de(tales): ugly sweatshirt
Megan and I met through the SheLoves Magazine community and I quickly realized that I resonated with everything she writes. She is smart and honest and I know that you will love her. I fell in love with this de(tale) immediately, since I too can pinpoint so much of what I was wearing at different parts of my life. Enjoy, friends.
I see it when I am 11 years old. In the boys department at Wal-Mart. Athletic gray - the least flattering color on the planet - with long sleeves and generous hood. Laced with a thick cotton string, perfect for weaving round and round distracted fingers. Emblazoned with the basketball logo for the Georgetown Hoyas, it’s an odd choice for a hockey-obsessed Canadian girl.
But something about the bold navy lettering and vicious cartoon bulldog growling on the front speaks to my tomboyish sensibilities.
This giant bulldog head on a misshapen Wal-Mart hoodie becomes my statement. I wear it constantly. Well before the introduction of cutesy fitted sweatshirts, it balloons out from my pre-pubescent chest and stays billowed until reluctantly succumbing to the ribbed elastic firmly adhered to my waist. It truly is an ugly sweatshirt.
But I feel comfortable.
At 11 years old, a Georgetown Hoyas sweatshirt defines me to the world.
* * *
Five years later, I creak open the door to my math class, a few minutes late. The sweatshirt is long gone. I am wearing a fitted short sleeve shirt - some sort of rayon-polyester blend. It has a white collar and is dotted with teensy pastel flowers, lavender and mint and buttercup. I think it the most gorgeous thing every created. Wrapped around my lower half is a short denim skirt with metal buttons parading down the front. Nude nylons (complete with circulation-cutting control top) discreetly lead the way to black high-heeled clogs.
As I teeter to my seat, a boy swivels in his chair and gives me a shy smile. Then he blushes crimson and rapidly turns back to the front.
I can’t say I feel all that comfy squeezed sausage-style into nude nylons and platform heels. I tug at the skirt and am constantly wary of the rebellious second button that keeps popping open.
But I feel beautiful.
At 16 years old, a polyester blend shirt and nude nylons defines me to the world.
* * *
11 years later I am standing in front of a full-length mirror at H & M. I am wearing a dress, something that hasn’t graced my wardrobe for the better part of decade. I think I will feel awkward in this girlish frock, so feminine, my bare knees exposed. But with my closely cropped androgynous hair, the Laura Ingalls vibe this dress conveys works in a contradictory way I adore. I give a childish spin, and the skirt dances around me. I laugh that I should feel so at ease in fluttery sleeves and sweet flowers.
But I do.
I feel comfortable.
I feel beautiful.
And I feel powerful. Brilliantly powerful, actually.
At 27 years old, a Laura Ingalls dress defines me to the world.
* * *
I am flabbergasted at the detail I recall of certain garments from seemingly insignificant moments in my life. How they made me feel. How they contributed to the parts of myself I wanted to put out into the world. The hidden spaces they pulled out of me.
So I’m curious. Is there something you remember wearing that just felt like you? For no logical reason? I would rather love to hear about it. Was it more ridiculous than control-top nude nylons? I highly doubt it.
At any rate, I believe I owe the Georgetown Hoyas a fan letter.
Their first ever from a basketball hater, I’m sure.
Well hello there! My name is Megan, but you can call me Megs or Meg. I love thick books, scalding soaks in the tub and breaking out into song. I don't share desserts. Ever. After working in fitness for the past ten years, I am currently fumbling through motherhood with the sweetest little boy ever. Discussing body image, Jesus and proper push-up technique gets me excited. I write at megangahan.com.
You can check out the other de(tales) (so far) here.