Objects in the Selfie Are Fatter Than They Appear

I’m sure that I’ve written about this before in various forms, but it’s always worth repeating. Like the meme that I repost on Instagram periodically. It’s always good to remind folks about my reality because it’s not adequately reflected in my selfies.

There’s a reason for that and it extends somewhat beyond just trying to present my best self, though I am absolutely trying to do that with the angles and the lighting.

So, in case you’re new or you need to be reminded, I’m fat. Not low self-esteem fat, not Hollywood fat, actually fat. Midwestern fat. I ballpark my weight at about 250. 100%, Grade A Fat.

However, I don’t carry weight in my face. Even at my heaviest (which was nearly 270), my face looked a little rounder than usual, but that was it. My face has never reflected how heavy the rest of me is. I do not have a fat face. I’m also gifted with some nice shoulders and a relatively slender neck.

And what parts of me are showing when I’m taking selfies? That’s right. Pretty much the cleavage up.

Now I do have fat arms. We’re talking bat wings for days and nights. But with the right twist and the right angle, you don’t really notice the arms. Especially if there’s cleavage in play and the stretchmarks/scars are hidden. Then you don’t even notice my face.

Likewise, when I’ve been taking pictures of my tights and/or fishnets, I do so with my legs propped up on my dresser. I do this because it’s a better lighting angle and you get a better view of my tights and/or fishnets. However, in doing this, it makes my legs look thinner than they actually are. It’s just the result of gravity pulling on my leg fat in a pleasing way rather than yanking on the bulk the way it does when I’m standing, or my thighs just squishing out to the county lines when I sit down.

It’s not a deliberate trick to make myself look thinner. It’s a consequence of the deliberate choice I make of how I show off my tights/fishnets.

What I need is a full-length mirror (and a place to put said mirror). Then I could show off all of my cute tights and fishnets and outfits and my fat as well. Because I don’t like the feeling I sometimes get that I’m hiding how fat I really am. No one has ever said anything to insinuate that I was trying to work any deception, but when I get comments (especially from het dudes) about how good I look, I feel like they’re not taking into account that -as I’ve repeatedly stated and sometimes provided photographic evidence of- there’s a whole lot more of me to look at that isn’t in the picture they’re looking at. See how many compliments they give me when the can see the totality of me.

And I’m not saying that I wouldn’t present my fat in its best light and angles. Of course I would. I’m vain.

But then I’d at least be able to show not tell when reminding folks I’m fat.

Women Are People, Too

There is something fascinating about people who have an issue with inclusive language.

Their main argument is that inclusive language -phrases like “humans with a uterus” or “folks who menstruate” or “pregnant people”- erases women. These reproductive ideals have historically been linked with the concept of cis women and therefore that makes them somehow exclusive to them. To include non-binary and trans folks into that conversation somehow excludes women despite women also being people, folks, and humans.

Like I said, fascinating.

It’s fascinating because the fixation on a woman’s reproductive organs and the reduction of a woman’s entire identity to this biological function puts women into their own special category, exalted and oppressed and in dire need of protection, apparently. According to these people, only women can have a uterus; only women menstruate; only women give birth. Are there cis women who don’t have a uterus, menstruate, or give birth? Yes, but the insinuation is that they are somehow less of a woman because of that. The gatekeeping is intense and it’s damaging to those cis women these people purport to protect.

Why do you think Blanche Deveraux on The Golden Girls had a crisis over going through menopause and even said that she was less of a woman because she could no longer bear children? Why do you think women who struggle with infertility feel like failures? Because of the perpetuation of these bullshit requirements that insist that the only real women are biologically capable of bearing children. The underlying message, of course, is that a woman’s most important role -dare I say sole purpose- is to produce and raise the next generation and if you can’t do that (or don’t want to do that), then you’re failing as a woman.

I think, though, the real trouble these people have with inclusive language isn’t just that it includes non-cis women into this formerly cis-women-only conversation, it’s that it refers to all of them as people.

