Friday, March 21, 2014

Graceful Art Thou, Washburn Foo

There are moments, few and far between, when I feel composed, prepared, civilized and comfortable, myself. Those moments, when my hair is brushed, are good. When I have on clothing that is neither stained, inexplicable or utterly confounding, I like that, too. Mister Foo has these moments, when he bears an air of regal forbearance, and can carry his own in witty repartee. Oh, kitty. Thou art the very picture of class, dignity, grace... sometimes.

In most other instances, life is less dignified, less refined. Left alone, home, in the garden, Foo and I are free to be less than graceful, and this suits us most agreeably well.

But on camera, in public, like our dear Foo, I find myself barely keeping it together, and all out of sorts. Gravity is our nemesis. Fashion is our foe. We are Earth bound creatures, Foo and I. Also, I don't like going to gyms, salons, malls, or soirees.

A recent review of my "wardrobe" shows me in possession of tattered pants, dead bras, badly stained shirts, and my favorite black and white skirt (the only one I wear to church, weddings, services, gatherings, celebrations, and meetings) went through the wash with something red. My wardrobe is, once again, in desperate need of rethinking, and replenishing.

Metaphorically, this picture of Mister Foo, struggling against gravity and his floppy butt, illustrates what I look and feel like when I am faced with shopping for new clothes: I writhe, squirm, look ungainly and weird, and I get really, painfully, agonizingly confused. Really. Painfully. Agonizingly. This not hyperbole. I am being emphatic and concise. My list of objections goes something like this: 1. everything is overpriced/expensive 2. fashions today do not make me happy (colors, cuts, styles, being a billboard for some designer's name... ugh) 3. three-way mirrors 4. I've enjoyed too much buttered raisin toast 5. I stain everything I wear 6. I'd rather dig in the dirt than go into stores.

Oh, darling Foo. We are kindred spirits, you and I.

Some time ago I recognized a lesson about the energy and time I waste being concerned with appearances. Love makes us beautiful, I realized. Feeling comfortable in the world might come from more effort, less fretting, of course, but I think most especially focusing on internal happiness, and relationships, is where I want to exercise my beliefs and efforts. And, perhaps, less buttered raisin toast. I hesitate to act too rashly on this point, though.

You know, it's somewhat misleading to say I don't like to shop. I shop for friends, for my children, and that can be enjoyable. I shop in the second-hand stores, often. I browse the aisles of Pinterest, and keep a catalog of clothes that do inspire me. It's just that...

I am muddling through deep thoughts here...

Maybe, what I need is to be more like Foo. Discomfort is something I project onto him, when he looks awkward, is falling, but really he has no shame or guilt, no sense that he looks a goof. He's honest. He wears his spots, and does his thing, and he doesn't stop to think about what anyone else has to say about his belly, or his moves. He is his own true self, and nothing makes him doubt, or even consider, that he's fine, or not fine. Mister Foo can wear stripes with polka dots, sit backwards in a chair. He's cool that way.

More muddling...

I am terribly self-conscious, and at the same time decidedly non-conformist. But I don't want to be "non-comformist," in such a way that I draw attention, or make a statement. I am non-comformist in such a way that I want to wear long skirts, aprons, and boots, because those are comfortable, but if I feel that being comfortable makes other people look twice, then I get uncomfortable. Introverted eccentric. Is that a thing? When I grow up, I want to be the sort of woman who wears exactly what pleases her... pleases me.

Even deeper muddlement...

Even posting about all of this is making me squirm and writhe, because I don't want to make this all about Me, and my neurosis. I hope thinking about and coping with our appearance, our comfort levels, in public is something others can relate to in their own way, that we can talk about being beautiful and comfortable, and our own true selves, and even how to model this kind of sincerity for others. Obviously, I am not the only one who wants to enjoy my own colors and flare, but struggles with how everyone else will feel, or react. I don't think I'll be bullied for wearing a petticoat under my walking skirt, but I'm not at the level of confidence, grace and happiness that Foo has mastered.

You raise the bar, Mister Washburn Foo. You raise it high.


  1. This place is fun and has great sales.

  2. Dear Natalie, you have an individual style that suits you. I think conforming is overrated. Mr. Foo is a great role model, comfortable in his own skin. I hope you don't get stuck in muddlement and let it cramp your style.

    1. Ah, thank you, Judy. I wish I had more confidence and motivation. I do get stuck in the *muddle.*


Thank you for visiting.