Daily life

The butterfly who wanted to be a cocoon

10:36 PM

In the even of our upcoming move, I just went through the now bi-annual torture of going through my wardrobe. And it never fail to follow the same pattern, so much so that I’m almost tempted to call it a ritual practice destined to make one feel bad about themselves.
It inevitably starts with me walking toward the wooden (ok laminate) beast in my suit of armour (aka sweat pant and t-shirt) determined to organize my textile chaos into piles: “Still wearable”, “Old and frumpy” and “Too small”. The too small category divides itself into two subcategories named “Almost fitting” and “Seriously Hopeless” (or “You ain’t 20 no more’ if you prefer)
The first pile is the easiest, it’s all the stuff I wear daily, I know how they feel and look, and they go straight back to the shelves in a neat organized way. The old and frumpy lot, well the good new is that I don’t have to strip and try them, if they are old and frumpy, that means I wore them a lot and find comfort in them. But it is still a slightly more delicate pile, you see I’m a bit sentimental with clothes, if they fit, and I am comfy in them, I tend to hang dear to them until they practically fall apart, so when dealing with this pile the question to ponder is “how old is too old?” Each piece of clothing is held in front of me and looked at carefully, looking at every seams and flaps for a capital offense that will relegate them to be duster material until death shall come, or do they continue staying warm in my wardrobe serving as PMS gear (yes there is such a thing!)
The worst is always saved for last: the dreaded too small batch. It has me strip to my underwear, followed by endless grunting and puffing and sucking in my tum to just zip them pants hoping that no seam will burst, or that I won’t pass out.
There are the same old stuff that “Almost fit” and has “Almost been fitting” since I gave birth to my daughter, and the same old “Seriously Hopeless” I kept keeping for some reason, that last pile is a major space invader in my wardrobe, and it’s mostly clothes that are size 8 and were fitting my body 8 years ago and which stopped fitting after a year spent in India, of course the first few years they were in the subcategory “Almost fitting” and now I just wonder what kind of self delusion is making me keep them.
And yes this time around I yet again toyed with the idea of keeping them “just in case”, went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea still pondering the matter and suddenly out of the blue a scene from Gone with the wind came to me, that very scene where Scarlett hangs dear to her four poster bed while Mammy yanks on the string of her corset to tighten it, then measure her and announce a 20 inches waist with which Scarlett is not happy, as she was 18 prior her pregnancy. Scarlett begs mammy to try to lace her tighter, and Mammy full of wisdom explain to her she can’t expect to ever be 18 inches after childbirth and that she will have to get over it.
Yes indeed! Pregnancy does change a woman, permanently, and there is nothing we can do about it, so time to stop being delusional about my size 8 clothes and give them away.
But my recent entry about western women having an obsession about their figure the way Indian women are obsessed about their complexion is ringing loud in my head.
I sure am not alone deluding myself into fitting old clothes that clearly will never fit again, worse it seems the trend has gone through the ages. And even worse yet, it seems torturing your body to fit an ideal silhouette isn’t news either. Scarlett O’Hara might be fictionnal, but women in her time were corseted, and the ideal of beauty back them was indeed to have a tiny waist, big hips, and wide torso, and women endured being squeezed silly in a hard corset, renouncing a healthy blood circulation and unconstraint breathing to just fit in, some would pass out, and if the corset wasn’t enough, petticoats, hoops, baskets and probably pounds of fabrics added to their misery, which they all stoically endured in the name of beauty.  And yes while my generation mourns size 8 jeans post pregnancy I have no reason to believe that Scarlett’s reaction was made up, she tried to suck in her tum as much as I try to suck mine in.
What strikes me though is that in a way, all women are yearning at the size they were as a teen, hoping to go back to it, hormones be damned, not fully grasping that it would be like being a beautiful butterfly yearning to be a cocoon once more…both are of course impossible, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to look like a teenager again (minus the zits).

So all in all, my size 8 stuff definitely went to the “give away” bag, and the “almost fitting” left are the one who are closing all the way up, but are slightly too tight, but will definitely fit once I shed 2-3 kg more. I’m left with a big gap in my wardrobe, and a damaged self esteem I promptly fixed with a piece of chocolate…

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