When the inclusive-language haters talk about people, they’re talking about men. Men are people. Women are not people. Women are women. Trans folks are not people. They’re trans. Non-binary folk are not people. They’re non-binary. Men are people. The rest are categories. And when these categories start using inclusive language like “folks who menstruate” or “humans who have a uterus” or “pregnant people”, it doesn’t just include anyone these things apply to, but it also excludes men. Men are people, but they are not these people. And that bothers some humans to such an extent that they feel the need to police language and defend the use of the word “woman” as they believe it’s going extinct.

But the truly fascinating thing is that the word “woman” isn’t going extinct. In fact, it’s growing in popularity and gaining meaning.

Probably because women are people, too.

I Must Art!

I don’t now about your library, but the library that I work at has some really nifty programs, some of which are arts and/or crafts. We also have Grab and Go Kits, which are usually craft projects. As someone who has creative urges, these things appeal to me greatly. As such, I’ve been doing a lot more arts and crafts since I started working at the library.

When it comes to the Grab and Go Kits, those are usually one and done. I did my fall scene in a jar, my winter votive, my calming heart that you were supposed to embroider something sweet on, but I stitched FU, and I was good. I didn’t feel compelled to buy more supplies and make more of those things (though I do have enough leftover material to make another calming heart, so that’s probably going to happen eventually). However, there were two programs that captured my artistic heart.

Back in the summer of 2021, our wonderful program director Marie held a tiny art show. She created Grab and Go Kits with three colors of acrylic paint and either a 3×3 inch canvas or a package of model clay. Inside the kits were forms for people who wanted to participate in the art show to fill out and return with their art, which was put on display for a month in the old display case that used to house the creepy doll collection that had thankfully been retired not long before.

Since staff was allowed to participate, I was all in.

How could I resist making tiny, terrible art? I love making terrible art. I’ve been using water color pencils for a few years. Acrylic on canvas sounded like fun. I made my tiny, terrible beach scene and loved doing it. All of the art that patrons and staff did was pretty cool, but it wasn’t putting my art on display that gave me the rush. It was that act of arting that I loved. The creation process.

I ended up buying more tiny canvases and some new acrylics. The results were gifted to people for Grinchmas.

And then I bought more canvases. And some more new paints. And I have made more tiny, terrible art.

Recently, my coworker Rachel held a program about pressed flower art. I had to work, but Marie covered the desk for me and my partner in library crimes Trisha so we could attend the program long enough to learn how to make the pressed flower art and collect the supplies so we could do it at home.

I took my cuttings, rolled out my clay, pressed my flowers, painted it all once it dried, and then did some macrame hangers for it. I gifted the results to a friend.

And then ordered more clay. My latest batch of flower art is sitting on the floor of my room waiting to be painted and will ideally be done by the time you read this.

That’s the real trick of all of this. Because I love doing all these things so much, I’m more motivated to find time to do them. As much as I love to do creative things, I’m the kind of person that will put them off, telling myself I don’t have time because I should be doing all of these other things, and now it’s too late. You know. Being responsible. It’s a total drag.

Tiny, terrible art and pressed flower art have challenged that mindset. Why can’t I paint a cherry blossom tree on a Sunday night while watching a movie? Good news! I can!

This is has been a marvelous life change. I don’t have to save my arting for when I have time. I can totally do some macrame or paint some clay on a Wednesday night after work. I am allowed to take that time to indulge my creative urges.

Which is good.

Because sometimes I must art!

I Am Poorly Put Together

My DNA assembled like a Voltron bought off Wish and it’s the cause of so many of my problems*.

First of all, I’m too short. Yes, I realize that at 5’5″ I’m the average height for a woman, but I feel like a lot of my problems could be solved if I were taller, say 5’8″ or 5’9″. Maybe even 5’10”. The point is that if you stretched me out some, I’d be in a lot better shape. Just being taller would go a long way to solve some issues. Like needing to climb on the counter to get stuff on the top of the cabinets because I’m just a little too short.

