Wholly Unsurprising Revelations

And not only because my birthday is Halloween.

I am intoxicated by patterns and textures, bags and shoes, silk and corduroy. I delight in surveying, and selecting, just the right combination of my garments. I array myself with clothes like armor and go to face the world thus protected, or exposed, depending on my aim.

Each occasion calling for a mode of dress of a particular type is met with giddy anticipation.Ii relish planning for myself, I revel in making selections for others. and I have always taken considerable pride in my ability to portray myself in any manner I please in this way. I am just as easily the hipster as the harlot, jock or jade. I have an especial fondness for what I like to call Naughty Librarian Chic; fine fabrics, skirts just a shade too short, shoes just a bit too tall and pointy, tailored shirts with one button too many undone. I feel each of these choices communicates certain things about me to the people around me. And in most cases, I feel bolstered and safe behind the persona I don along with my clothes.

I hadn’t spent much time thinking about why I have such an obsession with clothes until recently. I could say readily that the utter lack of any choices about how I looked or what I wore as a child left me feeling exposed and vulnerable and was one of the most difficult aspects of growing up unsure of myself. I have somehow always associated being well dressed with confidence, security, and success. It was only when I began to notice a compulsive tendency to feel as though if only I could find just the right outfit, that all would be well, when my acquisition of habiliments became such as focus as to border upon addiction. I was putting the expansion of my wardrobe ahead of other more pressing priorities, and eventually, had to stop buying clothes altogether for a period of time.

Even now, that I am thinking about it consci0usly, I still have trouble controlling this impulse. Moreover, the more I think about it, the stranger my ideas about clothing seem. Recently it occurred to me that I always imagined that wardrobe was a fundamental focus for, if not every then certainly most, sophisticated attractive people with the means to dress as they pleased. Having made several friends in the last few years who are unquestionably all of those things, but have little or no interest in clothing, has forced me to examine my biases about the subject.

As I do so, I am forced to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth of what I suppose I know already; that when I refer to my clothing as armor, I am utterly serious about this comparison. I have not heretofore felt sure enough of myself to present indifferent dress. I can never dress solely for comfort or without considering exactly the perception of myself I am hoping to promote. the notion that people might see something I did not carefully craft sends me into a cold sweat.

Which is not to imply I am always perfectly dressed, it is merely to say that I am never carelessly dressed. There is always significant thought invested in the selection of whatever I wear. and so too, in what it is I am attempting to communicate via my levi’s and low cut sweater, my capri’s and twinset, the exquisitely tailored cocktail dress, the tank top and peasant skirt.

And I have begun to try and emulate these happy few dear friends of mine who seem so utterly at ease in their skin. who are radiant and appealing no matter what they wear. Who do not have to look down at their outfit to tell them who they are today, who they want to be instead. I can see myself in those terms for the first time, I feel immediately liberated by this realization.

Now, to undress…

***part of a continuing series “Wholly Unsurprising Revelations”***

i am a picky eater. much less so than when i was a child, and would condemn foods from entire ethnic groups without ever having sampled them (this is how i missed out on hummus for most of my life, i feel my narrowmindedness has been duly punished, as such) but still, it shocks the better part of my social group, an urbane sophisticated food crowd, the wide variety of things i will not eat.

part of this is habitual, part physiological.

habit amounts to a tendency to eat the things i know i like and avoid things i’m not so sure about. when i go to Slowbar they dont ask me what i want because EVERY DAMN TIME i go in there i order a pulled pork sandwich and a Heineken. (well, not anymore. now i order a Peroni, since they got rid of Heineken) i mean, it’s delicious, and i highly reccommend it as my favorite pulled pork in town, but still. such predictability!!

on the physical side of things, i am a supertaster. so, though i think this makes me special, really, all it does it make me sensitive to stuff most humans don’t seem troubled by. i fall firmly into the cilantro haters category. texture is also exceedingly important to my ability to enjoy a given food. moreover, it turns out i have a rather combative relationship with my body. it is constantly betraying me in a variety of ways. like when it falls down for no apparent reason with embarrassing frequency. my immune system leaves a great deal to be desired, and most important for this discussion, my gastrointestinal system is frequently in a hideous uproar. if i eat breakfast i usually end up feeling nasty. if I fail to eat breakfast i tend to feel queasy. the answer seems to be to sleep til one o’clock and avoid that part of the day altogether. not the most practical solution. and it is not only breakfast that causes me trouble, just that breakfast ALWAYS does, whereas other meals only do with a randomness that borders on maddening. i can’t accurately predict whether a given meal or foodstuff with go south on me. this does not tend to make me feel inclined to try lots of new and different things. though in the last few years, i’ve been brave. trying for the first time; indian, greek, lebanese, thai, and sushi. and excepting the last of these, i have found tremendous enjoyment in all this new cuisine.

yet there are still a few core things i cannot, will not, shall not eat which most people consider fundamental foodstuffs.

Tomatoes: this one baffles people. i like salsa, spaghetti, pizza, and many other tomato-based food items, but i simply cannot abide uncooked tomatoes. its definitely a texture thing. buh-leah.

Fishes: and not least because i am terrified of the buggers. also because they are yuuuuucky. nothing from the sea. except, well, i’ll eat tuna. but it has to be safely in sandwich format before i will consider it.

Mushrooms: occasionally, in my youth, i ate them, but only for recreational purposes. generally speaking, i try to avoid fungus in my life. for example when it is growing in my closet and under my bed and making it hard for me to breathe. seems like a bad thing. i also have a relative who is the Mushroom Expert for the Lincoln County Poison Control and i have heard too many stories that end: “And then she had to get a new liver, but since they couldn’t find one in 17 hours, she died.” additionally, LOOK AT THE THINGS!! scary alien things. biologists cannot even really honestly say what the hell they are. i mean, fungus had to have its own KINGDOM cause it was impossible to classify any other way. i cant think of any other eukaryotes we deign to eat. i think there’s a reason for this.

there are a million other examples, but these are the ones that seem to interfere with my eating the widest variety of common dishes. i wonder if other people have this problem; hating something everyone else seems to love and therefore have to dodge said thing with great frequency.

ah, the curse of the supertaster….

also, i LOATHE LOATHE LOATHE guacamole. seriously.

*** i consider this post the first in a series i am going to call “Wholly Unsurprising Revelations” if you care to make any yourself, please, feel free!!***

Wholly Unsurprising Revelation: It is no fun to have someone point out things you do not like about yourself.

i am well aware of my shortcomings. in fact, i make a hobby of listing them and announcing them to others. in fact, i am here willing to proffer:

A By No Means Comprehensive List of My Faults

  • self-absorbed: which seems only fair since i AM the center of the universe after all
  • vain: but, you know, with good reason
  • pessimistic: call me Eyeore
  • alternately spastic and complacent: some call this bipolar, i see it as weakness of character
  • demanding: i like stuff and attention. lots of both. now
  • hypersensitive: i am squishy in the middle, there is frequent crying

and yet, as willing as i am to admit all of this, turns out it is NO FUN to have any of these things pointed out by someone else. this was made manifest to me this morning. it all started innocently enough, talking about golf…. ended with “Sometimes I forget how squishy you are” which, ironically, in itself was an attempt to avoid upsetting me.

sheesh. what a pain in the ass i can be. but dude, if you agree with me, keep it to yourself please.


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