tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wardrobe Missteps

Usually, I complain about what everyone else in wearing (seriously, anyone who doesn’t have superskinny calves and wears flat boots that only come halfway up the calf needs to have their hands examined; it’s incredibly unflattering), but I do realize that if I’m going to insult the rest of the world, I should be able to criticize myself. And I really needed to yesterday.

In an effort to be more organized and get out the door in a timely manner in the morning, I pick out my work clothes the night before. I usually pull them out of the closet, but last night, I picked out the outfit (dark pink flowered silk chiffon dress, not as dressy as it sounds, and a black velvet jacket, and black boots) in my mind but left it in the closet. This was a big mistake. When I pulled the velvet jacket out this morning, I realized that it had spent months hanging next to a white angora sweater. It looked like a white cat had rolled all over it. I attacked it with a lint roller, but it was taking too long, so I switched to a different jacket. And pondered why on earth I still have that stupid angora sweater, which I never wear because (a) it itches like crazy and (b) I hate angora.

I put on boots and skipped tights because it’s usually pretty warm at work. Sadly, skipping the tights was another mistake, since the silk dress didn’t exactly protect me from the insanely-cold-for-November weather, and I had a bracing wind tunnel effect going on under my dress all the way to work.

I got to work and figured, well, at least the outfit looks good. Until I looked down at one point and realized that, oops, the dress is kind of see-through. I’m not sure why I never noticed this all the other times I’ve worn it. Like a couple of weeks back when I wore it to church to become a godmother. That’s right. I wore a sorta see-through dress to church. Classy.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Anatomy of an Insomnia Attack

After the spring/summer insomnia trifecta of horror (trouble falling asleep, frequent waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up early), my sleep patterns had sort of returned to normal. Although normal for me would probably be considered severe sleep deprivation for most people (I just read about a study suggesting that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to emotional problems. That’s not exactly rocket science.).

Last night, I was totally exhausted, so I was in bed before 10 (yes, very punk rock, I know). I fell asleep pretty quickly, but I woke up around 1:15. My main insomnia issue is that my brain doesn’t seem to have an off switch. When I wake up, if I can just keeping my brain from thinking too much, I can go back to sleep. But last night, my brain started working overtime.

1. First, I started to think about work, which is always a big mistake. I started to worry that there were things I had forgotten to do yesterday. Then I worried about all the stuff I have to do tomorrow. And I agonized over whether I’m doing well at the job. Then I thought about how tomorrow was going to be really awful if I couldn’t get some sleep.

2. From there, I moved on to existential-crisis-type thoughts. Am I doing enough with my life? Am I really achieving anything? Will I have enough money for retirement? Should I have a baby? Can I even still have a baby, what with my aging ovaries and all? What kind of mother would I be, considering that babies kind of give me the creeps?

3. I tried to distract myself from the crazy thoughts with a little harmless fantasizing about what shoes I would buy if money were no object. Unfortunately, I got into an argument with my brain about the relative merits of certain pairs of Miu Miu pumps (Brain: The navy/gray/green ones are more practical. Me: But the pink/red/tan ones are so cute.), and that defeated the whole purpose of a supposedly relaxing fantasy.

4. I had now been lying in bed awake for almost an hour and a half, so it was time to consider getting up. I pondered the idea of watching a DVD, but I didn’t want to start a movie, since that would seem like admitting that there wasn’t going to be any sleep tonight. A TV show seemed like a better idea, but I was having a lot of trouble deciding what the watch (apparently, we own a lot of TV shows on DVD). I considered Veronica Mars, but so far (admittedly, I’m only two episodes in), season 3 is really annoying me. That led to 15 minutes of pondering the downhill trajectory of VM. And wondering why why why the cancer-stricken sorority house mother would have to grow a pot FOREST in the basement when she lives on a college campus, presumably a place with abundant access to pot? And wouldn’t the penalty for being caught buying pot be a lot less harsh than that for being caught growing massive amounts of it? And what college would actually allow a bunch of 18-year-olds to participate in a super-controversial psychological experiment? This extremely productive chain of thought gave me a headache.

5. I decided to get up and read for a while. I’m not actually reading anything at the moment, so I thought maybe about re-reading an old favorite. I was in the mood for some Frances Hodgson Burnett, but I couldn’t locate my copies of The Little Princess and The Secret Garden, and I was just too tired to do a major search. I considered going with Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time, but I’ve read it so many times during bouts of insomnia that I’m afraid I’m going to start associating it with sleep deprivation.