My hands and my feet are too small and everything else is too big. I’ve somehow created the illusion that my fingers are longer than they are, probably because they’re more on the slender side and I paint my nails, but trust me. My hands are too small. My ability to play the guitar is severely hindered. My handfuls of anything are miniscule. Small hands on the ends of chunky arms with voluminous bat wings is just not a good look.

Speaking of, the arms are a bit too short, which adds to the chunkiness. Longer arms would give more space for that fat. Oh, and you want to be able to reach something with your teeny grubby chubbies? Tough luck lady. Better get to climbing with your too-short legs ’cause you got alligator arms. My belly dance moves always look less graceful without the long arms and adult-sized hands. I’m like a flailing toddler over here.

I am violently pear-shaped. Big hips, big ass, big thighs…and then small feet. I come to a point. I look like a waffle cone with a fat belly (2 scoops!), manageable breasticles (thanks to reduction surgery), and broad shoulders stacked on top, all of that a little mashed because I’m short-waisted. You want jeans that fit? Good luck. You want to be able to wear certain shirts without Hulking out of them? Keep dreaming.

When I was getting my physical therapy assessment done to prepare for my patellar tendonitis treatment, the guy doing the assessment said to his student, “You see how she’s got wide hips like that? How her legs come down like that? Yeah, that’ll cause knee problems.” So, what you’re telling me is that my body actually assembled itself to cause itself pain. Given my brain’s reluctance to make happy chemicals, I suppose that tracks. I still don’t appreciate it, though.

But this goes back to what I said earlier about being too short. If you stretched me out a bit, my hips wouldn’t be so wide and I wouldn’t have knee problems. Science.

Also, the thing with the small feet is that while I can wear boys’ shoes and that’s pretty great when you’re in the market for some Power Ranger velcros, these tiny dancers don’t fit this big frame. Even without the excess weight, I’ve got broad shoulders and big hips. I need bigger boats for all this freight. It’s like moving a refrigerator on roller skates. Funny, but not necessarily functional.

It’s frustrating to be so poorly drawn, looking like a lot of bad ideas somebody scotch-taped together. The fashion doesn’t wear as well. The odds and ends, what’s left in the bin approach to assembly has caused some unfortunate wear and tear. Damn shame about the warranty. And to be completely shallow, it’s not that aesthetically pleasing.

Is 43 too late for a growth spurt? Asking for my two-scoop waffle cone shaped friend.

*Petty ass complaints about mostly insignificant things with the exception of the petellar tendonitis because I’m tired of my knees hurting and I’d like to be able to squat down again, thank you.

That Family Work Ethic

There are certain traits associated with the paternal side of my DNA. Stubborn. Funny. Resourceful. Fond of the drink. Great dancers.

Unbeatable work ethic.

It’s that work ethic that is legend. We don’t call in. We show up every day we’re scheduled, we do our job (and sometimes other people’s jobs), we do them well, and you can always count on us. While that is admirable to an extent, it has gotten me into trouble on occasion and caused an internal conflict I’ve only recently come to resolve.

I have my family’s work ethic. I show up every day I’m scheduled. In the past, I’ve gone to work sick and hurt. My record of not calling lasted for years and was only recently broken because my upper back went out. I couldn’t even stand up and there was no way I could put on a bra, but I was still looking for a way to go to work.

You would think that this sort of work ethic would make working forty hours a week no problem.

And yet!

I’ve worked full-time in multiple jobs and somehow in my younger years it was easier to bear. I guess because I was still riding high on the idea that it was what I was supposed to do. Make a living until I could find something better. And then make a living doing that. The goal, of course, was to be a responsible adult.

Which turns out to be something I’m not interested in.

