The hoodies have been a hot topic since Trayvon Martin. I have a hoodie story. Tonight in MA I heard a share that reminded me of my own experience. This person had just returned from a trip. Visiting friends in sobriety for the first time was a change. They found their name returned, the nickname of stoner was left behind but that wasn’t all. They shared about leaving a hoodie behind by accident. It was significant because this hoodie had been their favorite hoodie to get high in, almost a companion, an article of their former stoney stupper. Leaving it behind was like leaving behind old skin, an outward symbolic gesture of an internal change of spirit, the lifting of an addictive affliction.
I know this story because I share it. I remember my hoodie well. It was my favorite – brown – like the color of my sequestered light. It was also so very, very cool. It read “East Bay” and above the written words were a picture of the East Bay’s famous bay symbol the huge loading cranes. Yes, the same ones that inspired George Lucas’ vision for the imperial walkers in Star Wars. I received complement after complement on my hoodie. I bought the damn thing when I was working in the cannabis industry. I was earning tons of money, working with brilliant people all working on their master’s degrees like myself… We were truly exceptional. But over the years as I watched my addiction develop and my dreams grow dim and distant my sweat shirt (hoodie) took on a new identity, one less attractive and more oppressive, less alternative and more devastating. I smoked relentlessly in this hoodie. I would go out of my way to wear it. Days on end I would wear it; it begin to be synonymous with stoner Adam. I would go for periods without it. I would be living and find myself smoking some weed again and look down to find me wearing the damn thing. It was unconscious; it was also convincing voice, a living symbol.
I will never forget the day I gave it away. I had meet a wonder man in a cannabis dispensary. He was a friend to me when I had no friends. Somehow I offered it to him and he accepted. I had a distinct feeling that I was not only giving him my hoodie that I loved but I was giving him my addiction, my smoking. I remember almost feeling guilty about giving him this… like it was a curse I was giving away. Somehow this was true. I stopped smoking. The hoodie is gone.
Now I have different hoodies. Hoodies that represent what I’m doing now. I have a hoodie from a school program I worked for. I have a hoodie from Glide that says “LOVE” across the front. Things are different now. Things are much, much better now.
It is strange how symbolic life becomes… It is beautiful to see the correspondence. They are guide-posts toward liberation.
This picture is from the good times and it shows.