image © 2012 Aline Giordano
text © 2013 Aline Giordano
The first time I noticed something was weird was when I used to put my judo kimono on. I must have been seven or eight years old. I would go to my bedroom and put on the kimono trousers. I would slip on the heavy cotton fabric jacket. Then, I would do the belt up. It would have been a yellow belt most probably. While waiting in my room for mother to call me, I would feel strange. I would have tingles in my arms, so I would wrap them around my chest to try and stop the tingling. I would then grab my arms with my hands and ask: ‘Is this real? Who am I? Why me?’ Mother would call me and I’d snap out of my wondering state and get in the car to fight those kids on the tatami mats.
My counsellor’s theory was that the kimono reminded me of my Eastern Asian roots. The ritual of putting on the kimono reached out beyond my consciousness. It made sense at the time. It made sense because I wanted it to make sense. This was one of the first signs of acknowledging my roots and with them the trauma of being abandoned days after being born. Still, could it be true? Could such ritual tap into the consciousness of my ancestors (assuming such a thing exists)?