I was unemployed when I began my third go-round at community college. I ended up going back to Walmart for the third time about a year later, but this time, I chose to work only part-time because of school. It was the first time I’d worked part-time since I was in high school and it turned out that I really liked it. I liked that I only worked four days a week and that I had fewer responsibilities than the full-timers. For the first time since I started working above the table, I wasn’t striving to get a promotion or be in charge or take on more responsibility. I went to work, did my job, and went home. And when I predictably dropped out of community college again, I kept my part-time schedule, this time because I had decided to get serious about my writing career and wanted that time to write.

The job I had after I got blackballed from Walmart was last full-time job I’ve had and I hated it. I hated the job and I hated being there 40 hours a week. I didn’t last a year.

At one point I held three part-time gigs at once and somehow I like it better than working 40 hours a week at one gig.

I’ve had the part-time library gig for over three years now. It’s hard to reconcile my famous family work ethic with my unwillingness to work full-time. Yes, I’m still serious about my writing career and have branched out to podcasting, and yes, I bust my ass at my library gig, showing up every day and putting in the effort, but my “real” job is still considered less real because it’s only part-time.

Can I still say I have my family’s work ethic?

Well, yeah. Because I realized that my work ethic happens to take after my Great-Uncle Junior’s.

Uncle Junior, like his brothers, was a working fool when he worked. He busted his ass when he worked. It’s just that he felt he should only work as much as he had to. “They can’t eat ya” is a family motto where bills are concerned and so long as his were paid, he was good. Sure, he lived in a bus by the river at one time, but that was because he wanted to, not necessarily because he had to.

As it turns out, I’m the same way. I only want to work as much as I have to and I have shaped my life to allow for that. Yeah, it’s not ideal and there are ways in which I’m hoping to improve it. I consider it my version of living in a bus down by the river. But until I can only work as much as I have to by writing alone, this is how I’m rolling.

Family work ethic intact.

I Save My Rage for the Road

A remarkable thing happens when I get into my car.

It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having. I could be having a perfectly lovely day, in a glorious mood, everything going my way. And then I get behind the wheel and I turn into the Hulk. I am instantly filled with rage and impatience. So long as I am in that car, I am Queen Bitch. And then I get to my destination, hop out of the car, and my cheerful mood resumes.

Suffice it to say, I have some form of road rage.

Now I’m not one of those people that will purposely harass you on the road because of some perceived slight, nor am I the kind to hop out of my vehicle at a stop sign to attempt violence. But I will hex you and your bloodline past, present, and future into oblivion.

I do not know why I’m like this. Because I wasn’t always like this. I’ve done a lot of driving in my years since acquiring my license. I’ve done my time commuting for work and I used to take regular trips to the Chicago area, a two and a half/three hour drive depending on how you feel about speed limits. I’ve driven to Arkansas and Buffalo. There is a part of me that likes to drive sometimes. On one of my commutes, I found a stretch of meditation in the form of taking the back road to catch the highway. Just crank the radio, roll down the window, and go.

This didn’t mean that I wouldn’t get irritated with other drivers. Part of the reason I took the back roads was to avoid them. The best highway commutes were when the cars were few and far between. I was not above voicing vocal frustration at people acting like they learned to drive at the demolition derby. Or the people who found the speed limits too high and sought to slow down the entire flow of traffic.

I stopped those twenty-thirty minute commutes years ago. Since 2019, I’ve barely driven out of town. I pretty much only drive around town, to and from work, running errands. And it seems that with the shortened distances have come a shortened temper.

I have a short drive to get to the library. Honestly, I should walk, but I don’t want to get dressed for work any earlier than I have to. Also, I don’t want to go to work sweaty. Anyway, it is amazing how many swear words I can cram into such a short drive because everyone pisses me off. There are days, of course, in which I manage the drive without incident. But more often than not, someone doesn’t know how to work the square or someone can’t work a four way stop or someone can’t work the parking lot or someone decides to just walk out in front of my car.

Allow me to remind you that I live in a small town, not some busy metropolis, and my commute to work is all of five minutes.

