Lots of ideas for this week’s post bubbled up but then almost as quickly faded from sight or got buried again.
I think I want to talk about clothing. About women’s clothing in particular. I am a woman but I dress for work like I’m actually going to work where I’ll be moving a lot, possibly sweating. And I’ll need pockets to hold stuff: white board markers, keys, tissues, the remote. I like long sleeves but light stuff that breathes and doesn’t stink if you perspire a bit. To some of my students I dress like a dude.
One time, a student, a 5th grader I think, asked me why didn’t I wear leggings? It would look so nice, she said. But I was thinking: Why would I wear tight fitting leggings with no pockets which serve little other purpose than to emphasize the shape of my legs in relation to the rest of my body? Really, why? And I thought about what leggings signaled for her: a way of attracting attention or of better demonstrating a particular kind of femininity.
A kind of femininity that is apparent in a lot of women’s clothing and cosmetics and services and hair and hygiene products that just do so little for me. I feel fortunate that I get to dress for success in the way I define it: Can I do a cartwheel in these pants? Will these shoes still feel comfortable after 170 contact days with an average of 14000 steps a day? Can I slide comfortably onto the floor in this sweatshirt?
Occasionally, I wish for the chance to wear a dress (with pockets, mind you) to school. I have two skorts which seem a little formal for the classroom but can work on a PD day. I don’t wear make up so that is one less front I need to cover. One day, I dream of a designer who works just for me. One who makes pants that cater to my slim waist and generous backside, who creates soft t-shirts that stay close to my collarbone and fall gently over my shoulders but never bunch in my armpits. That designer who creates brightly colored tops and bottoms that are simple, playful, durable and functional. A few dresses and sweaters that say ‘yeah, this is me and that’s it.’
Anyway, I count my blessings every day that I can get up and slide into sweat pants, t-shirt and tennis shoes and say, ‘yeah, this is me and that’s it.’