Sunday, February 20, 2011

Figuratively Speaking, Part 1

Once upon a time, there was a young lady with a lovely figure. She was blessed with an ample bosom, a trim waist and slender hips. She was tallish, though, and always complained that shopping for clothing was frustrating because frequently the garments sized for her girth were too short for her. She had no patience for her friends complaining of having to take up hems, because that was far easier to accomodate than trying to squeeze out an extra inch or more from stingy hems. Fortunately for her, her mother taught her to sew, and she rather enjoyed poring over pattern books and perusing through bolts of fabric for just the right colors and weights. She made blouses, slacks, skirts, prom dresses, and eventually a few bridesmaid dresses. Her father gave her a sewing machine one year, and she took it with her to college, where she found very little sewing time, but she hauled it out for mending, simple alterations, and the occasional creation for a costume party. In the years that followed, her figure, ahem, filled out a little, and now her proportions were more suited to off-the-rack garments. Her sewing machine went with her everywhere, but saw very little action until she needed it for simple home dec projects and her children needed Halloween costumes.
As the years went by, the lady would catch glimpses of herself in mirrors, and frown at her aging and spreading figure, and how her attire appeared frumpy, tired, and utterly defeated. She gradually admitted to herself that her vanity was affronted by the images looking back at her in mirrors. Determined to improve her appearance, she undertook various inadequate efforts to lose weight and tone her shape. She reasoned that regardless of the figure she was dressing, her wardrobe needed not only updating, but curating. Her first directed forays shopping for appropriate garments were entirely discouraging. To her dismay, her quest for elegant, well-fitted clothes forced her to face that the figure she had been camouflaging in her husband's jeans and stetchy knits was no longer proportional. She had come to demand a standard of fit which simply could not be met by the clothing found on store racks. Her eye now sought clean lines and would no longer tolerate bags, wrinkles, or uncomfortable binding. No doubt, she could no longer afford the garments such accomodation, given the bags and wrinkles and gray hairs that already sacrificed the starting canvas. From now on, the garments, mustn't merely cover and keep warm. They could not be indifferent to their station. They must perform! They must flatter! They must delight the eye! Every quality would now be under scrutiny. They would be judged for their fabric, and how the cut suited her figure. They must drape beautifully, and hold up to laundering without shrinking or fading. She began to disdain shoddy construction techniques, uninspired shapes, and indiscriminate finishing details. For a long time, she was discouraged. but gradually came to consider the possibility of making her own things again.
And this is where we find her now. At the edge of a new adventure, no longer discouraged, nor disgusted with the overweight and aging body she had to clothe. Her creativity had been awakened. She got out her old sewing machine, learned how to clean and oil it, and reviewed the stitches it could perform. She also set up the serger she had bought on an impulse years ago, but had never used, had never even learned how to use it.
And certainly, dear reader, you have long since figured out that our heroine is none other than myself! And as today's title post implies, there will be more installments to come detailing my progress. This is a bit of an imposing commitment for me (not the doing, but the posting), as I am, as I have previously suggested a bit shy about posting pictures of myself. I am overweight, and vain about my appearance, but my desire to enjoy this process all the further by documenting it will likely triumph over my embarassment! That, and again, reminding myself that there only 2 categories of people who will read this blog: 1) People who know me and therefore already know what I look like; and 2) People who don't know me and don't really care what I look like. And still when you add the totals of the 2 categories together, it may not even be in the double digits!
So, stay tuned....


Jodie said...

Oh I know those feelings and that discouragement....
I am not a garment sewer but I can rustle up a suitable quality woollen A-line skirt if I have too....and it feels good.
I'll be following this journey intently...

Caroline said...

Good luck with your "journey." Your description could be me, except that when I was younger, I didn't realize how great my body was much of the time because I was taller and curvier than my shorter, 120 pound friends! I think we may be close in age, and my biggest concern now is that I want to feel good. I don't want to hit retirement age so worn out and unhealthy that I can't enjoy those years when they come.

Can do mom said...

I read part 2 before I read part 1!

Yesterday I finished reading "A Wrinkle In Time" with my two younger (15 and 11, so not very young, really) children. In it, Meg tries to describe vision, light and dark to a creature that cannot see. These creatures use other, more sophisticated senses to perceive and understand and vision is exposed as not being the superior sense that we humans view it as.

I only bring that up because there is so much more to a person than what a simple photograph can convey. Things that really matter but seem to get lost in our society today.

I'm not advocating turning a blind eye to health. Taking care of yourself, your body, is a good thing. Frequently we mothers put ourselves last on the list and do not make the time to take care of ourselves. Maybe that's what this is all about for you, realizing that it's okay for you to make taking care of yourself, dressing nice and looking good a priority. Most women like to feel pretty and that's a good thing!

Just remember, whether you decide to post a photo of yourself on here or not, YOU have value. YOU have worth. YOU are precious, no matter what your age or size and what you might hear from other sources (the media, etc.)

Love to you from WI!