Saturday night is meet-up night! Those of you who have subscribed to my newsletter, check for location and time. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, I shall be at Geek Market! Look for me at the Renaissance Press table, or else find me wandering around maybe.
Alrighty, now to the topic at hand.
Okay, look, that seems like a weird thing to note, except that it is entirely noteworthy for me.
I despise clothes shopping. I always have. It's never been fun for me. In my younger years, I would cling to the need to feel superior about something, and so would simply pretend that I didn't like it because it was such a frivolous, "girly-girl" activity that I just didn't want to be associated with (we'll not unpack that here, but that alone is suuuuuuuuuuuuper problematic. I was a bit of a snotty brat when I was younger). What I was really railing against, however, was how no clothes seemed to be made for someone built like me.
I was too slender for plus sized clothing, and far too chubby for normal sized clothing. I was stuck in some weird limbo in between where nothing fit. Trying to find an outfit was, therefore, terrible for my self-image. Most trips to a store usually resulted in a session of protracted ugly-crying (once I cried so hard after an attempted shop, I vomited. Yeah. Not good) and self-hate. Listen, there's a reason why literally everything except my underwear and socks are hand-me downs. I just don't go clothes shopping. It makes me upset about my body even thinking of trying.
Well, just for kicks, and because I desperately needed a pair of running tights, and also because I was stupid early for dinner with friends and it was right across the road, I stepped into a Lululemon. I immediately felt the old anxieties coming back. Still, I forced myself to browse, looking at various options, if only to get some ideas about what's actually out there.
One thing I noted, which I appreciated so damned much was, unlike other clothing stores I had been in, there were no giant images of slender people plastered everywhere, ensuring that I am made entirely aware of how I do not fit that specific image. That was refreshing. It also meant that I wasn't constantly comparing my build to the impossible standards of Photoshopped models... only to the other customers in the store.
One thing I noticed and most certainly did not appreciate was that the largest size in most pants available was a size 12 (I only looked at the pants. I didn't have the heart to even glance at the tops #BustyPeopleProblems). Reallly, Lululemon? Really?! Even chubby people work out. They deserve functioning clothing to do so as well. Are only slender people allowed to have comfortable workout clothes? Aren't you excited to support people in their exercise and fitness journeys? What the fuck, Lululemon?
So, I was approached by a worker, who asked if I was looking for anything specific. I told her: running pants that are tough. I'm hard on my gear. She showed me three styles and asked if I wanted to try them on. What the hell, right? I had time to kill. So, I grabbed the largest size of those three styles they had (size 12... ugh). The staff member asked if I'd like to try on a size down, as the fabric tends to relax with use. This made me pause.
Honestly, it's the first time ever anyone has ever asked if I wanted to try a smaller size for anything. Ever. When you spend your life wishing you were smaller, and always being told, explicitly or implicitly that you, as you are, are too fat to be even considered a person worthy of beautiful things (even though I'm not fat. Chubby, but not fat. I know this in my logical brain), being smacked with a "maybe you should try a smaller size" is shocking and really fucking weird. I assured her that no, I was the largest size in the shop, probably larger, and went to try the clothes on.
She asked twice more as I was comparing styles and fit (the size 12 seemed to fit okay). So, in the style I liked best (IT HAS POCKETS, Y'ALL!), I finally agreed just to try.
And... well... it fit. It was a little snugger than the size 12, but the size 10 fit and was comfortable.
Look, I almost had a breakdown there in the change room. I'm not sure I can properly explain why, though I suspect that a few people reading this could relate. I couldn't believe it, neither what I had heard nor what I saw with my own eyes. It was a really odd, but pleasant (save for the initial anxiety) for me.
That's never been the case when I've been clothes shopping. It was noteworthy. And I didn't leave that shop wanting to cry myself to sleep and drown in chips and chocolate. What with this experience and an exceptional dinner with really wonderful people, that was a really good evening. Huh. That was new.
Oh, and I bought those pants (it has pockets).