Sunday, September 25, 2011

My September issues.

I remember, way back in my youth that was ever so long ago, getting fired up over fall and the idea of going out and buying all sorts of cute new outfits for school. I say “idea” because, as a young chubster, buying all sorts of cute new outfits simply wasn't going to happen because they didn't actually exist. I would buy the fall issue of Seventeen magazine, big and thick and crammed with all sorts of fashion ideas and tips and tricks and ooh and ahh over the assorted ensembles on their pages, and of course not a stitch of the ensembles came in a size bigger than 12.

I would try to cobble together something that could be interpreted as being sort of hip or current, but I had two stores from which to cobble – Lane Bryant (back before they decided to make clothing for women under 60) and Sizes Unlimited (lots of basics. Lots...of basics. LOTS). I remember buying a hot pink studded belt from maybe Claire's or Contempo Casuals or maybe Express (since all I could buy were accessories if I went shopping with my thin friends), a belt that was meant to go around one's torso twice. Of course, it only got around me once with perhaps another six or seven inches available, and I spent ages tweaking it so at least I could wear a COOL BELT (it was 1985). A particularly disagreeable male classmate decided to call me out on it, of course, since what business did I, Fat Girl, have trying to look like the thin girls?

Oh, there was so much polyester in my life. So much damn polyester. It wasn't until junior year of high school came along that it seemed like clothing from a planet closer to mine began to be made for the fat chick about town, and I had settled into my “I Am Robert Smith of the Cure In Drag” phase so I could slap together lots of black and skirts and such that made me feel more like ME than someone being forced to wear god-awful shit because that was all that was available. I want to say Mode Magazine appeared around that time as well, but the internet is not helping me and at some point, there's a lot of blurring beyond a certain date, if you feel me. Reader, I'm 39. BLURRING.

Had Torrid appeared when I was 16? HOLY. SHIT. I don't know what I would have done with myself from all the joy that would have been coursing through my veins. Mind you, I'm referring to version 1.0 of Torrid, when it was Goth-esque and DARK and I WEAR BLACK ON THE OUTSIDE BECAUSE BLACK IS HOW I FEEL ON THE INSIDE awesome for suburban teens such as myself. And I'm glad that Torrid exists for fat teengirls now because Lane still just doesn't quite cut it if you're below a certain age. Well shit, Lane doesn't really cut it for me at 39, but so few clothiers do. If I do decide I must buy something, my first stop is going to be Vive La Femme in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood because owner Stephanie Sack is made of 100 percent pure awesome and makes shopping for clothes so festive. I always thought I was sized out of what is carried at Vive La Femme, but Stephanie is magic. I also will snarf around and I have some dresses from her that are also magic. Lane gets my business for my unmentionables and jeans and that's about it because I'm sniffy and refuse to be anything other than comfortable these days. That may mean I dress like a 20-something fat skater kid, but I'm not constantly pulling or yanking or adjusting something to get it over my belly/out of my ass/up above my knees. I can't present myself in a manner which I appreciate if I'm in shoes that are making my size Tenleven gunboats hurt.

I'm looking at my closet right....NOW and there are so many items in it that I haven't worn in literally years, but it's as if I'm keeping them for a rainy day where I'll suddenly come over all I MUST DRESS UP. I just hope they'll all go with jeans.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We hate it when our friends become soft pretzels.*

I had kind of a weird revelation today when I arrived home from my gig at the Evil Empire. I was named an employee of the month at the Empire and then my boss told me she wants to present me to my co-workers as, basically, someone to emulate. All of which, on paper, seems quite good.

However, in reality, I'm utterly horrified by it. If there's anything I've learned in my 39 years of existence it's that people being successful at something is kind of annoying. Sure, if you're “mature”, you are pleased when friends or family achieve something. But tucked deep down in a corner of the small bowel is a little wretched imp that breathes, “fuck you, sailor” whenever someone does something of an achievementy nature. Okay, fine, at least in me it does, but I know you've got a wretched imp in there too DON'T LIE TO ME.

It's not that I don't want to be good at my job. I like money and I like having some sort of say in how things are run in my little corner of the Evil Empire. But I am fretful that my co-worker pals will stop seeing me as Good Time Fun Janey and begin seeing me as the goddamned pain in the ass brownnoser who is making them do things or try things they don't want to do since all any of us want to do is do our work and go home and not have someone up our collective ass about how we do our work. Instead of being part of the team and saying “yeah, yeah, they need to go fuck themselves”, I'm going to be a part of the team that is going to be the target of the “go fuck yourselves”. I want to believe that I will be helpful and perhaps teach them some new tricks...but I suspect I'll just be painted as a meddling douchetron. They're not going to be glad that a member of the team is on the inside, they're going to be pissed that I'm possibly complicating things for them or, worse, making them look bad.

