Fashion and Weight and COVID-19

Fashion and Weight and COVID-19

It’s been AGES since I last wrote about fashion and weight loss, initially because of the all profound changes in my own personal life as I started my dream job with all the ensuing changes and then, of course, came COVID-19 and how all our lives were altered so completely. You might be wondering why I’ve forced myself to sit down today to write about fashion and weight loss at all, in light of all the changes in which we are immersed?

I’m writing because it is precisely the act of writing about these topics that helps me get my joy back, and I hope to help some of you find this same joy amidst the chaos and disruption.

I’m an introvert by nature; this probably comes as no surprise to those who know me, as I am a writer first and work in the publishing industry second, both pretty introverted pursuits. My closest friends know that one of the greatest gifts they can give me is to cancel plans we’ve made, thus giving me credit for having made them and forced myself to get out and interact with those I care about WHILE not actually having to engage in these exhausting activities.

However, people who only know me superficially or have met me strictly in professional settings generally believe that I am an extreme extrovert. My extroverted persona is not false—it is a true expression of how much I love all the quirky goodness and whimsical folly that I adore about individual human-type spirits. It makes me bubble over and smile exuberantly just to engage with the crazy characters that I’m blessed to meet in my comings and goings (even though I equally find the whole exchange depleting and must spend much time with a bathtub and a good book and forests to recover, lol).

But I digress—back to fashion and weight loss and social distancing.

Initially, I LOVED being told I had to stay home (introvert, remember). It was like I had a free pass to do exactly what I really wanted to do all the time anyway. My novel-writing is better than ever, my non-fiction book that I’ve been outlining is almost finished, and the work I do in publishing (mostly online) has been both challenging and satisfying in ways that constantly stretch me to be more than I am. I both have extra time and conversely less time than I’ve ever had because there are no more excuses or distractions for not finishing the “grand tasks” that I’ve known for most of my life I am meant to complete before I close my eyes for the final time.

I’m sure some of you can relate.

I stopped going online except when absolutely necessary, as the disagreement, bad news, high emotions, and fears were running so loud and high and glaring that my body reacted with tension and stress and empathy to the point of incapacity. Once I got myself personally offline, I was able to grasp what I actually could see, touch, taste, smell, hear, and think for myself, rather than absorbing and reacting to all the noise and commotion crescendo-ing around me.

I hope, if you haven’t already done so, that you grant yourself a bit of time and space to do the same. It’s the most profound gift for your own sanity you can give yourself right now.

A few weeks in, however, I began to feel trapped by routine and monotony. I found myself longing for divergence, quirkiness, whimsy, and even folly. I realized that, as depleting as society often can be for me, I crave the external stimulus that leaving my home, crafting my personal brand and extroverted persona (fashionable, of course) for interfacing with others, driving to work and stores and restaurants, and interacting with friends, colleagues, strangers–even people I don’t particularly like—grants me.

I can only image what the true extroverts have been going through….

Ignoring the actual pandemic and job loss and large-scale world problems just for a moment (I know it’s hard, but we are all personal and intimate beings before we are citizens and world-conscious), I’d like to talk about fashion and weight in this new reality.

If you’re struggling to stick to your eating and health plans as your view of who you were or should be or ought to be seems pretense, I get it. If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed and out-of-control and fat and ugly, I get it. If you haven’t showered or shaved in five days, with Albert Einstein hair and caterpillar eyebrows…if you have worn the same pair of leggings or house dress all week…I totally get it.

With no gatherings or people or occupation to distract ourselves from ourselves, where does that leave us? Consumerism that is largely made up of online clicks and purchases gets emptier and emptier—not just the act of online purchasing itself, but other than the essentials that we need to keep these bodies functioning, what fun—really—are most of those purchases without other people to share them with? How fun are movies and books and music and beauty without other people to show them to or talk about them with? If no one can see that you’re accomplishing your diet goals (or failing to), who cares whether or not it happens anyway?

If a tree falls in a forest but nobody hears it, did it make a sound?

Before social distancing, people were distractions. Material for my books. Frames and backdrops for my love of fashion and beauty. Time sucks. Mirrors of energy for my thoughts and interests. Vessels of warmth to remind me that my heart beats, we are all connected, and we only have this precious time, for I and they and the world are passing quickly—both in our own lives and away from each other.

But without each other’s fragile and broken beauty, there is no context for individual growth and measurement of becoming.

The online social world is a band-aid, but not a fix to what’s actually ailing us. The stories and narratives we told ourselves about the world, our leaders (on all sides), our security, our society, our meaning—they were just that.

Stories.

You may miss society. You might be mourning and fearful. Perhaps you’ve thrown in the towel and just said to hell with it all. Many are angry. Most of us feel alone.

I’ve always been alone. You’ve always been alone. People have always been both objects and subjects in our lives. We’re all alone—together.

On the other side of this, let’s learn from this.

Fashion a world you want to dress up for. Confront ourselves, honestly, in all of our beautiful frailty, not only being honest about the state of our weight and individual bodies, but speak our truth about COVID-19 and the state of our world.

Believe better stories. Appreciate all those damn irritating, irrational, and essential trees.

And sound your voice as only you can, with all those who will join you, to tell better stories than the ones we’ve left behind.

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