Monday, November 26, 2012

I wear black on black.

Psalm 45: 10-11, Esther 2: 15-17, 4:14

This is another post about my boobs.

I was going to get dressed and go run errands today, and trying to decide what to wear, considering it is  going to hit 80 today, I was looking at my sundress/tank top status, when it hit me: I know what I'm going to write about this week!  I'm going to write about a little thing I like to call good girl cleavage.

What is good girl cleavage?  It's this trend we've all noticed (and participated in) over the last few years when we layer a tank top under a v-neck shirt or dress in order to mitigate the risk of, um, overexposure.  Except that, when done right, it can encourage exactly the kind of attention it purports to discourage.  Allow me to explain:

Sometimes, it is easier and cheaper to buy tank tops in neutral colors and just wear black or white tanks under shirts of any color.  And sometimes, we go all out and get tanks in every color, so we can mix them in coordinating/contrasting combinations with our other clothes.  But when we do this, and I am including myself, we create a point, a moment, of focus right in the middle of our chests that uses color and flair to draw attention to the very spot we were trying to cover up.

I noticed it the first time I tried out this technique at work.  I got way more looks and glances toward my, let's face it, boobs, when I tried using a tank top under my usually unaccompanied v-neck tee.  The color contrast (green tank, grey vee) was more attractive to the eye than my bare chest, with slight (less than half inch) cleavage.

Please understand me.  I am not saying that this is always a bad thing.  I am not trying to judge anyone.  I am NOT one of those people who think all women should always dress as modestly as possible in order to shield the weak, defenseless men around us from the evil, lustful thoughts that the poor dears have no control over, and therefore must be the responsibility of women to prevent, unless we want the legitimacy of our complaints to be called into question.  Wear whatever you want, whenever you want.

I have items in my wardrobe that I wear when I want attention, and items I wear when I don't.  One of my tricks when I don't want attention, is to wear a tank under a shirt, and make sure that the colors match as closely as possible, which creates the illusion of one modest shirt.  Black on black works great, and looks good.  I still rock the good girl cleavage when I want to look really nice, but I know the difference in my moods, and when I find myself dressing for attention I ask myself 'why' first.  And if I feel comfortable with my answers to myself, I go ahead and get pretty.  But I don't kid myself about it.

Just covering up isn't enough, if we are truly looking to deflect attention, whether in the interest of purity or expedience.  And we're not fooling anyone when we go halfway.  Covering cleavage with an attention-getting color combination; wearing clothes that cover, but cling; and wearing clothes that are unflattering call more attention to us than we may want, or even realize.

Good girl cleavage can be be fabulous or hypocritical or clueless, depending on the wearer.  The only person you are responsible for is yourself.  Self-awareness is the key to finding your own sense of style that is flattering both physically and spiritually.  Dress yourself in order to get what you want, when you want.  Own what you are and who you are, be reconciled to your body and your desires.

Being sexy doesn't have to be sinful, but with great power comes great responsibility.  I believe we can use our powers for good!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I thought I was just lazy.

Proverbs 10: 4, Leviticus 20: 9

I promised a while back that there would be more sickeningly violent fiction on this blog, and I still intend to get back to it, but I am having a bit of a crisis.  See, all of the installments of Old St. Nik that I put up here are just that, installments, and I have always intended for the story to be so much more.  But I am having trouble setting myself down to actually finishing the story.  And the longer I wait the bigger the job looks.  And I can't let myself start the next story until I finish this one, because that would make me the kind of person who only starts things, and never finishes or follows through.  This is something more than procrastination or laziness.  (I tried to find a way to start that last sentence with 'and' but I just couldn't make it work.  Sorry.)

I've also talked about my astonishment at sticking with this blog for so long.  I think that's the key to this problem.  Sticking with things and following through on projects is a learned behavior, and I never realized until recently that I never learned it.  I have spoken before of my admiration for writer John Cheese, and he has put his finger on this for me.  I didn't realize that follow-through was something I was going to have to teach myself now, because I didn't learn it as a child.  Again, I've written some about my mom and what it was like to grow up with her, but I didn't understand that this fear of finishing was part of her legacy of 'cray cray'.

