the real secret

A good Sunday–I spent the afternoon cleaning up the house with the cat following me around, and it is a big breath in and out, to have everything in its proper place and clothes hung up and laundry (in four bags!) piled up in the hallway, ready to be taken out and laundered.  I had big plans for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to lie on the couch, with the front door open and the screen door shut, because it is ridiculously beautiful out, and with a lap quilt on my knees and a glass of iced tea at my elbow, I was going to spend the rest of the afternoon reading. If I got really ambitious, I was going to consider moving to the bedroom for a nap, but probably I would just stay on the couch.

Instead–and there’s always an Instead, isn’t there, when the story starts off with how you were going to do all these wonderful things–I found, in my cleanings up which included the closet and under the bed and behind the door and under the table in the living room where all my packages and mail and shoes and miscellaneous stuff goes to die, I found a big mylar envelope full of clothes that I had ordered from Old Navy, maybe two or three weeks ago, in a fit of needing something to wear in the spring when it is supposed to not be cold, and still reluctant to spend any real money on clothing because who the hell knows what my body is going to do over the next hour, or week or month or year. Ironically, right before my pants disintegration.  The bag arrived directly after.


Absolutely impossible to try any clothes on, because there is no way I
was going to spend an hour crying and tearing everything off and
crumpling it all into a ball and setting it on fire. There were better
ways to spend an afternoon, I was sure, and my
fragile-like-a-beautiful-butterfly self esteem could not handle it and
I was just not in the mood, and no. No way. I dropped the bag on the
floor and left it there and eventually forgot about it, until Sunday
afternoon, and it felt like Christmas. A whole bag of clothes! For me!
That wouldn’t fit! But I didn’t care, because it was sunny and warm,
and I had been so productive and the new episode of The Office had
recorded properly and I was in a good goddamn mood.

I recommend being in a good mood when you try on clothes. Be in a good
mood, and freshly showered. Have a thought, at some point during the day,
that your hair looks really cute. Maybe have eaten a spinach salad for
lunch, which makes you feel extremely healthy and full of good
nutrients going right into your brain, and have remembered to take both
your vitamins and your crazy pill.  Feel as if you have the whole
afternoon and you can pull things on and off and back on and back off
again as often as you like and it doesn’t matter, if that’s the way you
want to spend your time! You don’t have to be decisive! And if the
clothes suck, remember that clothes are returnable or re-hangupable,
and a renewable resource. If none of the above situations or scenarios
are possible, try to be a little drunk. Or at least don’t have your
period.

It was a big bag, because there had been a sale, and I tried everything
on at least twice, and possibly three or four times. I’ve got a neat
pile on the bed, waiting to be hung up and folded away, because those
are the keepers, and all the things I want to return, those are back in
their plastic bags and stacked up on top of the dresser, with the
receipt. There are some maybes that I will try on again at some point,
because they’re cute! But maybe they don’t look good. But they’re cute
and cheap! And maybe they look cheap. I don’t know! I am going to go
get a little drunk now.

The whole process was strangely zen and very easy, and I wish it could
be like that all the time. Hey, there’s my body in the mirror, and
that’s what I look like, and I’m okay with that. I have some good
qualities, and my ass is slamming in these pants and where did my boobs
go, in this sweater? We’re just going to return that, then.  Simple,
and objective and comfortable. Right now, it feels like there is no
other way to be, but comfortable and relaxed in my skin. Ten minutes
from now, tomorrow, next week, that could all change. I don’t want it
to change.

Whatever switch or key or door or mental gymnastics or synapse or fugue
state that lets you back there, I want to know what it is. I want the
decisive answer, the recipe, the steps one two three, and I want to
write it down and share it with the world and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  3 comments for “the real secret

  1. Chelsea
    April 14, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this! I never thought I would say that trying on clothes would put me more at ease with how I look. In the past few years, I’ve moved beyond the “oh fuck I look so awful, I’m so fat, I hate my THIGHS, oh my LIFE!” which turned every shopping mission bad verrrrrry quickly, to “wow, I like my shoulders in this” & “this gives me a butt! sweet.” & a quick dismissive “this isn’t right for me” when it’s just not.

  2. Stephanie
    April 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Rha is one thing I have struggled with as a side effect of weight loss. It used to be: Walk into a store. Try 100 things on. Buy the three things that fit. Mantra: If it fits, buy it.

    Now, maybe 50 or 75 of those things will fit. So how do I decide! I can’t buy them all, so must I now develop that elusive “personal style” where I actually wear clothes because I like they way they look!? HELP!

    It’s a tough one. But sometimes it does feel good to try something on and say, “This is nice looking, but it doesn’t work for me. And it’s not my fault, it’s the garment’s fault.”

  3. et
    April 15, 2008 at 7:38 am

    could it be…

    self love
    self acceptance
    kicking harsh judgment to the curb?

    Rock on!!!

    there’s a reason the website is called ELASTIC Waist…don’t forget…

    Risen Lord Jesus’ Peace!
    e.t./sue >>*:D (: +

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