Two years ago I was in writing hell.
I was in the process of finishing up my master’s thesis, and as such, was spending upwards of thirteen hours a day sitting in front my computer (and I use the term sitting pretty liberally, because for much of the time, I just contorted myself into the most back breaking positions imaginable to human kind – so much so that it’s really quite amazing I didn’t rework the entire curvature of my spine) writing a path dependent analysis of British and Canadian immigration policies and immigrant integration schemes, post-1945.
Overall, I loved writing on the subject matter, loved my research (carried out both here in Canada and over in the UK), and very much loved the finished product.
Of course the million dollar question is, would have I said all this to you then?
What most likely would have happened instead, was that sometime during our conversation on the matter I would have either burst into tears, or begged you to go out and buy me a 7/11 apple fritter.
(Had you said either yes, or no, I probably still would have cried. From either disappointment or happiness – believe you me, those fat, salty sobs would have flowed.)
Sitting here, writing this today, with so much perspective on this event, it is pretty darn easy to talk about how great the whole experience was.
However at the time, I was a miserable wreck; as previously noted, my life was rife with high-drama crying fits, poor nutritional choices, and completely cringe-worthy, totally horrifying fashion statements.
If I only had one word to describe my dress sense for the first four months of 2010, it would be BRUTAL.
I am disclosing this today, because I want to provide a different perspective (or palate cleanser if you will) from last Friday’s post.
I feel compelled point out that there have been times in my life where I have, on a daily basis, fashioned outfits that would have propelled me to the top of any worst dressed list out there.
Sometimes when I look at old photos, particularly of the early years Mr. M and I spent together as a couple, I often repeat to him, “Thank you so much for staying with me despite all the times I looked absolutely deranged.”
He normally just smiles, and dismisses my claims.
(Although, to be real here folks, if you take a second at the photos, he may be thinking along the same lines. We are a match made in (crazily dressed) heaven.)
But getting back to Thesisgate, 2010.
By the end of my scholarly run, things had gotten pretty darn bad.
Indeed, my closet had pretty much devolved into the following two outfits:
Each morning I would wake up, and immediately begin writing. No shower. No bath. I would type away until about one o’clock, at which point I would eat a banana completely slathered in peanut butter, drink a pot of tea, and then have a massive, massive sweat-and-panic attack. To combat my massively rising anxiety, I would throw myself into different feats of strength, which sometimes meant push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, but other times meant episodes of Gossip Girl.
After these exercises (in self-loathing), my garb would be sufficiently grodtastic, so I would take everything off, wash them, dry them, wash myself, dry myself, and then put the whole thing on again.
At the height of my efficiency, I probably had about three different sleeping ensembles on the go, none of which (I promise you) had a best before date that outlasted my defense date.
Outfit number two was my “Going Out Outfit.”
Now, at the beginning of January, this setup was at least a “semi-normal” ranking, on a scale from plain jane to absolutely barmy.
It mostly consisted of a pair of thick, comfortable leggings, a cute (albeit short) summer dress (it pretty much covered my bum and that was it) and a rotating duo of cardigans.
Unfortunately, before I really knew what was happening, I started adding soccer socks (on top of the leggings), big doc marten boots, chunky mens sweaters, and really outrageous scarves to the whole shebang.
I looked a bit like a cross between Daria, Blossom, and Claudia from the Babysitter’s Club.
The only thing missing was a giant hat with a bunch of fake flowers stuck to it. I mostly just wore old-school Canuck’s toques and a pink beret.
In my opinion, (and to the many, wide-eyed, confused individuals, who saw me wearing this in public places)- this is not a very good look.
(Or at least not anyone over the age of fourteen. In 1992.)
The day after I defended, Mr. M (ever the gentleman) very politely asked if I could never , ever, wear any one version of the getup ever again for the rest of my life.
I very respectfully (not to mention eagerly) agreed to do so.
I’ve also stopped eating 7/11 baked goods.
( But you can pry my penny candy from my cold dead hands.)
So there you have it my darlings. A (very bleak) fashion confession from yours truly.
And I would like to make it very clear that when I do offer critiques on this here blog spot, they are never done with any malicious intent, or mean spiritedness. It is a way for me to deconstruct my relationship with the fashion industry, and how both my choices as a consumer, and my (evolving) taste aesthetic inform not only my perspective of the industry, but also of myself.
I spent a lovely afternoon with my sister in-law V on Sunday, and she remarked that she thinks there are lots of people out in the world who probably wish they could try on some of the more, well, unique outfits available for purchase at different stores, but never have the nerve or gall to follow through.
(To which I say (of course) is: GO FOR IT DUDES! It’s a TON of fun!
She also remarked that the salespeople probably spend quite a while speculating on who will even purchase the store’s crazier merchandise when its shows up at the store.
And just like them, I so desperately want to know who, if anyone, is out there is purchasing the strange apparel I’ve come across in downtown Vancouver.
And if I find out, I won’t have the heart to pass judgment.
After all, they’re probably just in the midst of finishing their PhD.
And their pajamas are still in the wash.