The fact that my chill vacates the second the key hits the ignition bothers me more than the people I swear at while I drive (I admit that it’s a tiny-margin victory). I’m beginning to suspect that I haven’t mastered the art of calm in other areas of my life at all and instead, I’m just detouring it all to ride shotgun with me whenever I’m driving around town.

I’m carpooling with my stress.

Maybe I should get a bike.

It’s Only Love

The week of Valentine’s Day, when everything is draped in red, pink, and white, hearts and flowers and cupids plastered everywhere, romantic love is full on in the spotlight is the perfect time to point out that despite what society tells you, romantic love is not the pinnacle of the love hierarchy.

Actually, there is no love hierarchy. There are many different kinds of love and no one kind is better than another.

Society and the media would have you believe that romantic love is the end all when it comes to love, the tip top of the love pyramid. And it can be great, don’t get me wrong. I, myself, enjoy romantic love and would love to have more of it in my life. But I think it’s important to have all kinds of love in your life. No such thing as too much. As such, no one kind of love can be better than another. But most people have been conditioned to place romantic love on a pedestal anyway.

Familial love, platonic love, love for humanity…it all can have a place in people’s lives and it’s silly to think that one kind of love is somehow better than another. But even within those categories of love, we still try to create some kind of ranking system.

The love between a married couple is somehow greater than the love between an unmarried couple.

The love of a mother for her child is somehow the greatest love of all familial love, over any love a father can give to a child or siblings can have for each other. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…they all fall a very distant second. Hell, a mother’s love is even considered superior to romantic love. Sorry, spouse.

Platonic love is probably one of the lowest ranked love categories because the love of friends is nice, but not as important as a family member or spouse. Even then, though, we have best friends and just friends.

I think the societal insistence of these love perceptions aggravate and antagonize issues that people can have when it comes to their relationships. Why do you think so many people would choose a bad relationship over no relationship at all? The messaging is that there’s something terribly wrong about being single, that being alone is something to avoid at all costs. Even if it means settling for someone you only marginally tolerate and being somewhat baseline unhappy all the time. At least you’re not alone, right? Yeah.

Or what about his idea of a mother’s love? Now, I’m not knocking the love a mother has for a child, but let’s face the reality that not all mothers’ love is created equal. There’s this weird idea that you have to forgive your mother for everything simply because she’s your mom and that it’s the child’s responsibility to heal all of those wounds. Compound this with the substandard mother’s love that some children end up receiving, and it’s no wonder people develop relationship issues. If a mother’s love sets the standard and the standard set is toxic…well…there’s not much of a happy ending here.

Likewise, the people who hold the love of blood relatives over friends. The found family trope resonates with people for a reason. Those folks stuck with toxic blood find a blessing in the relationships with the friends they choose, only to be told that this is somehow less than the less than family they have. It festers a guilt about attachments. About loving your friends more than your family. About loving your chosen family over your blood one.

Obviously, people can and do overcome these issues, but think of how much easier it would be if they didn’t start with these inaccurate concepts of weighted love values. If we treated all love as being equal, then that’s one less issue to reconcile when working on our relationship wounds.

And maybe we’d get to place where we could enjoy our relationships more.

After all, it’s only love.

I Wear Body Armor

I know I just wrote about using fashion to boost my serotonin, but did you know that I also dress for protection?

Allow me to explain.

A couple of weeks ago at the library I work at, I presented a program on 22 murders that occurred in my county. I’ve not done any public speaking of this kind since my third go round of community college in speech class, which was close to fifteen years ago now. I did well in the class, of course, because I’m one of those people who insists on excelling academically, but this program wasn’t for a grade. Speaking in front of twenty people, even about something I’m interested in and excited about (like murder) is daunting. Throw some anxiety in there and the entire week leading up to the program I was regretting my decision to do this. I felt like there was no way I was going to remember everything, that people were going to be bored, that it was going to be a dud of a program, and I was going to let down our program director, whom I adore.

Knowing that anxiety and doubt were going to plague me, I decided my best course of action would be to put on my body armor.

