First and foremost I need to state that the following blog is not my creation. It actually belongs to my mother. She wrote it as part of a challenge that we are in the midst of. What challenge is that? Well, we are trying to find ourselves now that we have hit a pivotal point in our lives. Mid-life crisis’s point! However, unlike most people- we hate car shopping, been told we cant eat chocolate, and lets face it- not so good at looking cute while running outside- so we are writing about ourselves. The challenge is to make it real- all the good and bad written for the world to see! Scary, huh? Want to try? We are starting a secret society of middle age women who don’t completely have their shit together and are addicated to coffee! Comes with a secret knock and everything!
Where I might have had a nervous breakdown over what kind of doughnut I wanted to be, my mother (a better story teller than myself) has had her moments over what robe to wear. Now ladies and gentlemen, get your favorite cup of coffee, sit on your favorite seat in the Livingroom and enjoy….
I have 5 bathrobes. A short lite weight gray one, bought when hot flashes were my constant companion. It is so short it doesn’t even come to my knees. I lost the belt to it quite a while ago. It was my weary robe. Menopause and all its fascinating symptoms suck the life right out of you. Literally, you are drying up. Brittle nails, hair falling out, body parts that you could once count on, packed their bags and moved out. No more unplanned laughter. I know middle aged women come across as joyless women, but it isn’t necessarily true. It’s the fact that we have lost the ability to enjoy spontaneous laughter. Now laughter comes with a set of rules. Stand still, cross your legs. Do not have drunk any liquid in the past 60 minutes. If you fail to abide by these rules, you better have a complete change of clothes in your purse. Adding insult to injury, hot flashes. Everything single item of clothing comes with precautions. Your favorite winter skirt that you paired with tights, brown boots and a fabulous cardigan? The one you actually felt semi-cute in? It hid all the bumps and wobbly bits perfectly. However, having to deconstruct this outfit during a hot flash was not pretty. I wasn’t about to be seen in my office wearing nothing but … well you get the picture.
I have a Japanese inspired kimono. I bought this one at Disneyworld on my 50th birthday. It is black with gorgeous flowers, lined in vibrant red fake silk. It is a one size fits most. I was going for a woman of the world, seasoned traveler look. A Japanese inspired kimono would automatically make me taller and more worldly. A Japanese inspired kimono lined with in vibrant fake red silk, would have me gliding instead of stomping. Rather than gulping coffee out of a clunky mug, I would be sipping expresso out of a glass and reading books by authors with exotic last names. The reality was this; I remained 5’2. The folds did not envelope me as apparently, I was not a “size fits most” kind of gal. My favorite mug is a green stainless steal Yeti cup and I don’t like expresso’s. I do have stacks of books and I read across many different genre’s yet I image the women who wore Japanese inspired kimonos would frown at their lack of cultural diversity.
I have a red velour front zipper monsterity of a thing. Frankly, it is a grandma robe. It’s an, “I give up” robe. I am going for comfort and I don’t give a damn about how I look kind of robe. It is tremendously warm. Given that the days of afore mentioned hot flashes are over, warm is not issue. Except for when my husband puts on a fire with 3 logs instead of 2. It is not well made, hence the little price tag, I guess. The bottom of the zipper came lose on one side, first one inch then two. Every time I wore it, I promised myself I would take the time to mend it. I never did and now the zipper is hanging on but sheer force of nature. This is not the problem either. If I cared enough, 10 minutes with a needle and some red thread and that zipper would be tamed back into submission. The problem is that I cannot breathe. The fabric wears me instead of me wearing it. There is no air movement. It is as if I am encased in plastic. In our damp rainy winters when I should be feeling cozy in my soft monsterity red robe, instead I am wrestling. Zipper up, no air, zipper down, air. (just dawned on me why the zipper needs mending) Up..down….up..down, over and over. I give up. Back on the hook it goes. I take down my too short, beltless gray one; sit down and eat purple popcorn (that’s a story for another day) grumpy. Stupid red velour -mending -needing -front zipper – monsterity-grandma robe.
Obviously, I need some guidelines for my next robe. Not to short, no belts (!), must do more then just met in the middle (one size fits most my foot) therefore a zipper is a must, must not be made of plastic/velour. Must allow for breathing. I have a ¾ sleeve, ¾ length purple and yellow extravaganza robe made out of polyester (I know what you’re thinking…polyester?). Now I look like what I image a 88 year- old ,semi- hoarder woman, who takes her garbage cans out with a cigarette in mouth at 4:00 am on trash days and sneers at the neighbors when they protest about the noise. But hey, it works. It does all the things, not to warm, not to cold, hides coffee stains, zipper intact. The problem is I put it on, I have an unreasonable desire to use chain saws and not clean up after myself. I wore it once in front of my youngest adult daughter and her raised eyebrow and puzzled look said it all.
Then last month, 10:30 at night, still trying to shake off the anx’s of the day, I opened Amazon and typed in for the millionth time “Romantic Robe”. See, that’s the reality. My reality, anyways. I want to look like a girl. A pretty girl. A pretty girl who is 5’2, not slim, (but no longer morbid obese, thank you weight watchers) a pretty girl who is post-menopausal, drinks coffee of a yeti cup and still re-reads Maeve Binchy books.
I am sitting here on a Sunday morning, legs crossed (I pride myself that I am still able to sit like this even though those first few steps are a doosey) typing on my laptop wearing my Romantic Robe. It is a creamy white cotton. Tiny splatters of reddish pink, yellow and green, giving the illusion of little flowers. It flows in an A shape bell around my ankles. Large cotton lace cuffs and 2 embroidered buttons. For me it is perfect. It’s perfect because when I am wearing it, I am not menopausal, worldly, expresso drinking, broken down, unbreathable, grumpy old lady. When I am wearing it, I am just me. A pretty me. A me that has been through many robe journeys to get to this realization. All these robes, all the trying on of different personifications, never gave me peace. The right robe, my Romantic robe, my I want to pretty robe; only arrived when I chose the robe that fit. Fit the me that I was all along. It just took me awhile to be okay with that girl.