Leopard Print (Tarot of Michelle)

Classy and tacky: accept cognitive dissonance and follow your flair. Let your freak flag fly!

Illustration by the author

My appreciation for leopard print probably began when I was in my 20s. I could never make up my mind whether it was classy or cheesy (it’s both), but it was always cool, fun and playful. I had a leopard print jumpsuit, a leopard print jacket, and various other items of leopard print clothing. I even painted my motorcycle and helmet yellow and green leopard print!

The leopard print theme really accelerated in my 30s. When we bought a travel trailer, I bought a big bolt of leopard print fabric that seemed to go on forever, and made curtains for the trailer out of it. After we bought a house, I covered the couch cushions with the same leopard print fabric; there was a leopard print rug in the living room, and a leopard print comforter on the bed. (The living room curtains were a tropical parrot-on-a-palm-leaf theme.) For the holidays, I put a glass leopard print ornament on the “tree,” and one year I made tiny leopard print Christmas stockings to give as gifts. And of course I accumulated more leopard print clothing, jackets, hats and scarves. 

At one point, I thought it would be fun to have an entirely leopard print wardrobe. Yet I never got around to buying leopard print underwear or socks. Somehow, I’m not sure when or why, the leopard print obsession became less my thing and more my partner’s thing. So it slowly phased out of my wardrobe.

An early draft of the leopard print card

Now, a decade later, I know someone who truly does have a mostly leopard print wardrobe. It suits her so well, and she always looks fabulous, fun and cool. Could that have been me, I wonder, if I’d followed my flair to a more stylish conclusion? Maybe, maybe not. My wardrobe has gravitated more toward the practical and less toward the fun over the years. Could it still be me? I suppose so, but really, I don’t think I could ever do maximum leopard print as well as Heidi does!

Regardless, leopard print remains a reminder to me to have fun, to have the occasional frivolous or silly project, to play, to dress up, and not take myself so seriously. Leopard print reminds me that I need to let my outward appearance reflect my inner color and creativity; I must let my light shine instead of creeping about camouflaged. I must let my freak flag fly more often! Leopard print reminds me that taste is a matter of opinion, and I must become more comfortable with cognitive dissonance: it is both classy and tacky. Tacky is probably more fun!

A story behind one of the cards in The Tarot of Michelle. Follow the developmental art as a Patron on Patreon.

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