Body of Work: The real secret


A good Sunday–I spent the afternoon cleaning up the house with the cat following me around, and it is a big breath in and out, to have everything in its proper place and clothes hung up and laundry (in four bags!) piled up in the hallway, ready to be taken out and laundered. I had big plans for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to lie on the couch, with the front door open and the screen door shut, because it is ridiculously beautiful out, and with a lap quilt on my knees and a glass of iced tea at my elbow, I was going to spend the rest of the afternoon reading. If I got really ambitious, I was going to consider moving to the bedroom for a nap, but probably I would just stay on the couch.

Instead–and there’s always an Instead, isn’t there, when the story starts off with how you were going to do all these wonderful things–I found, in my cleanings up which included the closet and under the bed and behind the door and under the table in the living room where all my packages and mail and shoes and miscellaneous stuff goes to die, I found a big mylar envelope full of clothes that I had ordered from Old Navy, maybe two or three weeks ago, in a fit of needing something to wear in the spring when it is supposed to not be cold, and still reluctant to spend any real money on clothing because who the heck knows what my body is going to do over the next hour, or week or month or year. Ironically, right before my pants disintegration. The bag arrived directly after.

Absolutely impossible to try any clothes on, because there is no way I was going to spend an hour crying and tearing everything off and crumpling it all into a ball and setting it on fire. There were better ways to spend an afternoon, I was sure, and my fragile-like-a-beautiful-butterfly self esteem could not handle it and I was just not in the mood, and no. No way. I dropped the bag on the floor and left it there and eventually forgot about it, until Sunday afternoon, and it felt like Christmas. A whole bag of clothes! For me! That wouldn’t fit! But I didn’t care, because it was sunny and warm, and I had been so productive and the new episode of The Office had recorded properly and I was in a good mood.

I recommend being in a good mood when you try on clothes. Be in a good mood, and freshly showered. Have a thought, at some point during the day, that your hair looks really cute. Maybe have eaten a spinach salad for lunch, which makes you feel extremely healthy and full of good nutrients going right into your brain, and have remembered to take both your vitamins and your crazy pill. Feel as if you have the whole afternoon and you can pull things on and off and back on and back off again as often as you like and it doesn’t matter, if that’s the way you want to spend your time! You don’t have to be decisive! And if the clothes suck, remember that clothes are returnable or re-hangupable, and a renewable resource. If none of the above situations or scenarios are possible, try to be a little drunk. Or at least don’t have your period.

It was a big bag, because there had been a sale, and I tried everything on at least twice, and possibly three or four times. I’ve got a neat pile on the bed, waiting to be hung up and folded away, because those are the keepers, and all the things I want to return, those are back in their plastic bags and stacked up on top of the dresser, with the receipt. There are some maybes that I will try on again at some point, because they’re cute! But maybe they don’t look good. But they’re cute and cheap! And maybe they look cheap. I don’t know! I am going to go get a little drunk now.

The whole process was strangely zen and very easy, and I wish for it to be like that all the time. Hey, there’s my body in the mirror, and that’s what I look like, and I’m okay with that. I have some good qualities, and my ass is slamming in these pants and where did my boobs go, in this sweater? We’re just going to return that, then. Simple, and objective and comfortable. Right now, it feels like there is no other way to be, but comfortable and relaxed in my skin. Ten minutes from now, tomorrow, next week, that could all change. I don’t want it to change.

Whatever switch or key or door or mental gymnastics or synapse or fugue state that lets you back there, I want to know what it is. I want the decisive answer, the recipe, the steps one two three, and I want to write it down and share it with the world and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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