Starting Friday, I'm taking an extra long-weekend, the primary activity during which will be sewing.
(Brief sidebar, in case y'all are wondering: We're going to wait on the reno till March/April of 2017. The crew was actually organized to start next week, but with all of the stuff
going on with Scott's parents - and all of the prep work we've yet to undertake, it seems prudent to defer until
then. Scott was the one who pulled this trigger but I can't disagree
with his motives. Mind you, I have informed all involved that - if this
fucking renovation doesn't start the moment the ground thaws next spring - people are going to perish
and/or get divorced. Metaphorically, I mean.)
But back to the sewing. I recently came across the StyleArc Charlie skirt:
Don't judge! What's the harm in wearing a pull-on skirt if you can't tell that there's an elastic waist (the front is flat and sports a faux fly)? I've got some woven rayon denim with @20 per cent stretch and I think it's going to do the trick.
Alas, I purchased the online pattern in a multi-size 10-12-14 (these three come in the same batch though they're not nested) and there's a point to be made that I might have purchased the 14-16-18 pack. How I wish they offered a 12-14-16... I also wish that StyleArc gave better sizing information on the website (or even on the pattern/in the envelope).
Here's the thing, I do not sew without making alterations, so any size I bought would have had to be altered. In this instance - having heard that the Charlie fits snug - I took my latest hip/waist measurements and compared them with those of the size 14 the pattern. I mean, I didn't just look at the envelope. I measured all of the seams, minus the seam allowances, did the math and altered (pre muslin 1, that is). I'm glad I did because I cannot stand tightness around my waist or hips right now. I need skim. And that means it was prudent to add an inch to the finished hip measurement and 1.5 inches to the waist. Sure, the stretch in my fabric may pick up the slack, but I'd rather have larger seam allowances than a muslin that feels like casing.
I'm not going to get into it, but yesterday's measurement experience was a shock. I haven't noticed huge increases in my dimensions when regularly measuring (simply small encroaching ones) but it appears that my hips are @2 inches larger than they used to be and my waist is a good 4 inches larger than it used to be. By used to be, I mean 4 years ago. Fuck. To clarify: When I took these measurements, I was not bloated. I had not just eaten.
Here's the situation, Ladies: When you go through the Change - the never-fucking-ending-eternal process of perimenopause, you may observe no meaningful transition in your body, in your mental capacity, in your physical well being, in your sense of self. And if you fall into that category you are either truly blessed (and you have ALL of my envy) or you're totally unaware (and you still have my envy).*
You may, however, expand disproportionately in some areas of your body. I regret to inform you that it's probably a foregone conclusion based on your family genetics. Those also of Puerto Rican and Italian heritage, you have all of my apple-ish-shaped empathy.** Sure, you can starve yourself. I have a friend who eats, shall we say, lightly - but she doesn't particularly enjoy food and she's struggled with digestive issues for her entire life. But the truth is, you may be so fucking beside yourself, half the time, that food and wine will be amongst the only things that you can still relate to.
I'm having an interesting ride - as you know - though my cycle continues to be of German-precision, if changing. I've got the trifecta of midsection thickening, intermittent chronic pain (rather bad right now, sadly) AND sometimes I feel as if I'm going crazy. When I was a teenager, I remember a family relative, by marriage, was admitted to an institution because she'd come unhinged in midlife. When I asked my mother what could possibly have happened, she told me it was menopause-related, that many of this woman's close blood relatives had experienced the same thing. (Note: They have all recovered and have gone on to live happy lives after an extended stay in hospital.) At that time, I told my mother that she was obviously misinformed - that it couldn't possibly be so. But right about now, I kind of get it.
Don't misunderstand - while I am totally having a midlife crisis, I am not down for the count. Though I'm struggling - because pretty well all of my internal stability has been perfunctorily upended - I still view this as reintegration via disintegration.
But once again, back to the topic at hand...
I'm going to spend the weekend figuring out how to make a spectacular pull-on skirt that looks totally legit and hangs beautifully. I'm going to sew the shit out of that thing. And when I'm not doing that, I'm going to practice my strange version of yoga/bodywork to ameliorate pain, have some meaningful conversation with my husband (as the kids are calling it these days) and eat and drink less than I might like (but more than perhaps I should).
Stay tuned. It'll be interesting.
* And just to reassure you, or to scare you, I (the poster-child of hateful perimenopause) am rather grateful to say that I don't experience many of the dozens of unfortunate symptoms that can inform the perimenopausal experience. Point is that even I fall somewhere on the "it could be much worse" continuum.
**To clarify: I know that I am within weight and height norms. I realize that I am not technically overweight, even if my waist circumference isn't at the healthy low end (according to some possibly fallible medical association). I realize that norms and "scientific" standards are neither normal nor standard and that we are all unique. I realize that all shapes can be beautiful (or not - it's very person-specific) because of and despite weight, shape and size. I know that youth is as it does. I know that age levels the playing-field. I know that style is timeless, but one's style may change.
All I'm talking about here is ME. I'm talking about how I used to look a certain way that I liked and that I could relate to. I used to feel good in my body, not wracked with pain. I used to feel capable physically and predominantly healthy, not afraid of what may come. And I am not that person right now. But I assure you, I'm doing my very best to be a new person - one with much more insight, intelligence, agility and self-acceptance than I currently feel. So when I speak of my body issues, they are mine. Don't think for a minute that I extend them to anyone else.