Trying to love the body that made my baby and pushed him out. In some moments succeeding. In others feeling strange and not myself, so so far away from myself. Last summer I finally found a bathing suit I really liked and this summer it doesn’t fit. I also found the best jeans last year (a constant struggle for one with long, wide hips) and now they are useless to me. oh how i finally felt in those jeans. I am cutting up and trying to fix clothes so they will fit this body now. I am cutting in fits of hormones and making mistakes.
My body grew a human being and push him out and I love him more than anything on this whole planet.
My body is everything right now. It is food for the baby, comfort for the baby, a body to lie on, a body to be held by. My body is a kind of machine. A marvel of nature. Resilient. Healing. Consumed by hormones. did i mention hormones?
But where am I in this body? What is my relationship to it now that I cannot do things like crunches or leg lifts or anything involving lower abdominals? not that i was like huge into leg lifts but like, i could do them, you know? Now that I cannot fit into my clothes. Now that my once proud belly is a totally different belly that I don’t know how I feel about showing off to the world. I want to. I want to, I want to wear my crop tops and be a shining light for all the postpartum women’s bodies that are squishy and zebra-lined with stretch marks and breasts that are not the same breasts we once had breasts we can barely hold up the weight of in un-sexy nursing bras! seriously though can someone design better nursing bras, better nursing and postpartum clothes, better so many things.
My body does not feel like mine. Sometimes it feels more mine than ever after doing such a strong and crazy hard and scary and beautiful thing as giving birth. That was MY pain. MY story. MY blood and shit and pee and sweat and muscles and pushing. But also this body belongs to the new human being that I am responsible for keeping alive. My body is two bodies. The one that is me feels like a shadow.
Loving “objects” sometimes feels a little wrong to me, because they are not people, not living. It’s “materialistic.” But you know what? I love how this dress makes me feel. The look of it, the feel of the material, the swishing of the skirt, the open back, the fit on my body. I love it. I love where I got the dress: a second hand store in Brattleboro on one of our trips to the hospital there for Mama’s appointments.
I have a special feeling about clothes. They are treasures. T-shirts from concerts or theater camps or the Goodwill, plaid button ups just long enough and fitted enough, jeans that hug my hips, comfy pajamas for snuggling in, sweaters with just the right stripes, warm socks, beautiful dresses. I like to take care of them so they’ll last a long time.
Clothes have memories, stories. They remind me of certain times, comfort me. My mom’s orchid-pink, hand-painted strapless dress from when she was twenty-one. My sister’s blue flannel shirt that she gave me when she moved out of Oregon after college and was getting rid of most of her stuff. My boyfriend’s wool sweater that shrunk in the wash. My aunt Theresa’s black and white wrap dress she gave me along with other hand-me-downs when cleaning out her closet in Colorado. Feeling that someone is with me when I wear an item of clothing that used to be theirs.
I wore this gold dress over the weekend to my cousin Chad’s Bar Mitzvah along with a pair of black dance flats with bows that I got at Payless when Mama and I went to the Berkshire Mall together on the bus.
I think clothes are living, in a way. Clothes hold our bodies as we dance, cook, read, walk, work, love, fight, sleep. They live our lives with us.
a new series about getting dressed and other important things.
Usually, I enjoy getting dressed. Of course, there are those days of frustration and fashion co-dependency, but I am always searching for that Over-all Feeling of Balance. This same Balance is what I search for in my art, relationships, and all aspects of my life.
This series will be discussing the Daily Arts which we all encounter: getting dressed, eating, and decorating our surroundings.
Considerations for today:
Most of the day was spent in my pajamas working at home. Because I spend so much time in pajamas, I like to wear cute ones, like this matching men’s set purchased in Chinatown by my mother. I also sported a long-sleeve grey cardigan and my gemini pin (made by yoko kikuchi).
This Feeling of Balance is the feeling you have when, in the perfect outfit, you stroll down the street feeling proud, beautiful, and anxiety-free. In the perfect outfit you are not even aware of your clothes. I think we all try to achieve this, whether conciously or not, and I find myself observing and taking note of what other people are wearing. Sometimes I see something so Right On that I exclaim inside, “Oh that’s IT!” while other times I may see something that could be just right if only for a few minor changes. However, the Feeling is very personal and individual. No one can decide for anyone else what is the right thing to wear. What is right for me may be completely off-course for someone else. In this section I do not aim to tell people what to wear or not to wear. I am merely discussing an idea that interests me, and may interest others. I am talking about my own feelings about clothes and what I wear and how it affects my daily life. I really do feel it is an art, as is every part of how we live our lives. Something my sister said once is that her art is her life; not something specific that she does or makes, but just how she lives her life every day. This is what I remind myself of when I am feeling down or stressed.