Somehow my blog break was not as productive as I had hoped. No. Go back a step. My blog break was not productive in the ways I had hoped and anticipated....
That's more like it.
Fall has finally come to the Knoxville area and I am grateful. My wardrobe had already started to transition gently. The wide legs cropped jeans that I had worn faithfully throughout the summer of 2017 came out again. I didn't wear them at all this past summer, but they felt perfect as the light and the ambiance of the air shifted, even as the heat was recalcitrant. The summer of 2018 was just too hot, and I was outside a lot, what with moving and tramping around a construction site. I spent most of the summer in skorts, not the most glamorous look, but then I accept that I am not glamorous, and really just want to be able to be comfortable and move. There was the skort I knocked off, a skort I bought on sale at REI, and a couple of more that got whipped up before I packed up the sewing room, none of which I managed to share with you. Probably for the best.
And then, suddenly, the temperature dropped. There was a morning in the 40s, upper 40s yes, but still, somewhat chill. I was ready for my morning walk but a skort would not do. I needed a vest or sweatshirt; I needed pants. I couldn't find either. I moved in 90+ degree heat you see. At that point I couldn't imagine needing a sweatshirt. Everything that was "not summer" was in boxes on the top shelf of my closet, above my head. And so I started pulling down boxes.
I bet you can imagine what happened next.
I was lazy and in a rush. Despite the fact that I live in a small apartment, and the step ladder was literally only a few steps away, I did not go fetch the step ladder. I tried to reach up on tippy toe, I tried to take a small leap and snag those boxes. All my fall and winter clothes (luckily in canvas boxes) came tumbling down upon me, and my closet became a pile of clothes all jumbled together. I was probably fortunate that I was not standing under the box of boots.
I found a vest before I found a sweatshirt. I found a 5-year old pair of yoga pants. I didn't find my gloves and my hands suffered. I walked, went to the farmer's market, rand errands, planned menus and cooked.
I also started to sort out clothes, to shift the closet. I started to accept something that my head had not quite wrapped itself around. Looking at that photo, I see the evidence of something my brain and body were telling me, but which I was nonetheless refusing to accept. Although not loose, those yoga pants are not snug either. Last year they were snug, perhaps even tight. Ah the joys of stretch. Before I went to North Caroline for a long weekend at the beginning of my break, frustrated as I was trying to pack, I stepped on my scale and the truth was revealed. Somehow I had lost 13 pounds since I moved into this apartment.
I was shocked even though the evidence had been all around me. That first summer skort was falling down over my hips, but I couldn't accept that because I felt more tired, schlumpy and out of shape. In my head "schlumpy" and "fat slob" go together, which is not a flattering image I know, or even a flattering thing to admit to thinking about oneself. There are certain inner voices, deeply imbedded, which we never fully escape. It did not occur to me that I might feel schlumpy because my clothes were too big. There is a bit of cognitive dissonance going on here, and I know perfectly well that what makes a person feel fat or thin or sexy (a woman? Do men go through the same thing?) often has little to do with actual body size; instead it is shaped by a host of other unrelated psychological and social inputs. Inputs I do not intend to explore here or now.
What I did notice, and what prompted me to step on that scale in the first place, was that my pajamas were too big. I knew the pajama bottoms were loose, and if I moved around too much they could start to slip down. I had fixed that by shortening the elastic in the waist of the pants, but although they stayed up, they did not hang attractively. I had not noticed that the tops were also too big, a couple of sizes too big, and that I looked like a sad old woman in them. I probably only noticed that because I was going away with family for fall break, because we would be sharing a cabin and because, heaven forbid, someone might see me in my pajamas. No one ever sees me in my pajamas, a situation I might still hope is not permanent. Obviously, until last week, I never even saw myself in my pajamas, and that was truly sad state of affairs.
As I started shifting the closet to fall and winter, as I started putting away clothes, I started trying things on. I am still working on that. Various piles are growing. There is a pile of things to give away. There is a smaller pile of things that are too worn, things that should be recycled or thrown away. The only place I knew of in Knoxville that accepted fabric for recycling closed, so more research is warranted.
There is also a pile of things that will work with minor alterations or mending. The boyfriend jeans in the photo above are between 6 and 7 years old. they were skinnies when I bought them, although not the super stretchy kind. But they have only needed minor alterations to keep them wearable, and I love them too much. The gray cardigan from Margaret O'Leary is at least 12 years old, Last year I kept it in the laundry room, which is usually cold, and wore it only as a robe or a house-sweater. Last year I felt it was baggy and unattractive, but now I love it again. Who knew that would happen?
There is a pile of things I love, things that can be easily altered to fit. I've already made a few alterations. There are things I haven't worn for years that suddenly fit again. I've found five old pairs of pants that I still like, that I haven't been able to wear since George was alive, that only require minor alterations for me to wear them now. Actually, they just require hemming. In those days I wore heels. I practically never wear heels now and am not convinced that heels will be any part of my future life. I need to be able to make a fast exit.
And those jeans? Those wide-legged crops seen at the top of this post? In September of 2017 I realized that those jeans were beginning to get a little loose and I searched for a replacement. I found them on sale and I bought another pair. This is not an action I normally recommend, and I felt foolish at the time. The sale pair was 2 sizes smaller than the pair I was wearing, and I could zip them closed only with effort. But I kept them anyway. I figured it was a $29 folly and I could always donate them. I found them this fall, and they fit. In fact only in trying on the smaller jeans did I see how loose the bigger jeans had become, only in trying on those jeans, larger and smaller, did I actually start to look at what I was wearing and see actually see myself, actually begin to see that I was wearing things I shouldn't be wearing. I am probably still wearing things I shouldn't be wearing. It is a process after all. There is still a pile of clothes on the floor. I am working my way forward. It is the only way to go.