Free Association – Day 4

When I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror these days, I have the odd sensation of not recognizing myself at first. Then, when I realize the person I am looking at is me, I have this overwhelming sense of disgust. I’ve been struggling with my weight for about four or five years. Actually, when I really think about it, I’ve been struggling with my weight for about a decade, however, I’ve been losing the struggle for about four or five years. At first, I was able to keep my weight down by exercising more. However, when I got to the point that I was exercising an hour and a half a day, I realized that simply adding more exercise was no longer an option. Making matters worse, I don’t actually like exercising. I’d finish exercising feeling like I hated myself, hated the world, hated my life. Why, I would ask myself, I was trying to stay in good health to prolong a life I hated? Anyway, a bout of tendonitis a year ago did prove that I’d reached the point where increasing my exercise was no longer an option.

I should probably add, before I go farther, that I’m not looking for diet or exercise advice. That’s always the danger when you bring up this subject. Every self-righteous asshole wants to lecture you about what to do. Frankly, I’m probably smarter than the people looking to lecture me (Who’s the self-righteous asshole now?), I’m perfectly capable of doing research and have done so in order to maximize my efforts. If I want advice, I’ll ask. And in the past I have. I worked with personal trainers on a couple of occasions to develop exercise routines. I’m not dismissing professional advice. It’s just that I’m not looking for it at the moment. I want to talk about how I feel about my body.

So, it’s taken a long time, but I’ve finally accepted the reality. No matter what anyone says, as I’ve aged my metabolism has slowed down. Thyroid tests come back fine and I’m in pretty good health otherwise, so I’m not really worried. It used to be something of a truism that your metabolism slowed down as you aged. People don’t seem to say that anymore. I don’t know if it’s actually been disproven. However, I have heard people say things like people shouldn’t be told that their metabolism is slow because it will give them and “excuse” to be fat. Oddly, since I’ve come to terms with the idea that my metabolism is not what it used to be, I’ve finally lost some weight. I just said to myself, “Look, you can’t eat like you used to.” I’ve stopped trying to eat in the manner that experts would consider “healthy.” The truth is, I eat a lot less.

As I mentioned, I’m still in reasonably good health. I am officially overweight according to the doctor, but I probably wouldn’t stand out of crowd on account of it. I just come across as a sort of dumpy middle-aged woman. You probably wouldn’t notice me at all. The thing that causes the disgust when I look in the mirror is not so much that I look fat as I look matronly. It’s not simply a matter of attractiveness. It’s a matter of self-image, self-conception.

You see, I’ve always seen myself as being a little bit androgynous. This was long before talk about gender identity was commonplace, and I don’t know quite how this fits into that, if at all. Still, I’ve always felt that I wasn’t a typical girly-girl. I wasn’t a tomboy either. Although I never had a truly boyish figure, I wasn’t really curvy either, and I’d wear a lot of menswear. Actually, my buttocks were too big to fit into things actually cut for men, so I’d look for “menswear” inspired women’s clothes. The seventies had been a heyday for androgynous clothes, but they were usually of the casual sort. I found that I was far more influenced by the figure of the male dandy.

I never tried to pass as a man and it was only rarely that I’d be mistaken for one. When I was younger, it came across as Marlene Dietrich. Now, I’m afraid I look like one of the guests in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

So, now, I’m somewhat conflicted. I look far better in dresses and more feminine things than I used to. But now, what I look good in, and what my personal taste is are totally different. My sister tells me that I should wear what I like and to hell with trying to look pretty. My mother tells me I look fat.

I was looking at fall 2016 runway photos, trying to get some ideas for future sewing projects, and I saw this:

Animal print suit by Dries van Noten

I would so absolutely love to wear this. Of course I can’t afford it and my sewing skills are not to the point where I can copy it.

After having successfully made my pants and a shirt to go with them, I’m now looking at my next project. I’ve been dying to work with neoprene. It was the trend last summer, but I didn’t quite get it since it seemed too warm to me for summer. Now with fall coming, however, I want to make something out of it. I was going to make a sheath dress. I wanted to put a big black zipper down the front as a sort of nod to scuba suits. However, when I was looking for an appropriate zipper, I came across this:

rhinestone zipperSo, I guess it’s going to be a little less sporty.

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