Monday, January 11, 2010

80s fashion

OK, so I really do have good reasons for not keeping up with my blog, despite the fact that I keep meaning to put real effort into it. First is that procrastination reins supreme in my soul. Second is that I am far too busy liking and unliking things in the virtual world of snippeted information on facebook, blogger, and pandora radio. After all, everyone wants my opinion, right?
Which leads me to the fact that probably no one wants my opinion. And with a whole world of blogs and columns like Joel Stein's out there, who needs one more self-righteous, pseudo-writer vomiting letters across your computer screen? So, with a healthy-dose of run-away self-esteem, I bury my nose in the importance of everyday things, like watching Milo's head expand while scrubbing off the cradle crap... I mean, cradle cap.And as interesting as his sebaceous glands are to me... well, they really don't make for riveting blog material.
There are some physical restraints, also. After all, it is hard to use your hands when your arms each have a breastfeeding child in them. And even when I am only performing one-sided lactation, well, typing takes longer than usual. And Dear Hunny-Bunny took my step-stool-so-vintage-its-cool metal chair downstairs and hid it under enough stuff to deter me from bringin it back into the kitchen. True, it adds to the clutter. True, the children fight over sitting in it. True, it is wobbly. But it is also the only thing that makes me tall enough to comfortable hit the letters on the keyboard. Geesh. No one ever thinks about _me_ and _my_ height issues.
But in spite of all my deliciously self-centered reasoning, the new year has brought me some perspective. After all, I love to write, and it really doesn't matter if anyone is reading it, right? And after all, you are all very polite (and very far away) relatives who are kind enough to comment now and then, egging me on and taking what you can get of the kids because I am notoriously bad at sending pictures, video, snail mail, etc of what they're all up to. After all, I still have everyone's Christmas presents from when we lived in the trailer. So this is, in part, also a gift to all of you.
Now, where to actually begin? After all, I have covered... or uncovered... a large majority of my personal neuroses in the last four paragraphs. Doesn't leave much to cover, does it?
Let's start here: I have an incredibly embarrassing and deeply-held admission to make. Here goes: I secretly love the return of 80's fashion.
Now this hurts for a number of reasons. First of all, my new favorite shirt is the true embodiment of this predicament. It is long. It is flannel. It only cost twelve dollars, and that includes the tank top that came with it. Actually, it was free-to-me (not free-to-be) because I purchased it with a gift card. It was probably made in a sweat shop by small children because I bought it at * gasp * WALMART. And it is PINK.
Yeup. Worst of all? I wore it around the house singing the lyrics to Fame with my kids last night whilst also wearing a black pair of paint-splatter-style “leggings” (aka pants too thick to be tights and too damn tight to be pants) my eight year old bough at an accessories store in the mall. No, I did not take the time to put on my legwarmers, but I could have. And although I was belting out “I'm gonna live FOREVER!” I did not run Pandora and listen to the Fame soundtrack at the same time. It was a fleeting moment of joy, but it was pretty spectacular.
This 80's infatuation also brings the return of teal and royal-blue eye makeup. And yes, I am rockin' it after years of not wearing any make-up at all. And ripped and acid washed jeans. And a plethora of funky, new chuck taylor's. And no, I haven't bought any, I am just still wearing my lavender and plaid ones from highschool.
This type of fashion serves several personal purposes. One, big baggy shirts cover the big baggy belly after years of child bearing. And gives me room to hide a child's head in it while nursing. Very convenient. And admittedly, since I remember how to dress in this fashion, I feel confident when I pull out the clothes in the morning that I am looking pretty good. I did not fare nearly so well in the late-90s-early-aughts- Brittany Spear-and-belly shirts years. Plus, mud boots look pretty damn good with leggings and mini skirts. And since they are the staple of my wardrobe, that's a darn good thing.
Lastly, it does do one other major thing: it gives me a conversation starter for life with my children. And yes, I swore I would never allow fashion and television and nostalgia to run my parenting life. But I also swore I would never have four kids, and look where that got me.
My daughters and I really don't have much to chat about... I am not particularly aware of the latest Disney craze or singer, and I could care less about Taylor Swift (seems like too much twangin' for my taste). But we can talk about Fame and Wonder Woman and whether or not short sweaters over long tank tops is a good look. And we can sing and dance and laugh while we do it.
And really, it has opened up a way for them to understand me, and for me to give them perspective about themselves and the way life is sometimes. When she comes home complaining about someone hurting her feelings at school, my daughter seems less than impressed when I tell her it happened to me too. It is almost as if she doesn't believe it for a minute. But when she dreams up a school for adults where they get to go and wear 80s clothes “and do all that stuff you did in the 80s” I was able to tell her that, no, Mommy wasn't interested.
“Why not, Mom?”
“Because, honey, I was really sad in elementary school.”
“How come?”<
And here I got to talk about the sadness I held about being adopted and feeling different and moving, and how most of the girls in my class hated me. Plus, we had to sign the words to “We Are the World” in front of our entire school and parental population in 6th grade. I still can't hear the haunting strains of Michael Jackson without moving my hands to form the sign for “children”. *shudder* Also, I accidentally-on-purpose sing, “We are the worms... we are the ones who make a sticky mess... so watch where you're walking.”
It gave me a moment to relate to the pains she's had... a best friend who was horribly mean to her in 1st grade, moving twice in one year, our divorce and her new step/half families. It also gave me the chance to say (and for even my eaves-dropping twelve year old to hear) that I made it.
Sometimes the best solidarity and support I can give them is an honest, if embarrassing, picture of myself. In that moment I hope they know that I see them, really SEE them, and that I am always there for them.
Even if I am in my pink flannel shirt and lavender Converse.

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