressed him, he would just dress again, so I decided the best plan was to wait until bedtime.J
Layers. We all have them. Some are complicated psychological layers, while others are simply how we pile on our clothes to stay warm.
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Copyright © October 2022 by L.S. Fisher