Friday, July 25, 2008

A Downward Spiral

It's terrible that 1 bad event can lead to sad feelings, which makes one susceptible to moodiness and weak character, thereby rendering one utterly despondent, bitter and mean. At least I've heard this sort of thing happens. To other people. Sometimes. I suppose if a succession of sad, bad, mad and disappointing things were to happen for months on end, maybe even years, it could become quite debilitating. Other people might see it this way.

Recently I was kindly and gently informed that I was not wearing a flattering style of jeans. Really, it was kind and gentle and the sort of thing you might wish to know before you walk around town looking larGER than you are. Superficially, this could be a small matter minor issue, but I tend to over think things, and then I have a compulsion to share my thoughts... hence the whole blogging thing. The root of the problem is that I am fat and cheap overweight and thrifty. I do not like to buy clothes for myself. I do not like malls, or parting with money, or 3 sided mirrors, or salesclerks or fashion. I do not like dieting obsessing about my appearance, but I can see that I have taken things too far. I am not a free spirit, celebrating her natural beauty, detached from material things. I am reclusive, shabby and neglecting whatever is left of my presentable self.

The jeans. See, I do not like the low cut jeans and even when I was smaller than I am today, I still balked at the idea of spreading cr@ck. I have seen "well-dressed," mature(?) women sharing way too much of themselves every time they stoop, reach, and stretch. And not just booties are hanging out, it's the muffin tops too and maybe people are cool with letting whatever show and hang-out, but I cannot do it. It makes me cringe and wince and think more kindly of burkas, every time I imagine wearing what passes for fashionable. So I bought men's Wranglers... I said to heck with sizes and styles and statements and paying grocery prices for one pair of pants. My Wranglers are comfortable, affordable, durable and... and apparently they make my butt look big(ger.) Ugh. I can act all who cares what the world thinks? but in reality I care a little too much.

My wardrobe consists of a skirt and 2 pair of black yoga pants and some button shirts that need serious consideration for the donation bag. I managed to stain 2 more of my T-shirts, and it's too hot to wear my red overcoat. Yesterday I sorted all of the clothes in the boys' closets and happily made-off with a T-shirt that reads Bring Back Nap Time, and while I love it, I thankfully have the sense not to wear it outside of the house. My summer shoes, red and super-comfy, are 4 years old and it shows. And I suspect the words super-comfy are not the leading adjectives in the well-dressed woman's lexicon. My brown shoes, with a heel and less comfortable, are older than the red shoes. I can see I need a transformative shift in attitude and action. Is awareness a first step?

Lately I say things that make Geoff pause. He looks up from his laptop and our eyes meet. His are questioning and a bit surprised, and I answer morosely, "What? I am bitter and mean." I think it's an important to distinction to say "bitter" before "mean." It implies, I hope, that the meanness stems from the bitterness. I am not purely mean. I do not possess innately mean qualities, but I have been accumulating strong feelings of resentment, grief, disappointment and frustration, marked by cynicism.

In the great national debate over the woes of the housing market and whether or not we should help struggling families, save homes, and restore order... I come out on the side of Hey! Hey, who are we helping? People who live within their means, people who gave up luxuries and saved in order to survive the ups and downs of a free market... are those the people government bailouts are saving? Or are we saying to Countrywide's chairman, "Dude, take your $200 million gains and income, and retire when your shady deals and leading customers in to financial ruin come to light. It's cool. We the people got your back, while you knife ours." It's a mess. Who can say what will fix this, but I wish we were at least at the point when we could read the whole truth on the front page. Quit twisting the facts and rewriting the formula. This is a recession, there is real inflation, jobs and salaries are hurting... argghh.

Argghh. Feh. Sigh those are my fallback statements when I run out of steam, when I can't think of what to say or what to do. I think it's kind of funny, maybe embarrassing too, because it doesn't say much for my college education to make such heavy use of such weak sentence enhancers. LOL. (That's irony. I recognize that.)

We lined up 6 houses to see with an agent, and I drove far, far away to meet the agent, but his car overheated and he cancelled. Now 2 of the homes have offers on them, 2 of them the seller doesn't want to show, because they have nothing to gain, since the bank is taking over. Geoff showed me 2 more houses... one has no kitchen, the owners took it with them, and the other has no back wall along the entire house... I sense a little bitterness there too.

Another time I Sigh? When something good happens, when I reflect on life's little miracles and the unexpected joys, the treasured moments, I sigh. Garybob called. Our not mean, but certainly bumbling and always convenient scapegoat for my frustration, landlord called and asked for the lease agreement. I was already so sad about Amelia, housing, fatness, etc., that he caught me in a moment of weakness. I wish I could say it was a moment of strength and resolve, but I was essentially defeated and raw, so when he said: "Is there anything you need to say or ask?"
I blurted, halfheartedly surrendering, like a mother in the trenches raising white granny p@nties, "Chickens."
He said, "Oh. What?"
It was too late to pretend I sneezed, so I said meekly, "We have chickens."
"Hmmm. In the backyard? You have chickens in the yard?"
"Well. Okay."
And that was it. No admonishment. No threats. No drama or demands or eviction threats.

Let's suppose that 1 good event can lift our spirit, give us pause, make us grateful. Maybe a small sigh of relief can lead to deeper breathing and clearer thinking. It's possible that happiness may spread and disperse like seeds in a breeze, and new happiness can grow. Certainly we have had too many setbacks and genuine causes for grief, but I am open to good news, I am receptive and eager to enjoy triumphs, success, hope and clarity. If I have to climb and struggle or sometimes just surrender, then so be it, but I will not ride all the way down the spiral.