That's the rub, isn't it, being jealous or irritated when someone achieves something. It's not so much about that other person, but completely about us. About how we're somehow NOT succeeding as long as someone else is. Or that it's utterly impossible for us to succeed if Fang Watermelon has gone ahead and won the trophy for Best Whatever. Never mind that we might be trying for a different trophy, say, the Best HooHahery trophy – that motherfucking Fang Watermelon's gone and TAKEN ALL THE GLORY. And sure, if you're struggling to discover what it is you want to succeed at or it feels like you haven't caught a break or you're a little low on soul coal, seeing your peers or co-workers or whatever doing well or getting attention for can blow rather hard. In those moments, all we can really do is dig our heels in and take stock of what things in one's life are actually good and, if not pleased with those results, see what it is that needs to be done in order to make things I know I have people skills (despite how much they can irritate the piss out of me) and that I can help my co-workers see that I'm not the enemy or trying to make things shitty for them.

Well, if nothing else, I'll dazzle them with candy since all the Halloween displays are up and YUM FUN SIZED.

*this is what an old friend used to call Morrissey's “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh shit, I have a blog.

So yeah, it's been a while (and goddammit, whenever I say that phrase I wind up with that silly-ass Staind song stuck in my head), but what can I tell you except the 29-year-old me would have kept on bloggin' about the most useless of shit while the 39-year-old me doesn't assume that anyone gives a rat's ass about what I have to say because it's okay that no one gives a rat's ass about what I have to say.

Admittedly, operating under that assumption (that is, I don't have to zip open my innards and pour everything onto the page under the guise of “entertainment” or “a writing exercise”) has resulted in my creativity going straight into the dumper. Every now and again, it scratches at me, that kind of annoyance that comes when you're getting a tattoo and it feels like someone constantly scratching at your skin for an hour, complete with ooky bleeding and seeping. At the present time, I'm “enjoying” a grand ole time at the Stress Circus thanks to having one parent who decided having a stroke the day before my boyfriend was due to arrive from overseas for a visit was a great idea and the other parent deciding to throw all coping skills to the wind. (Note: said stroke was minor and the strokee is going great guns and doing quite well, etc. etc. Copercabana...well...uh-huh.) For me, stress manifests mostly physically – my carcass decides to basically cave in on itself and provides me with aches, pains, stomach troubles, and repellent events of a bathroomy nature. I handle my stress by giving into it for a couple days and then something in my brain clicks and allows me to ignore it, but not ignore the guilt that comes with not going to work for two days, not wanting to talk to anyone, and devoting whatever energy I can summon up to get out of bed/go to work/perform my duties/come home/perform my duties/retreat to cave. There isn't much room for anything else.

Ergo, despite the fleeting ideas (I loathe the fucking phrase “plot bunnies”) caroming around my head, the thought of sitting down and giving said ideas any sort of existence is horrifying to me. Which then leads me down the Depresso Path of “well, it's not like you'd actually be able to sell it/publish it/put it on a pamphlet and pass it to people outside of street festivals”, naturally. Then the Depresso Path sort of folds in on itself in an “Inception”-style fashion and Marion Cotillard is sad and mysterious and Leonardo DiCaprio's face just gets wider and his eyeballs get narrower. Kind of like Gollum, actually.

Holy shit, speaking of Gollum, I decided to read The Hobbit for the first time since I was a kid (I think I read it when I was a kid, though maybe I just saw a cartoon of it...maybe?) and I was not prepared for it to, well, kind of suck. I shouldn't say it sucked, because it certainly moved along and was well-written and whatnot, but oof, at the end of the day it was not my bag. After reading the ever-so-serious Lord of the Rings trilogy, digesting the utter romp that is The Hobbit is a bit rough. Thinking about how in the red-hot hell they're going to make a movie out of The Hobbit that doesn't make me seek out something to punch troubles me, reader, lo how it troubles me. Not to say I won't see it, I will see the SHIT out of it. But I'm steeling myself now for something that could possibly be a steaming pile. Trust me, I'm not one of those folks who gets super-tight when a film of a book I enjoyed gets loosey-goosey with the source material (though Bennie winding up with Jack in the film version of “Circle of Friends” was a bullshit cop-out and casting 98 percent of “The House of the Spirits” with white people was an absolute LOAD plus two hours is not enough to tell such an epic story and let's not get me rolling on “Memoirs of a Geisha”), but it just seems to throw in appearances by Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom to entice Ringers into seeing The Hobbit. There has to be Hobbiters, right? And I would assume Ringers and Hobbiters all kind of dine at the same restaurant. Unless there's some sort of vocal Ringers vs. Hobbiters gang war that I'm not hip to. I wouldn't be surprised if there was, since the internet has long taught me that if there's a goodly reason to fight, by gum, we shall fight. Whether it be over politics, religion, the “Star Wars” Blu-Rays or if Orlando Bloom looks better with short hair or when his lustrous mane is in full curly magnificence.

Don't judge me, you a-holes. I'm IN A STATE RIGHT NOW.