Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Just Right

Let's shake it up today, let's go light...*

Let's talk about how, when you go through a big experience or 5 (like a couple of moves, a reno, transitioning a new government or having a kid grow up and go away for a while), your body may change in any number of ways. And when it changes, chances are none of your clothes, namely bras, will fit. And if you've just moved, your stash of bras in every size may be nowhere to be found.

No joke - I have spent the last few months looking increasingly unglamorous. But I don't judge. For starters, I don't have time. Then there's the whole energy thing. I mean, I've gone to work without makeup. Multiple days in a row. My work bestie Michael loves to say to me, whenever feasible: Hey, you washed your hair! (I feel compelled to confirm that, whenever I have fancy meetings I find my best fitting garments, wear makeup and do wash my hair. But the rest of the time...)

Here's a thing that I haven't had a lot of exposure to in the past: shrinking size, NO fucking tone. I mean, in all of my past, even if I was unhappy with the dimensions of my shape, I was toned. Tone was kind of my thing. What with massive over-training (I now understand) and a tendency towards tautness, I've sometimes had a layer of fat I disliked, but it was nicely held in place by a few muscles and firm skin.

I've done approximately no yoga in 6 months. In truth, I've done relatively little to maintain fitness in the last 18 months (I mean, practically nothing by my standards), but in the past 6 months it's been a non-starter. I've also been walking less than usual because I'm always late for something - work, inspections - or in pain. (Ain't gonna get into this topic now, but be assured that pain management is a constant.) Unquestionably, if you want to maintain your health in the face of a degenerative but remitting condition, you should not be leading my current lifestyle.

Then there's the fact that I've been nauseated for 6 months. When I say I can't eat, I'm not joking. I'm actually starting to wonder if my hideous 7-months of morning sickness wasn't caused as much by pregnancy hormones as by stress hormones. I routinely have to stop myself from throwing up by any means possible. I'll go days only able to eat one food - like a toddler. Hot dogs and custard win by volume. If hot dogs are actually poison, I should be more worried than I am. Sometimes wine is the only thing that I can stomach. I know this is not optimal. Honestly, its tangy, astringent taste turns off the sick-feeling so that I can eat a few bites of food. Alas, at this point, wine has also started to turn my stomach so I can't use it as leverage. My urge to mood-alter is stronger than just about anything. Thank God for design shows and knitting.

All this is to say that I have lost some weight (on top of the weight I lost when I stopped eating the SAD). I can say from first-hand experience, when you wear clothing that's too big, it looks bad - every bit as bad as wearing clothing that's too small. But it's not uncomfortable (cuz all is delightfully loose) and it creeps up and all of a sudden one looks rather frumpy. Mind you, worse than ill-fitting clothing is an ill-fitting bra.

I am embarrassed to tell you that I have been wearing bras that are 2 sizes too big and they look horrid. Seriously - in case you think that a too-big bra isn't a big deal (I mean, it's not like your boobs don't have enough space), think again. I should post photos (which I'll never do) just to show you the ughness of it all. Middle-aged, projected breasts that are proportionately large, have a tendency to look so sad floating around roomy cups. Something I've learned: at a certain moment (esp when one has lost weight in the breasts in middle age), you need the bra that fits to produce lift.

Sure, this is a silly bit of blog fodder. I have more than enough body fat in my stomach and boobs to keep me going in a famine. No one ever died from eating little, because of stress, for an interim period of time. I'm confident that my new sewga room - the ceiling of which is my own modernist Sistine Chapel - a collaboration between height, angles, wood, spheres and pink light - will encourage me to regain some tone. And mercifully, bras exist in all the sizes. Which is why I have bought these sets, of late, in the correct dimensions (I hope). In full disclosure: I haven't even been wearing matching undies these days because I can't find the will?! but this is about to change.

All I'm saying is, peeps - wear the clothes that fit! Things that fit highlight the beauty in every silhouette. Things that are too big are as unappealing as things that are too small. They glare. They call attention from what matters - the body they sheath.

PS: I will never stop harping on this idea.

*...because I truly can't bring myself to talk about the current prevalence of violence in my city - violence that - in the last month - has impacted my own neighbourhood and those adjacent, violence that yesterday killed two girls that could have been my child or yours). We've got to make it near impossible for everyone who's neither a legit farmer/hunter nor a police officer to access guns. People who experience serious mental health issues, gangs - these are two of the cohorts that use guns to willfully shoot and kill children (and other people whose lives are just as important). Violence is going to happen but it should be much harder to achieve than it currently is.