6. So, I gave up on reading and decided to write this instead. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t blame me. Blame my stupid brain.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Do I Have a Problem?

Lately I’ve been wondering if I have a shoe problem. I’ve thrown out a lot of shoes recently, approximately 8 pairs. Which sounds pretty good, except that I’ve bought almost as many. So, last week, I counted my shoes, and I own 45 pairs (which has since increased to 47). I tried to figure out if this is good or bad. I mentioned it to my mother, and she called me “Imelda,” which is totally unfair since Imelda Marcos had like 10,000 pairs of shoes and I’m sure she never even wore most of them, so the comparison is way off.

Yes, 45 may seem like a lot of shoes. But it’s all relative. So, I surveyed a few girlfriends. June estimates that she has between 80 and 100 pairs. She couldn’t do a more accurate count, because she’s moving and most of them were packed. But she made me feel much better. BB has 55 pairs, but she’s in the process of culling. Baby only has 20, which surprised me, since it seems on the low side. Mary Ann estimates that she has 25 pairs, of which 99% are black and 60% are Mary Janes. Schadenfreude has 12 to 15 pairs, but felt she would have more if she worked in an office and didn’t live in a country where shoes are really expensive. Also, she’s the complete opposite of a packrat and gets rid of everything*. The Redhead has about 25 pairs, but she has bought very few shoes in recent years since moving to a region where shoes in her (perfectly normal) size are hard to come by.

So, out of the six I polled (a fairly representative sample, spanning several fields of employ and three continents), two have more shoes than I do. Clearly, I don’t have a problem. Or maybe I do. Because when I took a good long look at my shoes, I realized something: They’re all pretty similar. For example, I own five pairs of black Mary Janes. But they’re all unique and essential to my shoe collection. One is a half patent/half regular leather spectator MJ with a walkable 2.5-inch heel. They’re my “everyday” MJs. Then there are the 4-inch heel ones with an ivory rosette on the buckle. They’re adorable, but the rosette makes them less versatile, so I don’t wear them as much. The third pair is patent leather wedge platforms. I can’t really walk in them, and they nearly led to my being hit by a car, but I can’t seem to give them up. The fourth pair are patent leather peep toes. They’re the closest I could find in my price range to this pair of Louboutins I’d been eyeing, and I lurve them. Then are the most recent arrivals, suede platforms with bows on the straps. They’re adorable, and I haven’t exactly gotten around to wearing them yet. But I totally will.

And I wear a lot of my shoes regularly. Since starting my new job, I’ve worn 12 different pairs of shoes to work. Which means I’ve worn more than 25% of my shoe collection, which is an excellent number.

Why I think I may have a problem is this: the idea that somehow a pair of shoes is going to change my life. Recently, I was at the new Zara downtown. I saw a pair of ivory patent leather peep toes. I looked at them for a minute, said “eh,” and then put them back on the shelf. By the next morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I was utterly convinced that a pair of ivory patent leather shoes was going to change my life. They would work with all the outfits that don’t seem to work with anything else. So, I rushed back there that night. They still had the shoe in my size, so I excitedly tried them on. And they were awful. They did nothing for my legs. They were extremely uncomfortable. And they apparently weren’t going to change my life. I was totally bitter.

But now I do think that the perfect pair of ivory patent leather shoes is sorely needed, even if that wasn’t the pair. And, really, I’ve been trying to cut back. Although cutting back for me somehow means that in the last three months, I’ve filled all the spots on my Loehmann’s frequent shoe shopper card and my next pair is 50% off.

Of course, cutting back doesn’t exactly mean cold turkey for me. When it was raining nonstop recently, I realized that I need a pair of rainboots so as not to ruin my precious shoe collection in inclement weather. So, I found a cute pair of rainboots, and then I just had to check out all the other shoes on the site, and I found this one really cute pair that I liked, and they were on sale, and they were named after me. I figured that was a sign from God. I mean really, how often do you find Lady Tiara peep toes?

