A slightly silly start to this blog post, but I do love this song and it is kind of what I wanted to talk about.
As my blog title suggests I’m a little bit of a goth (unless you are totally unaware of it being a play on “murder of crows” and are one of the odd breed who think it means I want to kill goths), and so no stranger to standing out in a crowd, or at least, that’s how I used to be.
Nowadays my style is a little more practical, for that read dull, and I hate it. It’s mostly come about due to having to find clothes I can get in and out of without too much pain, that are comfortable even when I’m lying down/sitting down (my corsets were the first to go sadly), that come in bigger sizes as lack of mobility means weight gain, and that are cheap because I no longer have the income I used to.
So I’ve gone from this…
It’s a fairly dramatic change, and interesting to note that it was easy to find pre-back pain photos of me stood on my own and posing, but I struggled to find any new photos of me that don’t include my children. Seems nowadays there are only photos of me if I happen to be stood next to (or holding) the real subject of the photo. I am not at all comfortable being the subject any more.
I am also deeply uncomfortable with this discomfort. I used to adore being centre of attention for how I looked. I didn’t even care if it was because people didn’t like how I looked, as long as they noticed me. I am well aware that’s a quite childish way to think, and probably not something I should miss, but I do. It was a large part of my identity, the reason I loved the above song so much. I was a poseur, and I didn’t care. I was having fun and seeing as I’d suffered with depression since I was 15, that fun was much needed in my life.
So where is the fun in my life now? I guess the obvious answer is my children. And, don’t get me wrong, they are. They are also incredibly hard work, plus it brings up an issue I’ve struggled with for a while.
My mum was a wonderful mum, always did so much for us, always there for us, we never wanted for anything. I remember my mum always doing one activity or another with me and my brother when we were children, our lives were full and fun, but then when we were teens and didn’t need mum to entertain us she never seemed to replace the child focussed activities with much. It always felt, to me, like her life revolved totally around us and she had very little to do once we weren’t there. Maybe my impression was wrong, however it has been a big fear of mine for a while. It was the reason why I didn’t want children originally. I didn’t want to become a mother whose life revolved around the children and who stopped having a life of her own.
Seems I was right to fear it, though motherhood isn’t solely to blame.
Between my health problems and my children my interests and hobbies have dwindled and died off. Nowadays I do very little for myself, instead putting my energy into my children. I don’t regret doing so, but I am concerned that I am losing myself.
As I wrote earlier, my identity was very wrapped up in my style, and it now feels very appropriate that my style has also faded away into blandness. I do know that on the rare occasions where I put some effort into how I look I notice a dramatic difference in how engaged I am with the world, I suddenly feel less shut off and more like I could achieve things. Put me in a t-shirt and jeans though and I crave escapism and monotony.
On the one hand I can see the arguments for not feeling pressured into the high glam clothes, after all I describe myself as a feminist and what’s more oppressive than a corset and skyscraper heels? Except for me they never felt that way, I find casual wear more oppressive. Obviously it’s not restrictive in a literal sense, not like my old clothes, but it’s restrictive in that I am a mum now and am expected to sacrifice style for family commitments. I am well aware that a mother who dresses up is judged for spending that time on her and not the children. It’s also restrictive because I am a bigger girl now and I know that dressing up in figure hugging clothes will no doubt expose me to ridicule. And it is restrictive because I am disabled and cannot physically wear anything more complex most of the time.
I feel trapped in these plain clothes more than I ever felt in my old clothes.
For me there is no freedom in wearing something comfy. There is definitely no freedom in flat shoes and cardigans. If it was something I’d chosen then yes, but I didn’t, I was forced down this path by situation and by my own low self esteem.
I think I need to make a point of getting myself back to dressing how I feel comfortable again, so I’m dragging out my red lipstick again and going to start looking for nice clothes on a budget. I think I’ll have to resign myself to no corsets or high heels though unfortunately.