I meticulously picked out my outfit down to the socks, panties, jewelry, mask, and eye shadow colors to make me feel as fierce and badass as possible, while still meeting dress code. And it worked. I still had to deal with my anxiety and I still had some doubts until I started talking, but damn I felt good about my look.

I felt bulletproof.

(For the record, I wore a pink button down shirt, white criss-cross tanktop, boyfriend cut jeans, pink socks, my custom chaos Vans, pink mask, and black and pink jewelry.)

Like playing with my fashion to help boost my mood, sometimes I use it as armor, too. Armor against the world and armor against myself.

Facing a crappy day? Sometimes all I need is the sexiest pair of panties I own. It’s like wearing kevlar. My secret defense against the world.

Not in the mood to be fucked with at work? I have found that people do not argue with me if I wear excessive amounts of pink. No, I don’t know why, but it has yet to fail.

Needing a little extra insulation from my anxiety? That’s why I have an ungodly amount of novelty socks.

It’s something that I can do even on the days when I’m not going full fashion. Maybe I’m just having a meh day that calls for soft clothes, but I’ve got glittery slippers to cap off that legging and sweatshirt combo.

Like any armor, it has its weaknesses. It’s not foolproof. Some days, no amount of armor can protect me. Some days the world is too harsh. Or I’m too harsh. Sometimes, the anxiety finds the gaps in my kevlar. Sometimes, the world does.

And like any armor, I don’t always need it. I’m not constantly walking around in my stylish chain mail anticipating a lance. Sometimes it’s all in the name of serotonin, all just to have fun.

And sometimes, they’re just clothes, something I put on because I live in a society that has decency laws and/or I’m feeling a bit chilly.

That’s what’s so great about fashion.

It’s so versatile.

“That’s None of My Business”

Prince Harry released his memoir detailing his life and relationship with his family. The bits and pieces that leaked out were all the talk of my Twitter timeline and my anglophile roommate. Everybody had their opinions and assessments and evaluations and snarky comments and that’s terrific. But everything I’ve ever learned about the British Royal Family, particularly recently, has been against my will. I simply do not care about them or their family drama. Feel free to take your Jerry Springer shenanigans elsewhere because it is none of my business.

“Well, what about…”

There are plenty of people who care about this sort of thing. I do not need or wish to be one of them, thank you.

Keep calm and gossip on.

One bit of wisdom that has come to me with age is the gloriousness of minding my own business. I don’t have to care about everything. I don’t have to have an opinion about everything. Things that do not impact my existence directly are often best not considered. They do not concern me.

It’s none of my business.

Yes, I’m obviously not talking about important things. I wouldn’t mind my business if I saw someone being assaulted or thought one of my friends was being abused by their partner. But whether or not Prince Harry’s daddy loves him or if his wife is manipulating him for her own gain is none of my concern. That’s someone else’s responsibility.

That is none of my business.

I’ve taken to saying that to people when they try to talk to me about things that I don’t wish to engage with. And the response is interesting. It makes people stutter over their words because they’re not expecting that response. They’re not expecting someone not to engage with them, even politely, on the topic. They’re not expecting someone to say “That’s none of my business,” and then have to debate themselves on whether or not to defend themselves for making whatever it is their business.

For the record, that’s none of my business either. Whatever you choose to make your business is your concern, not mine. All I ask is that when I say it’s none of my business, you respect that.

I have found something very freeing in saying “That’s none of my business.” It’s like a dismissal of obligations. I don’t have to take on any weight associated with this. I don’t have to expend energy thinking about it or knowing about it. I don’t have to waste time talking about it or keeping up with it. It’s none of my business.

I realize that doesn’t sound like a lot. But think of all of the little things that are none of your business. Or my business. They add up. All that energy adds up. All those minutes add up. It’s time and energy better spent on something that actually is my business.

And I’ve got plenty of that.

