What to wear?
I am not your usual girlie shopper. I dread spending all day at the shops, browsing, though there is nothing I like more than yummy clothes and shoes. Because my days seem to pass so quickly, I find that I go clothes shopping about once every two years, so getting time for that is a big deal.
Yet on my day out being daring, nothing I try on is the right size, shape or colour. I seem to have missed the more generous, subtle mulberries and rich, dark blues that were the hallmarks of last season, according to a sales assistant who looks young enough to be my daughter and who struggles to be heard above the sound system. I lose myself in the chaos of a noisy disco, where all the latest trends are eye-wateringly pink or purple, and several sizes too small or too large. I have discovered – why me? – I am a size thirteen; or a size fifteen, which are nice and easy, in-the-middle nothing quite fits sizes. Ladies march confidently past with armfuls of delicious dresses, trousers and tops, while I content myself with a six pack of undies and a new jumper from the menswear section.
I do have my favourite shops which stock my favourite styles, where the chances of success are much higher, though my visits to them have to be carefully planned for when I have some real cash to spend. For a spontaneous day out “doing” the shops, I am most definitely not your girl. The odds are that I will find nothing that fits, “give” five pounds to a threatening, “Big Issue” seller who “forgets” to give me change and then have to pay for a taxi to take me home empty-handed because, after three hours of conspicuous non-expenditure I am simply too sore, tired and dispirited to wait forty minutes for the next bus. I’ve just seen one pulling away from the kerb about ten yards away, but there’s no chance of my running to catch it.
For a trip to one of the out-of-town shopping centres, we spend forty minutes in the car negotiating heavy traffic, with our daughter in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet” every minute or so; we cannot work out which cul-de-sac on this industrial estate will lead us to the one way system where there may be a junction that takes you to M & S….When we arrive, I remember I am wearing my reading glasses. I have to watch out for Seline – who moves as fast as a whippet through the crowds of coat hangers and slippery off-the-shoulder evening gowns and racks of clothes that cover the vast expanse of shop floor. My chance to acquire a new top or dress whizzes past me so fast that, before I have checked which isle I’m in, it has vanished. The world looks fuzzy and is moving too fast. Did someone turn up the speed of life and forget to tell me?
March 21, 2014
Big Red Writing Hoodie
Fran Macilvey change, clothes, coats, emotions, letting go, writing Path To Publication, The Rights & Wrongs of Writing 2 Comments
My big red writing hoodie is actually a fleece. I had a fleece I used to wear when I started writing Trapped, because I used to get emotional, and cold, and shivery. Perhaps it had something to do with beginning work on the first draft in the depths of January, when the light was improving, but the ground was still icy and hard. I got accustomed to wearing this garment like a security blanket, every time I was writing at my computer.
Over time, I must have written out so much sorrow, grief pouring onto the page like thick treacle: coming to terms with all the rubbish that I have tolerated, the negative emotions, expectations and ideas that have clouded my lens over the years, and have spoiled my life correspondingly. I was probably in mourning, too, for all the time I wasted being unhappy. Unhappy about being unhappy….what a waste of time.
Last week, I zipped up this jacket crossly, thinking to burrow down for safety and feel insulated from my latest bout of existential uncertainty. Perhaps all writers have them, and they are a pain. But, feeling strangely dislocated, I found myself simply getting crosser, more angry over nothing. “Unusual” I was reflecting, “How odd, I don’t understand this…why am I behaving like a total idiot?” It was like being both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
An answer landed in my lap. My jacket, which had held me securely through a great many traumas, was suffering from ptsd for clothes. Perhaps it had absorbed all that anger, sorrow and incredulity, which I was then dishing out. Either it was full of bad memories and emotions, clogged up with negative feelings; or else the association of that jacket with unhappiness was very strong. Either way, my fleece had to go. I had to throw it out, which I did immediately. I felt much better afterwards!
In my wardrobe there may be other clothes I should release, because wearing them makes me unhappy. It is not simply that they are old fashioned, tired or frumpy, but also that they may carry vibes that I would rather not hang on to. Which may be the best reason to spring-clean my wardrobe that I have ever come across.
Now the outer waterproof, for which the fleece was the lining, is my only coat. Perhaps I should think of purchasing another: Blue, maybe, with a zip and useful pockets for house keys and hankies. And lots of cheerful memories to store in its fibres.