Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bathroom Selfies

I never expected to get so far behind in my OOTD posts, but my life grew incredibly busy recently as I started the process of buying a home. I have a lot of complex feelings about becoming a property owner, both what it means to critique capitalism and participate in it in this way, and because it means I've really firmly made the decision not to pursue any jobs--academic or otherwise--outside of my hometown. I'd be lying if I said that decision didn't somewhat scare me. But I'm also excited, and I think it's the right decision for me. I love being near my family, and I've wanted a place of my own for a long time. The capitalism critique is outside the scope of this blog, but allow me to point you toward Enough where they specialize in that. I will continue to detail my rampant consumerism in regards to fatshion here.

What I'm most excited about when it comes to my new house is turning a small spare bedroom into a walk-in closet. It is going to be pretty incredible, and I promise to share photos here.

Now for a roundup of some outfits I've been wearing. I've been taking daily selfies in my car and in the bathroom at work, because it feels like too much work to use my DSLR, and I decided that something is better than nothing. Maybe once I have my own house (and fenced-in yard! I will take selfies w/o shame once again.

All dresses but the last one are from eShakti. The golden sweater is from SWAK Designs, and the final dress is from Old Navy. 

I have a lot of really wonderful dresses, but I want to challenge myself to wear skirts more. I have so many skirts and cute tops, but I never think to wear them. I don't know why.

What I've realized during this first month of teaching is that I hate trying to dress professionally in hot weather. Give me a cardigan and tights, please! Even wearing jewelry feels uncomfortable when I'm sweaty, so I just end up feeling underdressed and underaccessorized. Also, I've had a lot of stress and pain lately, and it is really difficult for me to feel put together when I feel like crap. But this is the longest I've sustained dressing nicely every day I teach, and at four days a week, that's saying something. My body has changed a lot in the past four years, and clothes fit differently for me. I have lost weight in my chest, and gained it in my stomach, and so my dresses hang differently. It's tough to navigate my feelings about my changing body and the fact that for 12 hours a week, 25 students are staring at my body. It's uncomfortable, and they laugh and whisper about me when I turn my back to write on the whiteboard. I know some of them aren't laughing at me, but I've overheard some of their comments, and it's difficult to hear and remain impartial towards them. These students are so much more disrespectful than I've had before. I'm focusing as little attention as I can on my teaching while still doing a good job. My new motto is "I'm a better teacher when I care less," which sounds horrible, but it means caring less about the rudeness and the texting and the bitchy comments and the insubordination and recalcitrance. I focus on the ones who work, and do my best to deliver a good lesson, and I leave my problems (though, unfortunately, not my grading) in the classroom so I can focus my attention on my personal life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long Weekend

Catching up on an outfit from last week that I loved, and my fatshion-filled weekend!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the heat has been brutal lately, which makes wearing any clothes at all incredibly uncomfortable. I've struggled to remain professionally dressed while battling chafing and heat rash and other uncomfortable consequences of the weather. It has been a really difficult first two weeks. My commute isn't long, but the traffic congestion means I have to really pay attention and drive defensively, to avoid an accident with aggressive, thoughtless drivers. It stresses me out! The time of day that I return home is also right during rush hour, and last week, I had to sit on the highway parked for an hour because of an accident miles ahead.

My favorite part of the day is picking out what to wear. Sometimes this can be incredibly stressful when outfits don't work as planned, when things don't fit well or look how I wanted them to look, or when I'm having a bad body image day and I just can't feel good in any clothes, yet still have to get dressed and face the world, but I also love fashion and trying on new clothes and planning what I'm going to wear.

This outfit was worn last Thursday. I wanted to wear a yellow top with this new plaid skirt, but the skirt is actually a little big (as I prefer to wear it high-waisted), and I didn't like how it looked with just the yellow tank top. It looked too casual to me, so I searched through my closet for something else to wear that wouldn't be too heavy. It's definitely not cardigan weather yet! Finally I found this drapey white cardigan. The proportions were all wrong with it hanging loosely, so I tied it up and actually loved how it looked. I loved this fuller skirt.

I've been taking instagram selfies in the bathroom between my classes.

Skirt: eShakti
Tank: Old Navy
Cardigan: Old Navy

This weekend, I met up with some good friends in Cleveland for the pre-opening of Re/Dress's new location. Two friends drove down from Buffalo along with another fatty friend of theirs and we had a great time. The store is fantastic; Rachel has done a fabulous job. It was a very long 18-hour round trip drive to be in Cleveland less than 24 hours, but it was such a pleasure to see my friends. I really needed to recharge after a hard few weeks and a difficult summer.

selfie from the car

the front of the store.

Rachel, owner of Re/Dress, and my friend A. (sporting a fantastic eShakti frock)

I love how Rachel matched her store!

A's kickass boots!

another one of my friends, who I've known since high school

In this photo, I'm wearing a dress from Modcloth that I was thrilled fit me. They've slowly expanded their plus size offerings, and there is not much in my size, but I ordered this red and black striped dress, and the "universe dress," which I probably won't wear to work ever, but which (barely) fits. I'm glad to have another option for cute dresses and I even ordered another dress from them now that I know some things will fit. Fingers crossed that it does!

The Universe dress from Modcloth:

another item I got from Modcloth:

 Today I was excited to wear a dress I got from eShakti awhile ago. I bought it specifically as a teaching dress because of the pattern:

Apples! (I don't know why I always have such a sour look on my face in these photos!) Also: photobomb by my French bulldog.

More selfies from the car:

the apple necklace from Modcloth that I wore

another bathroom selfie

I'm not used to wearing dresses without stretch, but I am loving these eShakti dresses. I get so many compliments whenever I wear one, because people usually haven't ever seen the same dresses before. Though whenever I'm in fat community, I see a lot of eShakti dresses. It's funny because I first learned of them when I lived in Utah. My LDS friends loved them, because of the ease of customizing a dress to be more modest. I started buying dresses there because they actually came in my size!

I've been thinking a lot about Femme expression as survival, or as self-medication. I feel better at work when I'm dressed nicely and when I like how I look. It's my armor against rude students or dismissive colleagues or my own insecurities and chronic pain. Sometimes the only thing that gets me up in the morning is my eagerness to wear a new dress. That's depressing as hell, but also the truth. I started this blog up again because I still have all these questions about how to mesh my fat queer femme identity with the need to live up to others' standards of professionalization, and my desire to distract myself from things I hate about the adjunct system. If one dwells too long on the job market, it is easy to spiral into a depressive anxiety cycle. Sometimes I hate my body, my self, my job, my life. But I love this dress or that necklace, and sometimes that is enough, and sometimes that helps.