Monday, April 7, 2014

Silk Shirts & Sweat Pants

Have you guys seen this yet? Crazy, right? What kind of novelist wears a silk shirt and a watch to write? I mean, we all wear sweats and forget to shower. These are badges of honor! Who has time to worry about fashion when we have ART to create?

That was my first reaction too. I don't think chocolate washes out of silk and I'm not sure when I'd ever have reason to wear a trench coat in real life. What were the editors thinking?

But the longer I sit with this, the more I'm convinced sweat pants shouldn't be the goal either.

I almost didn't write this post because I don't want it to come across wrong. Don't take it as an inditement of your pants-optional life style. I fully support self-expression (see last week's post) and comfort. Think of this instead as your quarterly reminder of the importance of self-care.

Over the last four years, two pregnancies, and a combined 35 months of breastfeeding, I've gained and lost 65% of my body weight. My boobs have expanded to inhuman proportions and shrunk to nothing. I've been through several clothing sizes, worn out just about everything I like to wear, and discovered my old style no longer looks right on my new body. My hair has thinned. My skin breaks out like I'm still a teenager. Showers require Herculean effort each day and often come with an audience. I get it. I want to live in yoga pants and never put on a bra again and shave my head to skip the maintenance.

I get it.

But this is a lesson I learned in college (basically the most disheartening, depressing time in my life):
How you care for yourself is how you see yourself.

What do I mean by that? When I would skip showers to avoid the bathroom rush (yay dorm living) and wear dirty clothes so I wouldn't need to wash laundry, I started to see myself as scuzzy. I felt lazy. My self worth tanked and so did my creative output.

There is a time and a place for comfort. Abso-friggin-lutely. I still look forward to the end of the day when I can trade in denim for flannel. But there's also a place to feel good about yourself. And my guess is that if you're really honest, you feel better when you take care of yourself.

Maybe sweatpants and snarled ponytails are the official uniform of brilliant, unmaterialistic writers. But maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe we should stop viewing our bodies as a hassle. Maybe we should stop viewing showers as something to get in the way of our writing. Maybe we should put a little more care into how we look so we can feel a little better about ourselves.

We all know the magic of fancy underwear, right? You've got on jeans and a tee, but underneath, you know you're sexy. It's a good feeling! Same thing applies here. Doesn't matter if anyone else sees you. YOU see you and you are worth a little care.

Silk shirts with impractical sleeves might be overkill, but try putting on something that makes you feel good, whatever that might look like. See if you don't sit up straighter, feel a little more capable, approach your work with a little more zest.

Don't ditch your comfort clothes. But show your body a little love and it might just show you a little love back.

I love you guys. You're all gorgeous, no matter what you wear.