…and Repeat It

ShopRuche joins the fray:

90s jacket

My mom had this jacket in 1993. I believe if you put your hands in the pockets, you will find candy wrappers, Cheerios crumbs, crumpled receipts, and in the hole down into the lining, her lost driver’s license.

Nope nope nope. Though if history does repeat itself in full–I do remember in 5th grade declaring I would *never* wear pants that weren’t tapered (a declaration prompted by our teacher telling us that bell bottoms would be coming back in style). A few years later, I too was rocking the flares.

(PS–this model looks like Lizzy Caplan)

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Doomed to Repeat It

wth, ModCloth:

90s pants

Seinfeld and Frasier are on Netlix now. Watch and learn: the early 90’s were not kind to women’s fashion. Except for Daphne. Daphne always rocked the bodysuits. That is one item I’d welcome back (bodysuit.com’s are too leotard-adjacent).

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Life Hack, no. 2

If you have ever wished you could drink crushed-up Smarties, try the Berry flavor of La Croix sparkling water.

I have never wished this myself, but to each their own. In 7th grade, I watched as my classmates took turns snorting crushed-up Smarties during downtime in gym. So this is for them, to recall their glory days.

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The Myth of the Ballet Body (aka Dancer’s Body)

Many workout routines claim that by following their prescribed regimen of exercises, you can achieve the long, lean limbs, slender torso, minimal hips, and small, lifted buns of a professional dancer. Some of these routines are in fact excellent workouts. They promote good posture and will strengthen and shape (to their natural tendency) your muscles–for example, Ballet Body and The Bar Method. Some of these routines are unhealthy–they may cause injury, and the recommended diets are unrealistic (coughTracyAndersoncough). All of these methods have one thing in common, though:

Ballet Body series by Leah Sarago

they are lying. The Ballet/Dancer’s Body is a fabrication of the ballet world. There is the body that the ballet world has aggressively selected for. And there are the natural body types of anyone who has danced, disciplined, for years. Those are two different entities.

There was a wonderful documentary on Tanaquil LeClercq last year on PBS. I think they stated that it was her body type that started the trend towards its current aesthetic.

Tanaquil LeClercq

If you are happy with your body type and not easily swayed, this argument will not be news to you. But I think most women with a pear shape aren’t happy with it, and promises to change our entire shape into long and lean is like the sweet tune of a Pied Piper striking us directly in the spot in our brain that has the stamina of jello. But if you weren’t born with a long, lean shape and minimal hips, I’m afraid the “dancer’s body” will never be yours.

The Pennsylvania Ballet

 

If you have watched figure skating, this isn’t news: Miki Ando and Sasha Cohen weren’t training in drastically different conditions, yet their bodies, if confined to this myth, would have you believe that Miki was doing 200 pound leg presses and Sasha was doing dainty tondues.

Similarly, if you’re a fan of So You Think You Can Dance, perhaps you recall the Season 5 penultimate episode. The top 2 girls were Kayla Radomski and Jeanine Mason. Both were contemporary dancers (with training in other styles). Yet Kayla has the classical slim “Dancer’s Body” while Jeanine has a pear shape. This is no criticism of Jeanine–she won (although my favorite was Jeanette Manrara).

As frustrating as Nigel & Co can be, at least they don’t choose only those body types that conform to the stereotype. In fact, I am continually surprised that they defy another stereotype and routinely choose some shorter men.

 

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Life Hacks, no. 1

Wear ankle weights all day. When you remove them in the evening, you will feel so light and lithe you will hardly believe it******.

Sproing new outfit

*This photo is from 6 years previous and does not reflect actual physical ability after removing ankle weights.

**No studies, reports, or doctors were consulted in the making of these claims.

***Do not try if you have weak ankles, weak legs, or really anything at all, I have no credibility and this is mostly a joke but I do have a sample size of one.