Sadly, the Lady Tiara shoes arrived and they didn’t quite fit, and it seemed like the next size up would be too big, so they’re going back. But that’s ok. I have my eye on these adorable Mary Janes…

*I admire this sort of minimalism, and I wish I could emulate it. Instead, I hang onto shoes that I’ve had for years and hardly ever wear just because they match one thing I own.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Phobias Are Keeping Me Thin

I have some phobias. They’re all pretty normal phobias, the kind that lots of people have, so I’m like, you know, not so far from normal. (I also have one really out there phobia, but it’s so out there that it’s not something I’m confronted with on a regular basis, so it’s not particularly debilitating.)

My big phobias are claustrophobia and elevator phobia, which is actually sort of just an extension of the claustrophobia. (I’m also deathly afraid of fire, but I don’t really think of that as a phobia, since my apartment burned down when I was 19 and I was left homeless at college for the last few weeks of the semester. It’s not actually a phobia if your fear is based in reality, right?)

The claustrophobia is something I have an issue with, but can stand if I have to. I just really hate being trapped in small spaces. It’s been bad on and off since the time I almost got pushed onto the tracks at a Metro station on Fourth of July because apparently Metro officials don’t understand the idea of fucking crowd control. I avoid the Metro during rush hour if at all possible.

The elevator phobia was born when I was 19 (it was a bad year), and I got stuck in an elevator with three other people for an hour. It was a pretty decent sized elevator, so it really shouldn’t have been that bad, but two of the other people got into a screaming match over whose fault it was that the elevator got stuck in the first place. The one guy blamed the woman who shoved on to the elevator just as it was closing, and the woman blamed the guy for not holding the door for her. It was awesome. By the time the workmen pried the door open, I was crouched in the corner in a cold sweat. Then I had to climb out of the elevator since it was stuck between two floors. I was wearing a miniskirt.

Another time I got stuck in an elevator in a hotel in London. We were only stuck for a few minutes, but it was a standard European elevator, which means it was miniscule, and it was filled with standard Europeans, which apparently means they have no issue with personal space and feel that it’s ok to cram 10 people into an elevator the size of a small bathtub. I’d tell you more of the story, but just typing about it is giving me a PTSD episode.

The elevator phobia is exacerbated by the fact that I live in a building with small elevators and lots of people who think nothing of saying, “Come on, there’s plenty of room” when there clearly isn’t.

I sometimes have anxiety dreams about being stuck on elevators. I once had a nightmare about being stuck in a really tiny elevator with my mother, who wanted to talk about wedding plans. I woke up in a cold sweat. So, anyways, I take the stairs a lot.

Back in July, I had the stomach flu. While throwing up for 24 hours straight and not being able to eat for days is not remotely fun, it did have the benefit of a 7-pound weight loss. I was sort of worried about not being able to keep the weight off once I started my new job, because there is endless food available and I seem to be eating like a pig.

But something strange has happened. I’ve kept the weight off and somehow managed to get some actual muscle tone to my body. Last week, I realized that something totally unprecedented had happened: my jeans were all too big for me. I’ve dropped a jean size.

And I owe it all to my phobias. I almost always walked to my old job, but I decided I would ride the bus to my new job, since it’s farther away than my old job and there’s a convenient bus that goes almost door to door. I tried the bus for a few days. It was a nightmare. It never comes when it’s supposed to. And it’s always crowded, so I usually have to stand. I’m short, so it’s almost impossible for me to grab on to the arm rails, so I try to hold on to the seat rails and not fall into anyone’s lap. On my third day, the bus got into an accident halfway to work, and everyone had to leave the bus. From the resigned looks on the other passengers’ faces, I gathered that this situation was not unusual. So, I started walking. It’s actually a very nice walk. It takes me about 5 to 10 minutes longer than walking to my last job did, but it’s not really that much longer than riding the bus seeing as Metrobuses don’t really seem to understand the concept of a schedule. I seem to be walking faster than I did to my old job, which might have something to do with no longer being filled with a sense of dread every morning.

And then there’s the elevator. The building where I work is quite old and has only two elevators, only one of which goes to my floor. On my first day, I was warned that it breaks down a lot. And although it’s quite spacious, it makes horrible noises and does a sort of jumping motion every time it stops. So, I started taking the stairs. And it’s awesome. My ass is smaller than it’s been in about 5 years. I’m not working out at all, and I’m eating constantly, and it doesn’t matter at all. Apparently, the secret to staying fit is having a lot of emotional issues. I’d explore this topic more, but I have to go buy some new jeans.

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