thrift store mysticism

I treat thrift store shopping as a mystical experience, as a spiritual discipline.

Being somewhat of a mystic, and a massive optimist (see my post “curvilinear optimism“), I tend to believe that the Universe (or the Divine if you prefer) provides what we need to accomplish our missions in life as we need it (or immediately before).

Today I went to Goodwill and found four perfectly-fitting ladies’ business suits. All match my design ethic of “obvious femininity”—i.e., they are not simply men’s styles adapted for women. All have skirts, because, as readers of this blog know, I refuse to wear pants. All were well-made and extremely inexpensive.

The occasion is timely: I’m preparing to meet regularly with potential investors in the startup I contract with, representing the technical side of the company (I currently serve indirectly as that company’s R&D leader). Therefore I need managerial-level business attire, and a lot of it.

My optimistic, mystical self interpreted this Goodwill shopping haul as a “sign” that I’m “ready” for the business responsibility coming my way.

Asserting the Feminine

I stressed above the “obvious femininity” of the outfits. Feminism in the 1970’s and 1980’s urged women in corporate America to “act more like men”. That ethic led to women’s suit designs that really just mimicked masculine designs. (Shoulder pads, anyone?).

But diminishing the feminine to advance in the business world only marginalizes femininity in general—and makes many women simply unhappy. The truth is, while gender definitely moves on a spectrum at individual resolution, as a whole we can argue that women differ from men. We can argue further that that difference can (and should) add just as much value to the corporate world as masculine traits do.

So I for one will only wear business attire that screams “feminine”. I will not mimic a man. And I’ve taken a hit in corporate America for doing so… but I don’t give a shit because I know women are the future of business (but that’s a whole different topic).

Part of this practice goes back to my early days of living as a woman, where I learned quickly that to be called “she” I had to wear extremely feminine attire. In other words, I had to donate all my t-shirts to Goodwill and stop wearing pants. Now that my face has been surgically modified, my voice is higher in pitch, and my hair is longer I no longer experience this issue. But my memory proves long…

Strange Effects

The corporation I hold majority shares in gives 10% of its income to secular charities. Goodwill Industries of San Diego receives most of it, and the cash donations are made through local stores. As a result, the staff of the North County Goodwill stores have come to know me, resulting in two unexpected effects:

First, recognizing that my personal style is almost entirely constructed from thrift store finds, they now seek my opinion on displays, which I am thrilled to give. It’s nice to be seen as a style authority!

Second, the women working in these stores have become familiar with the kinds of items I typically look for, so when I enter a store I can now find these women first-thing and ask for recommendations based on their knowledge of what has recently been placed on the racks. But they don’t just try to accommodate my style, they suggest their own ideas. This proves fun for everyone involved.

The money the business gives created this situation, but the fact that I’m simply nice to everybody nurtures it along.

See Also

curvilinear optimism

draft lyrics: “Gutter Priestess”

Mystic in a concrete kingdom
Sensitive and ambitious
A live-wire and its conduit
Bold and powerless in transmission

Mystic in a concrete kingdom
We dwell in grandiosity
In this existential wasteland
We dwell in poverty

Light up your Joules per second
Eject your free energy
Spike that ball and give it to me

Priestess in the concrete patriarchy
in the gutter
in your mind and in your ego

Priestess at the concrete interface
at the resistance
at the critical nodes
We drive the New Girls’ Network

Ignite your Joules per second
Transmit your free energy
Spike that ball and give it to me

prophetess of Diesel and blistering entropy
reckless information and persistent decay
beacon of persuasion and persistent connection
spike that ball and give it to me
spike that ball and give it to me
spike that ball and give it to me

feminine Chakras

I’m a bit of a mystic, and draw my practices and insight from multiple mystical traditions. My experiences mostly relate to Christian mysticism, which is largely ignored in the West, but I get around: I’ve prayed in Hindu ceremonies, dropped LSD to vision quest, and experienced healing through Sufi faith-healing rituals; to name a few.

So I think often about “energy” in a spiritual context. Nothing measurable in Joules (I used to be a mechanical engineer)–we are talking about something transcendent. Good vibes, bad vibes. Adding an engineering equation to the discussion, we can talk about “power” as “energy flow per second”. In mystical terms we can say “power” is “energy flow”: Then we can speak of optimism as power source and pessimism as power sink. Depression as power blackhole.

A few writers and lecturers talk about feminine energy versus masculine energy. (We are ignoring the complication of the non-binary here). At first I did not know what to do with this information. I certainly noticed my spirituality become more feminine over the last three years. So much that when I was once denied entrance to a male-only section of a mosque I visited, I felt “right with the universe”. (I accidentally tried to enter the male-only section, would never do that on purpose).

A lecturer I really like stated that feminine energy emits from the womb-space [4]. I discovered her while searching for resources to help me increase my feminine presence and decrease my masculine one.

Then a friend of mine told me about Chakras from the tantric traditions. These are (mystical) energetic focal points of the body meant to be awakened and mastered [1], presumably through spiritual practice like some forms of yoga.

Combining these two ideas I considered the possible intersection of Chakra practice with developing feminine energy. Immediately turned to Google…

Indeed the Chakras themselves are divided into feminine and masculine ones. The first resource I found, [2], stated that the goal is to bring the masculine and feminine energy into alignment.

I’ll have no part of that! This girl will have nothing to do with a masculine psyche and spirit.

But [3] had something really great to say about the “lower three” Chakras, the “feminine” Chakras.

These are the first three rungs on the energetic ladder that lift us up to achieve loftier goals while giving us a stable base on which to stand.

I like this! A lot. Read this as a spiritual mandate to get my feminine energy in tune with the universe. Expect I’ll experience significantly better mental health if I do.

References

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra

2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16169/5-ways-to-access-your-divine-feminine-through-your-sacral-chakra.html

3. https://www.lightworkersworld.com/2013/04/the-feminine-chakras-wellbeing-worthiness-and-weight/

4.