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The Ephemera of this Digital Life

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I love the fact that I was born in 1980–that I grew up mostly in an analog world, but was young enough to adapt quickly to the digital age; that I remember distinctly the anticipation while waiting for a chance to play Oregon Trail on the Apple 2E’s at school, that I remember the day my dad brought home a Nintendo, that I remember renting a VCR, that I watched email and search engines and social media happen before my eyes. But I don’t love how society has morphed with the advent of social media. I don’t want to sound like an old fogey lamenting the good old days (that never were)–I understand that the world and society changes; our minds and our social mores adapt. But for someone of my personality, Facebook represents some fairly egregious social shifts.

The “Shiny Outside” Syndrome

A professor in college used to admonish us to not berate ourselves for being as together as everyone else, because what we see are their “shiny outsides”—inside, everyone’s a little broken (unless they’re vapid; in which case, why would you want to be like them?). Facebook magnifies this scenario—you feel obligated to post happy, successful stories and photos. No one wants to hear about your 11pm bout with existential dread. So we never say it. And thus, the falsehood of an entirely cheerful life is perpetuated—plastered over our feeds. Individually, we know we aren’t like that, but now, with screen evidence, we can’t be sure anyone else isn’t. It creates an endless cycle of inferiority, questioning, and down-ward motion.

The Ephemera of this Digital Life

In the advent of mass public education and continued ease of publishing, the 1800’s (and into the 1900’s) saw an explosion in printed ephemera—pamphlets, brochures, broadsides—papers meant to be read and tossed. It was a big collecting phenomenon a few years back (maybe still is). The internet mimics this trend, but on a much larger scale. Anything can be written and deleted in a day. I have written and deleted and edited many times on this very blog—but when I do it, I am striving towards something substantial—the wording that is what I want to say and that will last. On Facebook (and other sites, I am sure, but I am only on FB), all posts are ephemeral, especially now that the format is conducive to a reductive timeline feed as your homepage. If no one commented, no one saw it. If people commented, it’s gone within a few hours, shoved down by new “news,” like the simoniac popes pushing each other further and further into the hole in the Inferno. Ever since I sat next to my brother on his deathbed, I have felt even more keenly the waste of ephemeral interactions. Being here means something, whatever that is. And I don’t think the meaning is found in blink-and-you-missed-it status updates.

Specialness

The crux of the matter for me, though, is that nothing is special anymore. That news that my particular friends used to save for me and their other special friends? Now it’s broadcast to hundreds of people in a second, instead of saved up for a phone convo or a coffee date. That joke that could be between just us, that we can recall years later and incorporate into another conversation? It’s posted and forgotten in a minute.

Why does everything have to be public or be meaningless? I am baffled that this doesn’t seem to bother anyone else.The words I say mean things to me, and I only say them to those I believe will treasure the meanings. I go so far as to not speak unless I’m sure someone is listening. I know that sounds overly dramatic, but I have literally had people walk away while I am speaking, and posting on social media–shouting into the void–and hoping for a Like, a laugh, an anything–is this feeling to the nth degree. Those of us who used to render ourselves visible to those who truly care are rendered invisible once more, by algorithm.

Am I really that unusual? Or are we all just allowing ourselves to adapt to a smaller and smaller box?

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Etsy bait

This one isn’t as striking as the red poppy, but I knew when I conceived it I’d have to make a duplicate for myself, because the quote is a touchstone for me this year–for the same reason I’ve been cycling through triumph songs for the past few months (currently stuck on “We Are The Champions”…hey, no one ever said triumph songs couldn’t be generic).

iris canvas

Of all the art I’ve crafted over the years, this medium includes the widest variety of options (unlike knitting or sewing). I’m especially pleased at how I made the yellow fuzzy part of the iris. I painted quilt batting on top of adhesive filmy paper–the paint acted as a glue. Then I was able to cut the result into the shape of my choice. This was after trying to tuft yarn and paint feathers. I suppose felt or actual fur fabric could have also done the trick. I chose to modpodge down the lower petals so the recipient could choose to hang or place on a shelf (and it makes the upper petals pop, which reflects the poem’s words–fountain).

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