I miss being able to wear clothes. And no, I haven’t joined a nudist colony. But I work at a summer camp, where I spend 10 hours a day in a heavy cotton t-shirt and gym shorts. Compression shorts that perk up my butt—an unintended perk (was that a pun?)—but that clamp up my front-junk-in-the-trunk in a spandex cocoon and encase my thighs in a stretch-dream. At the end of the day, I’ve sweated through that shirt ten times over, and it’s covered in Fudgesicles and sunscreen.
When I get home, I either go to the gym and then get into pajamas, or I get into my “in between work and sleep” oversized white tank top that I bought for five dollars at JoAnn Fabrics.
I miss the excitement of putting on an outfit, reworking clothes I already have into a new outfit, creating the kaleidoscopic push-and-pull of switching out this cardigan for that, kicking off shoes and slipping on a pair of TOMs, of feeling like I was this fresh person with each button pushed through the puncture in the fabric.
I miss having occasions. Even when I was getting dressed for class, it was an occasion. It was a chance to run into someone or show someone a part of me. Plus I like to think I have good fashion sense and I fucking live for compliments.
And connected to this is the idea of attractiveness. I don’t feel as cute or sexy lately, and so I pick apart my body more, agonizing over each square inch of musculature footage. It’s like my body is this house and when I can cultivate outfits, I’m reminded of each part in its individual-wholeness and it reminds me that my body is this sinewy, strong piece of work, blood-blushed marble breathing along every artery. And I treat it like it’s strong, like the stretch of muscle underneath is as hand-crafted as the brown-stitched blue denim that’s smoothing over my shoulders and buttoning over my heart.
But when I spend my day going from sweat-streaked staff shirt to sweat-stained workout gear to pajamas, I forget the ritual. I forget why I like getting dressed. And so the things I do to combat the rising anxiety and spiraling about Why does my body look like this and I need to do something now about it and What can I do what can I do like working out and eating salads stop being helpful mortar and pestle and start being hurtful sandpaper and grit.
This post started about in its nascence about bodies, but I find clothes much more fascinating. And not just “trends” and “how-to’s”. I fucking love clothes because I fucking love who we can become with them. I miss the luxury of dressing in all black, because when I dress in black I am simultaneously in mourning and vengeful, strong and languid. Clothes are a way of adapting myself to myself, of trying to verbalize how I’m feeling by being physical. I’ve discovered that I can’t often express myself in “healthy” ways. They eke out of me and mutate, so physically expressing them, through clothes or typing or working out, they make me heard, understood, felt.
Whenever I do…how to say this and remain correct…these emotionally rambling, or emotionally driven, essays, I always feel like ending with paragraphs that say shit like, “Omg guys, sorry for being so crazy. Like I don’t even know where I was going with this, just thought I would write! Lol quirks alerts :ppp.” Like, dude, fuck that.
I always tread this line of wondering how much of my life to share online. Obviously I’ve done the essays about first dates and first porn meanderings, but those are far removed and I change the names of the participants, so it’s relatively distant from the hurling hurricane that is my daily life. I was just really feeling inspired by Amy Winehouse, and I wanted to write and let it flow and it evolved like a Pokémon into this obvious aforementioned essay.
I’m really not as put together as I think I appear to be. And if you’re reading this thinking to yourself, “Dude, you don’t seem put together,” then take the number out of 10 that you think I am put together and subtract about a two. If you came up with a negative number, frankly I’m a little offended that you think so little of me, but if you ended up with anything higher than like an eight, then you’re fucking lying to yourself.
Also, Marco, as I’m writing this I’m texting you. So nice little shout-out to future you from present me. Well, I mean is it present-you and past-me? from whose perspective does the time matter? Time really is fucking relative, you guys.
In conclusion, I want to have the freedom to be a nightmare dressed like a daydream.