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The White Lily ([personal profile] thewhitelily) wrote2017-04-27 02:35 pm

Braindump TL;DR

(FYI I didn't get the original story I'd been hoping to submitted.  We're not talking about that.  I'm not in a good place about it.  I am still writing fiction, which is a success.  MOVING ON.)

So, I'm in one of those odd periods where my focus has gone away from writing/reading/fantasy onto actually doing a whole stack of little things that I normally let slide because real life ugh.  I've been going around the house with a can of WD-40 fixing all the seized or squeaking mechanisms, ordering replacement ceiling fans for the ones that are broken, getting the locksmith in to look at the side door we haven't been able to use for five years, clearing out the piles of artwork that have built up on every surface, culling and sorting them into specific kids' folders. That kind of thing.

* Wardrobe.
It's occurred to me recently that, given my youngest is now 2.5 and has begun the development of executive function and I don't intend to have more kids, I'm now past the stage where there's no point in taking care of my appearance.  For the last six and a half years, I've been aggressively slovenly, because I've been covered in spew and snot and hand-prints no matter what I do, and if I changed my shirt every time I got dirty I'd run out of clothes within a few hours.  My principle has been, therefore: clothes wash, and when they wash, they do it at the end of the day (unless there's poo involved).  I'm the cool mum who never says no to getting down on the floor with a dirty child, whose children are always dirty, and I'm proud of it.  But now, they're a bit older, a bit more able to keep their dirty hands to themselves as a matter of politeness, a bit more capable of cleaning themselves up without sliming me too as a matter of course--and although I still get down on the floor with them, most days I actually make it to the end of the day for the most part clean.  Perhaps it is time to return to dressing myself like I care rather ceding the battle without fighting.
That said, I hate choosing what to wear.  And I especially hate shopping: it's like choosing what to wear but a thousand times worse.  I'm very, very picky in what I will tolerate, despite the fact that according to most women "oh, you could wear anything!"  Every time I try shopping, I'm completely overwhelmed by the quantity of OMG WRONG WRONG WRONG WHY WOULD ANYONE WEAR THAT clothes.  Why do they keep changing the fashions?  To more and more terrible things that seem designed to look awful on everyone?!  Whenever I miraculously spot something I like I buy one in every colour and heave a big sigh of relief, then I wear those four or five things in rotation, rain hail or shine, until they fall apart beyond repair.  
I tend to have a summer uniform and a winter uniform, and I only change when absolutely necessary, usually months later than would have been sensible.  I had some summer dresses that weren't quite what I liked but were precisely what I needed for the past seven or so years: a loud print so that dirt and stains weren't too obvious, they had an elastic empire line and neck so I could wear them pregnant and breastfeeding, and I still looked like a normal person even if I wasn't either.  And I've got some loud-patterned black and white culottes for winter that I love very deeply, that are tailored at the hips but flowy and wonderful around my ankles (why oh god why are the current crop of culottes all gathered and upper-calf-length SO UGLY), and some plain coloured shirts I wear them with.
Unfortunately, both of my uniforms are in the final stages of falling to pieces.  It's reaching the point where the holes that have ripped and I've mended are more numerous than the articles of clothing they're attached to; the fabric is worn thin enough that there's not really a point in applying more patches.  I am sad.  When I find clothes I love, I really do love them, and I wear them well past the point where they've started looking revolting because ugh to the idea of finding something else that will do is intolerable.  
Hubby has said to me that I should look at this as an opportunity to rethink the way I present myself to the world, which... yes.  I ways already doing.  Great minds think alike.  So I've been thinking about the clothing I like, the clothing that's historically made me feel good, and my great pattern-matching engine has gone to work and worked out some common denominators.
Anyway, happy end to the story: I have discovered a name for a clothing style, a portion of which I like and happens to line up with some of the OMG I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING purchases I've made over the years, things that actually made me look like I have a shape, which I do, you just wouldn't know it unless it nips in at the waist.  It looks good on me, and feels good on me,and wears well with my climate and lifestyle.  It's a vintage style--rockabilly swing dresses--so the best place to buy it is online (yay no face to face contact or searching fruitlessly through entire shopping centres) and I've found a brand that fits me almost perfectly straight off the rack.  (Clothes don't actually tend to come in my size.  'Cause whatever the supermodels would have you believe, apparently I'm too thin to have anyone actually cater for me.  At all.)  A portion of the portion I like aesthetically even have cap sleeves, which is a must because I hate sunscreen and having my shoulders covered could add years to my life here in the skin cancer capital of the world.  I can probably even wear it year around in our climate, with some layering to suit, so no more having to switch uniforms twice a year!  
Best of all, because it's vintage, the style doesn't change with fashion.  When this lot wear out, I can just buy more to replace them.  I've literally got goosebumps every time I think of that idea.  So yeah, there's me spending a whole lot of money on clothes in one fell swoop, because strike while the iron is hot; if I get to sort it all out now I'll have a whole set of stuff that goes together and makes me feel good, and I get to not go clothes shopping again for five years--and perhaps now I know an actual name for a style I like and my wardrobe's set up right, I could even replace pieces individually when they wear out, and I'll never have to go through this entire process of finding the right things ever again.  That would be unbelievably brilliant.
* Mending
Slightly related to the above.  Even the clothes are mostly all right off the rack, they always need a bit of fixing up.  Because picky is my middle name.  A dress is always not good enough until I've shifted those shoulder straps a little or taken off the random belt loops or elasticated the restrictive cap on the sleeves or something, or lengthened the hem slightly.  Not to mention that they always need a little more tailoring--which I've realised is partially because I'm seeking deep pressure around my lower ribcage, because it makes a big difference for my anxiety levels.  Another win for the style, since it works well with a ribbon or a belt or a cincher or something on the waist, which I can pull as tight as I need on the day.  It should save me a lot of extra tailoring as things naturally stretch with wear, and also mending of the subsequent ripped seams and burst zips. 
Also, Hubby's winter coat, he's managed to wear all the way through one of the elbows.  We're in a subtropical climate, there's not too much call for winter clothing.  We call it his "flasher coat" because he wears shorts all year around, and the coat's long enough that when he wears it pulled shut he looks like he's naked underneath.  But he's going for a trip to the US soon, and it's *squints* spring there, which probably means it'll be colder than winter gets here, and he'll need that coat.  Probably long pants, too.  :P  So I'm putting leather patches on the coat elbows!  Hubby's really excited about the opportunity to look like an eccentric college professor, because that's the kind of thing that turns him on.  This involves buying leather, learning how to sew leather, buying special leather thread, unpicking the sleeves, and actually doing it.  Also mending the holes in his pocket that means he loses his wallet into the coat lining, and the holes in the armpits that Eldest Child ripped by swinging on it when it was hung up.  All takes time and energy.
Also, my winter coat, the one that looks like Sherlock's, the collar doesn't lie properly flat, so I'm going to put in a couple of pieces of boning to stiffen that up and make it sit right.  And while I'm there at the collar on my sewing machine, I'll probably embroider the top buttonhole red.  BECAUSE I CAN.