Fashion in the Name of Serotonin

It was during my birthday week when I was puzzling over what my birthday outfit would be (see pics; warning! I’m much fatter in person), I realized that lately I had been deriving a lot of my serotonin from having fun with my fashion choices.

I have gone through spells in which I’ve played with my style and fashion. In my late teens/early twenties, I tended toward punk/freak ensembles. In my late twenties, after losing forty pounds, I put a little more effort into my style, trying to look a little more fashionable and put together. In my mid-thirties, I did this again, though I experimented a little more, putting vintage vibes into my outfits.

And now here I am in my early forties doing it again.

When I’m not getting my fashion on, it’s usually because of mental illness and/or funds. I don’t have the money to invest in my wardrobe, nor do I have the energy to invest in myself. But let me rebound with some cash and some good brain chemicals, and I’m ready for a shopping spree and the runway.

This latest round started when I started working at the library. I needed work clothes. Old Navy to the rescue. I ended up investing in Pixie pants, of which I already had a few pairs, one of which no longer fit. I got the standard black, but I also ended up getting some patterns. I paired them with different colored t-shirts and a black cardigan. Boom! A uniform was born.

And so was my Old Navy Cash, which I’ve used to continue to invest in my wardrobe.

The pandemic convinced me that I needed to acquire more soft clothes. I had no lounge pants, no leggings, no sweatshirts. And so, I started to build my soft clothes wardrobe, which I wear before I get dressed to go to work. I see no sense in taking a shower in the morning and putting on my work clothes when I’m not going to the library until the afternoon, especially when I’d be eating lunch in the meantime. That’s an invitation to disaster.

In the last year, my library look has evolved away from the t-shirts and cardigans to long-sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, and button down shirts with tank tops underneath. We can also wear jeans to work now, so they’ve been included, but I still wear my Pixie pants most of the time. My collection now includes a variety of fun prints: mermaid (it’s a shiny, blue pattern; everyone calls them my mermaid pants), jungle, flower, dizzy, pinstripe, plaid, tan houndstooth, black and white houndstooth, black and white gingham, windowpane, and hot pink cheetah print. I also acquired quite the collection of slip on canvas shoes in fun prints (glitter! I have glitter shoes!) for some extra pizzazz.

When I got my tax refund this past year, I set aside some of it to buy whatever I wanted. This included a pair of Vans, something I’ve wanted since high school, but never had the money or could justify spending the money if I did have it, some clothes from Torrid (which began my Torrid cash and loyalty points), and some tights from Snag Tights.

You see, by this time, I’d been on TikTok for a bit and one of my favorite people there, Aunty Pinky, has a magnificent punk style that includes Vans, Snag Tights, and some really funky threads, much of which is thrifted. I dig it. But more than that, I wanted the freedom to have fun with my look the way she does hers.

So I bought the Vans, I bought the tights, I bought the threads, and I started to have fun. I started taking joy in putting together work outfits and that joy spread to putting together outfits for my days off, too.

Then I saw a video somewhere in which a woman said that you should dress the way you wanted to when you were a teenager, but didn’t because you didn’t have the money and/or couldn’t find clothes that fit. This further encouraged me to have a good time.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. I own more dresses now than I have in my life, but that’s only because I own more funky tights than I’ve ever owned in my life. My wardrobe has exploded to the extent that I’ve had to acquire space in another closet in the house. As of right now, I need to buy more hangers.

My style definitely has included more punk elements. I’ve been working some vintage vibes, too. And for the first time since the ’90s, I own a bodysuit -the strappy, lacy, sexy one that I wore unapologetically on my birthday. I’m putting a little more sexy in my style, too.

The fun thing about all of this is that I’m about fifteen pounds down from my highest weight and still ten to fifteen pounds heavier from the last time I had a real style run. I’m at an age and a weight when both nobody and everyone cares what I look like. So long as I’m dressing my age and blending in with the wallpaper because of my weight, nobody cares. But I start dressing “younger” and showing off my body, everybody cares.

Too bad for them that I don’t care.

I’m too busy having fun.