This is my series called Little Victories. In it, I talk about what’s going right for me, in terms of how I’m feeling about the way I look, and the world, in general (maybe. I haven’t gotten that far yet). The entry before this one was called “my breasts.”
Sometimes I go through a schlumpy phase. I don’t feel like dressing up. At all. I want to wear things that don’t squeeze me too tight and don’t itch in the back, and don’t require heels, and would look stupid with makeup. I want to wear things that would enable me to have a shot at running away if ninjas attacked me. It wouldn’t probably be much of a shot. But it’d be better than if I was wearing stilettos and a tight skirt.
I want to wear my dad’s old stained sweatshirt, with something related to football that I don’t understand on the front. I want to wear it with loose-fitting yoga pants that have never seen a yoga studio. During the schlumpy phase, I am not interested in looking good.
If I happen to look good, it is accidental, and almost irrelevant. Not totally irrelevant. But closer than normal.
“You look great!” says Bear, who doesn’t understand fashion at all. Who thinks sexiness is soft material and easy access.
I roll my eyes.
(because this is the truth. note the sports related shirt that was once owned by a male member of my family and the pink hoodie under it that no one should ever wear. and I do that with my hands a lot. it’s really weird. I don’t understand it. at least Bear is schlumpy here, too)
When I come home during my schlumpy phase, I change immediately into my most unflattering clothing. Sometimes I forget half of it, and I’m walking around in socks with no pants, with my giant sweatshirt swelling like a football-related bubble over my torso.
And when I go through a schlumpy phase, I’m OK with it. It is not a failure or a wardrobe malfunction or a sign of defeat. I have not given up on life. I am not in need of consolation (unless I’m also actually in need of consolation). I am comfortable. I am succeeding at being comfortable without feeling pressure to look any other way. It’s nice.
It’s like a vacation. I am on a beach of low expectations, gazing into a sunset of brightly colored sweatpants.
I know that one day, hopefully not too soon in the future, I will care again. I will try on four different outfits before I meet my friends at a restaurant. I will try on three outfits before I meet an acquaintance for coffee. I might try on two outfits before I run over to the post office. I’ve seen the way that woman looks at me. She thinks I look schlumpy. I’m gonna prove her wrong.
I know that one day I will once again wish my legs were longer so that those heels would be even more dramatic, and I will say things like, “Great. Now I have to get five instead of four inch heels, because my legs aren’t an inch longer. God. Life is so unfair.” And “Is it possible for my arms to look fatter? I look terrible in EVERYTHING.” I will definitely say, “I can’t dress up! I am one of those women who doesn’t look good in nice things!” I hope I won’t say these things out loud.
I know that someday soon, I won’t be in a schlumpy phase anymore, and I will want to look fabulous all the time. Or at least most of the time.
But until then, I am enjoying the stretched out pants and the sweatshirt. This is the life…
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How are you guys feeling about schlump? Are you good at it? Or is there another little victory you’re thinking about?
I got the sweetest shout-out on cake reader Adrienne’s blog, and wanted to thank her publicly. Her blog is called Citygirl and she is a good writer and a clever cultural critic, which impresses me a lot, because I always feel a little uncultured. Thank you so much, Adrienne! You described me in a way that made me think, “Damn, if I’m like that, I’m super cool!” And I proceeded to feel super cool for the rest of the day.
Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a sweater. Particularly the brown sweater my MIL bought me for Christmas. It is about fifty times nicer than anything I would ever buy myself.