  1. Self care in the face of such upheaval is nigh on impossible. We've spent the last year piling diagnosis on top of diagnosis for each of the kids, and then trying to learn how best to support them for optimal outcome. Self care is the thing you need the most at times like this, and the thing you do the least. I go the other way and just eat all the things...usually delivered! Let's hope that the latter half of this year brings us some equilibrium.

    As for the answers to the violence, I am without words. In the UK we have gun laws but there are still guns on the streets, and knife crime is significantly more prevalent.
    It seems to me there is a whole generation of people who are disenfranchised and therefore unable to engage with the social norms. I fear it will get worse before it gets better. And that breaks my heart.

  2. In the realms of Pollyanna-like 'accentuate the positive' claptrap, I will admit that hearing about the rollback to the 1998(?!) sex ed curriculum has caused my husband and I to have a lot more sex/health/consent/etc. talks with our 12 yr old. We'd always been pretty forthright about that sort of thing, but knowing it won't be covered in school anymore made us step up our parenting game.

  3. You've been wearing bras that are two cup sizes off?! I never thought such a day would come. Kristin wearing baggy clothing is one thing, ill fitting lingerie is another.

    Best of luck with the unremitting nausea. Apart from acute pain, chronic nausea is, I feel, the worst. Of course you have chronic pain, too. Ugh. It's like your body is mirroring the upheaval in your house...which you now have to live in...not knowing where your bradrobe is.

    While the recent tragedies in Toronto are heartbreaking, I would caution you not to generalize about violence involving guns. Even in the US, the vast majority of gun deaths are not random attacks on innocent bystanders. About a third are old white men facing a terminal diagnosis. Most of the rest are gang related. When the Brady Institute says 50 children die daily in the U.S. from gun violence, they define children as 25 years of age or younger. Shocking, well publicized shootings, like the ones you're referring to, weigh heavily because of their rarity as well as their tragic nature.

    The other critical point to keep in mind is that a gun is the best way for a lone woman, especially living alone in a higher crime neighborhood, to defend herself against rape and murder. She's not going to win a fistfight or a wrestling match against a predator. Violence against women of color is rampant. In fact, the #MeToo movement angered some women of color for its seeming indifference to what women of color live with as a fact of life. Most white, middle or upper middle class women who live in safer neighborhoods and work in professional jobs do not face the same kind of terror.

    In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect anyone, "even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation." [https://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-have-a-constitutional-duty-to-protect.html]

    This case originated when police ignored Jessica Gonzalez's pleas for help after her estranged husband ignored a protective order and kidnapped their three daughters. For hours the mother tried to get the police to find her husband, who had called to say he had the children at an amusement park. He later killed all three children. If Jessica Gonzalez couldn't rely on the police to come to the rescue of her children, aged 7, 9, and 10, what woman can?

  4. I'm on the side of gun regulation FWIW.

    But mostly I think you are kind of a genius, maybe an outright genius, and I love to read the workings of your brain. Thank you.

  5. My now adult daughter once told me "for heaven's sakes Mother, get yourself some new bras, it will make you look younger". I rushed right out and got some.
    Hugs from Barb in BC

  6. I am fully on the side of gun regulation. It won't stop violence, or people being mean and hurtful, but it will curtail a lot of stupidity.

    As to the rest, this is wonderful, even in too big sloppy and comfy-loose clothes, all of which is reflected even in your prose. It really is a brilliant tactic but I think it just spills out of your brain. Bras too small, you....I am surprised, but not judgmental. Shit happens to all of us. I have just purchased three bras that fit. Which is good because nothing else does, and my. favorite skirt, that I bought in May just fell off my hips, so I can't wear it next week. I would take it in but I've packed all the thread, even though the sewing machine won't be packed and moved until Thursday or Friday, because the cabinets that hold the thread have to be moved first thing Monday Morning, at 8AM, and I have too many other things to do tomorrow. I've sorted all my fabric and I will not buy something new. It is either make, alter, or wear what I have. Yes, its best to wear what fits. Yes its good to exercise, to put on makeup. It would be wonderful to not be in pain. But the people that love us love us anyway, and most people, if they bothered to think about it, which alas they often do not, should realize that we all hang by a thread every single day. You've got stamina woman and I admire and love everything you put out there.