* Health
I used to do Taekwondo.  I'm a blue III belt.  At least I was before I started having children.  Taekwondo isn't really something you can do while you're pregnant, and it's also not something you can do for a while afterwards as your ligaments stay all loose and you're likely to seriously injure yourself.  But I tried to go back to Taekwondo when my youngest turned 1.  It was a complete disaster.  I tore the tendon in my quad right up the centre.  I tore my pectoral muscle.  Then I tore my hamstring.  My body, I have decided, is not as young as it used to be (and has never been as resilient as it should have been).  If I'm going to engage in some form of physical activity it's going to have to be something gentler.  I am sad about this, because I did very much love Taekwondo.  I loved what I called the 'trebuchet' moment: preparing for a kick and then letting it fly, each joint a series of levers unfolding in their perfect time to impact the target with maximum speed and force.  It suited me because it was solitary, perfectionistic, because it was intellectual and technique-focussed enough that I could go home and practice on my own until I didn't feel like an idiot in class, and getting it right made me feel wonderful.  Even if I haaaaated working with a partner or sparring or grappling with the fire of a thousand suns.  Anyway, getting injured all the time sucks, so Taekwondo is gone.  
After 18 months of moping over the loss, I've started attending a tap dance class!  It's really fun, and it hits a lot of the same notes that Taekwondo did for me, there is absolutely no partnered or contact work only a little bit of 'shared task' socialisation which I can cope with, it happens to look a lot like some of the physio exercises I'm supposed to be doing for my sciatic nerve, and it's less likely to end up in a major injury. (At least I hope it is, although given the workout my ankles have been getting and the subsequent muscular soreness--day three after class and I'm using ankle braces to give my wobbly muscles some stability--it makes me really hope I don't end up breaking an ankle or something).
Speaking of ankle pain, I've had long term chronic pain in my feet and legs and hips.  When I took my eldest to the podiatrist last year for high arches, hypermobility, and toe walking, all the things she kept saying were wrong with his gait I'm like WOW ME TOO.  I'm also hypermobile with high arches, and I walked on my toes until late primary school.  I still do if I'm excited or tense, or just, well, because it feels so good.  I'd walk on my toes all day if I didn't feel like people gave me funny looks for it.  Also my ankles get tired after a while.  ;)  Cause or effect is unclear, but I've got a short sciatic nerve, which means that I get pins and needles and yucky 'nerve pain' when I bend even a little at the waist without going up onto my toes, or raise my leg even a little directly in front of me without my toes pointed (yeah, that was a problem for Taekwondo, possibly compensating for this is what made me particularly injury prone--fortunately tap appears much less likely to require high leg movements in that precise direction).  Anyway, I've finally arranged to see a podiatrist, and what my son was given, I expect I'm going to get an orthotic to support my arches and lift my heels a touch so that I can get a proper heel strike going and stop rolling in on my ankle--maybe she'll even have some advice about that sciatic nerve.  And given both my summer-uniform and winter-uniform shoes are falling apart and have been--in this case literally--limping through along with the rest of my wardrobe, I can happily go with her recommendation for my next shoes.  Hopefully, that will make a big difference to the general run of the mill pain I'm experiencing every day.

Yes, by the way, my credit card always gets a hammering when I'm manic like this; shoes, clothes (this time they're even for me!), mending supplies, tradespeople, medical appointments.  But that's okay because this is a blue moon occurrence; our bank accounts don't get used for anything except groceries and utilities and things the kids urgently need the other 98% of the time.  Hubby will freak out in a month's time (despite knowing what's going on) that our mortgage offset amount has gone down and we are LOSING MONEY OHNOES and I'll remind him to measure the account balance not from last month, but from the previous time I went mad and got all the jobs done, three years ago, and that if we actually managed to make more money in a month than I spend in a Jobs Month, that would be truly frightening.  (If in a way we all dream of.  :) )

There's one more thing, but I'm going to make it a different post when I get to it, because it doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the rest of the stuff.  Not trying to be a tease, just.  It's so much at the root of everything on my mind that it would feel like tiptoeing around the elephant in the room not to at least mention that there's more I'm not saying.  Nothing bad, just thinky-thoughts about thinky-things.

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