Anna Banana said...

You are so fabulously funny and wonderful! "Chickens." "Well, ok." Total LOL!!

Sweetie pie, luck turns around, and it's your turn for the good stuff.

campbellgirl said...

I agree with Anna - you are SOOOO funny, even when you are sad! For the first time I feel kind towards GaryBob, he's not all bad after all.

I empathise with you re clothes and figure, Natalie. There are days when I've put on my mish mash outfits and I feel like a bag lady (sorry bag ladies of the world). All my clothes are now op shop bought or worn old things I've had for years. You should see my favourite pants - they're almost falling apart! Sigh! We'll get by. Oh, and please don't be embarrassed by this, I think you are beautiful just the way you are.

Cheers! xx D.

Laura Jane said...

Oh Natalie

Hooray for the chickens. No, really. They are living large and free. Thats something to celebrate after a few months of subterfuge.

The jeans thing is different. I wish I could find an Oprah or Trinny and Susannah booster show that would give you a boost. I too try not to get too hung up on style, but I know that when a woman gives up and buys men's jeans that will never fit her womanly curves (i.e. waist, no matter how much that may have grown) she has gone too far.
Look at all the African woman out there with booties and thighs the size of combie vans - THEY have jeans that fit! Ooh I just want to march right over there and TAKE YOU SHOPPING. Not for superficial make you pretty reasons, but because YOU MATTER. It distresses me to hear you as a disengaged spectator in your life, not quite enjoying the current act...No-one talks about a slide unless they are seriously on one. I'm very worried for you Natalie.

Please show this to Geoff. Please.

Powerless about the economy and housing situation is one thing. Ignoring yourself, putting yourself last and always taking the burnt piece of toast (or wearing a pair of men's jeans as part of a 7 item wardrobe) is another thing entirely. You've been doing it for a long time.

Geoff. This girl needs some time out. With pampering and YOU. Because she matters. If Natalie goes down the tubes you are all stuffed. Women can get by with surprisingly little to sustain them for a really long time. Time's up. Time for an investment of some TLC. A 'Natalie matters' week. A 'Mum matters' month.

Please. DO it. As a priority for your family.

Peace, concern and love to you all (ooh, the verification word is chiqa, its a sign)

Call me an interfering old bag if you like.....

d.a. said...

@Laura Jane is wise. Listen to her, Geoff and you both. *hug*

Anna Banana said...

Wow, Laura Jane, you have me sniffling. Love to all the strong women, we do what the XY crowd could never do. Time for a one-step-at-a-time revolution.

Janece said...

I don't comment on your posts nearly enough because I'm left with so many thoughts and feelings I don't know where to start and where to end.

I'm where you are and worse when it comes to my wardrobe, my sense of self-care, love and pride. My lack of self-care has gone so far that I've lost 1 1/2 teeth, and am now fighting back from years of lost health and well-being. I have a long road to hoe before I'll get back to even the happy and healthy basics. Thankfully, you aren't that far down the road and to be given the red flags of love and warning now is a gift. Not a comfortable (or even welcome) but a gift. You are a beautiful woman that I have so much love and respect for -- it only makes sense to me that you would have that for yourself as well. I have dear and beautiful friends who dress and look amazing and are spend next to nothing on their wardrobes. It's a mindset and an approach - not the pocketbook. I'm talking to myself here too.

I've spent the bulk of my week last week on the phone with a dear friend in New York that is days away from losing her home altogether (eviction) and with no where to go. Their life has been struggle, hardship and disappointment starting on 9/11. She's been telling me that she feels bitter and mean and your words remind me of her. Beautiful, strong, courageous and amazing women who don't know how to wrap positive thinking and hope around circumstances that have repeatedly your hope. The only two things I've said to her are: 1) I understand and it's okay. (I think of King David...) and 2) I'm here and I'm your friend. I hope saying the same to you will have the effect for you as it has (amazingly and miraculously) for her -- and that is that she keeps on and still has hope.

Typing in these small little windows, I always worry that my thoughts are jumbled and I'm not saying what I want to. I can't see the whole of my thoughts - but I hope some of my heart is coming through.

I share the anger and frustration at the place so many are in financially and the crushing of the spirit that it so often brings. But it is the standing side by side, doing what we can with and for each other that flies in the face of that crushing and bolsters and supports the individual, the family and our communities. Please let me know what I can do to be that for you too.

And last but not least... I'm so pleased to hear that the landlord was okay with your beautiful chickens. They are lovely.

I love you, Natalie.

Tarie said...

I love your positive attitude, Natalie! *hugs*

Tarie said...

Never give up! Never surrender! :o)

Tilly said...

I feel the same as Janece -I don't comment nearly enough. All your posts are so thought provoking that trying to encapsulate it all into one little comment is too hard! So I'll just say this for today..Hooray for the chickens.

nikkipolani said...

Natalie, by the sound of some of these comments, you may be whisked off at any moment to get these wardrobe issues resolved! But I'm so glad your landlord has made no fuss about the chickens. Now, about Amelia/o.... don't they sex these chickens when you buy them?

Liz said...

Whew... searching for the perfect fit jeans AND dealing with the housing market! You're taking two of life's biggest problems in this post. :)