It’s taken me a long time to find my perfect dress. Two decades or more. I was probably around five when I started looking. The journey has been strenuous. At times, I’ve almost given up hope. At times, I’ve become so jaded I stopped believing. Sometimes, I took a detour off the winding path and sat at a greasy table in a rest stop cafeteria, eating limp fries and grinding out a sarcastic laugh or two at the thought of my lost innocence. There’s no such thing as a perfect dress. That’s a lie they tell you, to keep you going. That’s a lie they tell you, to keep you complacent. Wake up, little girl. The world is full of lies.
I started out very daring. I didn’t have a perfect dress, but I had a hot pink shiny plastic belt that I wore with everything for years—ages 6- 12 or so. My favorite outfit was tights, a giant green shirt with a picture of a fish on it that I’d won in a fishing competition, and my pink belt. I made clunky yellow geometric clip on earrings from a kit and wore them, too. I was stylin’.
I wore a too-small shirt with a kitten on it with tights and boots.
I wore overalls. Like my friend Emily is modeling for us, here, in the above picture. Actually, I wore overalls mostly because she was really cool.
Then, in my teens, I became a hippie. Not philosophically (although I was relatively passionate about saving both the whales and the trees, so maybe there was a little of that, too), but for fashion’s sake. I wore flowy green embroidered pants and tunics. I braided my ridiculously long hair. My dresses were loose and multi-colored and they came from a store in Princeton called Madalay, which felt at the time a little like the promised land, and an Indian place in New Hope.
I spent my freshman year of college in enormous red sweatpants and a skin-tight purple shirt that read “Homeschoolers Learn Everywhere.” Because I wanted to make friends.
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Kate on March 7th 2012 in beauty, Little Victories
After a shocking amount of the day had passed, I realized that I hadn’t looked in the mirror. Not once. I’d brushed my teeth and rubbed moisturizer into my cheeks and gotten dressed and gone out and I hadn’t glanced up at my reflection at all.
Without looking, I felt lovely.
I was wearing a flowing shirt with a thin, elegant belt over a long, soft, thin dress. I felt fashionable and sort of bold. Outside, I walked through a group of guys, and for a second, I thought that they were thinking that I was glamorous. It didn’t matter whether or not they were thinking that. It seemed reasonable for them to.
I felt like I fit in and stood out at the same time. I felt like the right balance of things.
It wasn’t so much that I was concentrating on how I looked. I wasn’t. I was busy. But I was assuming that I looked good. The assumption lay on the floor of my mind like a fine oriental rug. It made everything more graceful. It made everything more comfortable. It made everything a little nicer.
When I got home again, I almost didn’t want to look, but I had to. The mirror was like a magnet. I opened the door, closed it behind me, took off my coat without stopping and made a beeline for the mirror.
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Kate on February 17th 2012 in beauty, Little Victories
There are some things I stopped wearing when my belly stopped being flat. Tight dresses, for one. I used to have a skintight gray knit dress that I thought was the hottest thing in the world. I gave it away when I gained weight.
I hit my heaviest weight ever (again) back in November and I’m still there. Which kinda surprised me the last time I weighed myself (at my parents’ house, of course, since I don’t own a scale). I thought I’d slip back. I thought I’d return to normal. Y’know, to my real body.
I think this might be normal, guys.
And the good news is, there’s a chance I’m curvy now! At least a little. I think I might be. Even my boobs are contributing, in the gradual, half-hearted manner in which I used to do my laundry after my mom reminded me ten times.
I didn’t know until I put on this incredibly tight dress covered in rabbits. And then it turned out that I am a (potential?) bombshell. It was like BAM BAM BAM!
BOOBS BELLY BUTT!
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Kate on January 23rd 2012 in body, Little Victories, weight
I did it! I did it! I asked for more money!
Remember when I wrote this post about how women almost never ask for more money? Apparently we don’t. Apparently we often keep quiet instead. And I understand why. I mentioned that the thought of asking for a raise is really scary for me. That usually when someone pays me for work I’ve done, I am thinking, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much!” as opposed to “Seriously? I am worth more than that!” Even if I’m worth more than that. It’s hard to tell, sometimes, how much I’m worth in money. I mean, maybe I think I’m worth a million dollars, but I’m a writer. No one is going to give me a million dollars. No one is going to give me very much at all. So it’s more a “every little bit counts” type thing than a “I can’t believe they don’t value me more” type thing.
That is no excuse not to ask for more money.
But even after I wrote that post, I didn’t notice that I had an opportunity to ask for a raise, in my own life, right then. I was thinking more abstractly– like, women, out there in the world– other people– you guys should think about this…I should probably think about it too, later…
And then something funny happened. I found out that someone I know who does work for one of the same companies I do was being paid more than me. She mentioned it casually, and suddenly I was furious. And embarrassed. Here I was, writing about raises instead of asking for them. I felt like I was falling behind. I felt like I’d been sleeping and oblivious and possibly still wearing suspenders that had gone out of style five years ago (what? Are people not wearing suspenders these days? No one?).
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Kate on January 19th 2012 in fear, life, Little Victories
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.
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Kate on December 29th 2011 in beauty, body, Little Victories
How appropriate is the title of this series for this particular post?! I have small breasts. You guys know. I’ve written about them before. Hi Mom! I’m writing about my boobs on the internet again! (Sigh. I’ll never amount to anything…)
Refresher: my Little Victories series is a weekly effort to write about something I feel good about, or something I don’t feel bad about. It’s like an extended unroast. It’s a reminder that life is cool and so is my body.
Back to boobs: When I first started developing them, I thought I had cancer. Really. Some annoying kid who was showing off on the skating rink slammed into me and my chest HURT. It hurt in this way that I thought nothing should be allowed to hurt. I assumed I had a tumor. Or two. I was, like, twelve. Already neurotic.
“Mom,” I said, “Something’s wrong with my chest.”
“Probably not,” she said, calmly.
She was right. Later, when I was fourteen or so, I had real breasts. As in, not just lumps buried way under the skin. They stuck out a little. They had legit nipples. And I thought they were fantastic. I met a boy at camp who suggested that my breasts were on the small side, and I proudly corrected him. “No, they’re actually very big.” (Later, he died, and I still think about him sometimes, but that’s another story).
It turned out he was right.
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Kate on December 21st 2011 in Little Victories