(That's just awful.  Not only did I call my mother crazy, I used already outdated slang that someone my age (33) has no business using.  Inexcusable.  I really ought to delete that sentence.)  (No, I think I'll use it as an opportunity to make fun of myself.)

All of these factors coming together are telling me how important it is that I continue working on Old St. Nik, which adds no small amount of pressure.  I know that even if I don't finish this story, there will be other stories, other opportunities to learn stick-to-it-ive-ness.  But those opportunities will get rarer and more difficult as I go.  Laziness is not yet a big part of my problem, but it will be soon.  I am thankful to recognize this moment as I am living it, and not just looking back on it, the way we see most of life's missed opportunities.

This is another one of those times when having a routine would be helpful.  I need to do better than dashing off a blog entry one a week, gradually putting off my 'regular update' for a later and later day.  (If you look carefully, you'll see that when I started out, I was posting regularly on Sundays, now I am out to Tuesdays, eventually I will circle back to Sundays.)

I hate it when all my issues converge.  And oh, yeah, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!      

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm dull.

Ecclesiastes 2: 24-26

I had a wonderful birthday celebration last week, DH and I spent the day alternating between restaurants and bookstores and generally goofing off and spending a little money.  It always amazes me how I can work in a bookstore and still want to hang out in a bookstore.  But as long as it is not my bookstore, as long as it is not the particular bookstore where I work all the time, then a bookstore is just a bookstore, and still a totally awesome hangout.

See, you all thought that the 'I'm so flawed, I hate the way I am, I can't do anything right' posts were getting boring, but this is what I'm like when I'm happy.  Nothing is more boring than hearing about me swanning about eating sushi and chocolate cake and gourmet lollipops and reading sexy books about courtesans and seductresses.  (Okay, that part is pretty interesting, I'll give you that.  Everyone loves a nice, juicy seduction.)

I was so thankful though.  We had a great time, and just got on with our boring selves, and the food, and the books, and the more food, and the more books.  It was downright intoxicating.  For me, anyway.

But that's what I consider fun, most of the time.  Really good, satisfying fun.  I love learning things and digging into something fascinating.  When we travel, we hit all the museums and restaurants.  We barely shop, and we never camp or hike.

I also tend to enjoy doing strange, menial things like sewing by hand or counting coins.  (Anyone desperate for me to have a depressive episode right the hell now?)  Once, I spent three hours rolling spare change while watching a M*A*S*H marathon.  (I love M*A*S*H.)  By the end of it, I was practically anesthetized.  (I hate Coinstar machines.  I could have had a great career in banking.)

And while I sew, I like to watch Masterpiece Theatre or listen to NPR.  Wow, I am a huge dork.

But these weird, dorky things make me feel good about myself.  They make me feel energized and accomplished and smart.  I don't care if I'm dull.  I don't care if I'm odd.  I like the way I feel when I take the time to do something I know will make me feel good.  So I had a good day.  For once.  Hope I didn't bore you to death with my bliss.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Customer Service, Part 9.

I was back in the kids' section, just finishing with a customer, when I turned around and saw her approach.  She was about eight years old, and the poor little thing was almost in tears as her mother explained that she was in the middle of her book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, when she lost her copy, and just couldn't wait to know what happens next.

I know exactly how she felt.  I once bought a book I had been reading on my breaks at work, because I knew that I would not be able to finish it before going on vacation.  For three days.

Besides, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an amazing book.  If you were in the middle of it, and couldn't finish, you'd be distressed, too.

So you know why I couldn't get to the shelf fast enough.  And when I handed that precious little reader her new copy, her face lit up.  As soon as she took hold of it she kissed the cover, and then wrapped her arms around it and held it to her chest.  Her mother thanked me sincerely, and they turned and left.

We are approaching the busiest, most stressful time of year in my business.  A time when every customer is cranky, every colleague is preoccupied, and every task is both pressing and unfinished.  I don't like Christmas for a lot of reasons, and this encounter with the most dramatic little reader ever didn't happen at Christmastime, but remembering her face, and how I was given the privilege of making her day, is one of the things that keeps me going when the job gets rough.

I made her day, and she made mine.  Whenever the customers threaten to make me lose my faith in humanity, I think about her.  And sometimes, when no one is watching, I kiss the cover of a book I love.