Saturday, April 20, 2013

the bottomless closet

 our minds want clothes as much as our bodies. -- samuel butler

although the hard work of eating clean has me slowly melting back down to a size 4/6, i've thrown open my closet doors way too often these days and wondered why i don't have anything to wear.  most of it is probably because i've emotionally outgrown a lot of what i put on every day. it also doesn't help that there's too much in the back that i haven't worn in so long, i don't even recognize certain things. that's not good.

this is the reason why this spring finds me furtively editing my closets more so than usual and finding that the usual tax write off donation pitstops -- the salvation army or housingworks, for example -- aren't doing it for me anymore. i don't know why.  it still annoys me that i missed a huge swap-meet downtown a month or so ago. (there's nothing like an even trade for an instant upgrade.)  and for some strange reason, i don't have the patience or the fortitude for everyone's favorite gigantic online worldwide swap meet, ebay.

i had a vague recollection of a news item i saw years ago about an organization dedicated to helping women who were on public assistance transition into viable careers by giving them the confidence that they needed to present themselves well in an interview setting and providing professional work attire. that made so much sense to me. how in the world could anyone ever land that ideal job if they don't look the part, even if they have all the skills they need?

a quick google search (how did we ever get along without it?) led me to the bottomless closet. initiated by volunteers in 1999, they've helped thousands of women in new york city much more than clothes. a great outfit for a job interview is just the beginning. they have professional development workshops,seminars and programming that keeps women coming back and creates a supportive community. now that's where i'd love to donate those low-heeled office pumps i hardly ever wore.

everyone has to learn how to get dressed, no matter what we want to do. somewhere down the line, someone taught you how to tie a tie or that this blouse was appropriate or they gave you a suit or whatever.  clothes are powerful weaponry and although i suppose it takes a certain skill set to wield them well, the important thing to remember is that the gun is loaded, regardless. what you wear and how you wear it is working its elfin magic and communicating volumes to the world, whether your choices are painstakingly deliberate or completely haphazard.

hm. now that i'll be emptying my closet of who i was, its time to rethink who i am. one thing is certain: none of my vintage clothes are going anywhere.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Salt, Sugar, Fat

i'm veering away from processed foods anyway -- it's been a slow, painful, well thought out process -- but the book salt, sugar, fat: how the food giants hooked us by michael moss just might send me careening over the edge, right now. the reviews alone have been enough to scare the living daylights out of me.  unbelievable but true: the companies that create fast food, drinks and condiments are so consumed by greed that they have created the just right balance of salt, sugar and fat to keep the general populace mindlessly addicted to food -- and to keep their profits soaring into the stratosphere.

it's a chemical reaction, really. through fat, sugar and salt, companies like kraft and frito lay have scientists that have found what they refer to as the bliss point: this is what happens when processed food hits same the pleasure center in your brain that clicks into overdrive when you're high.

the concept vanishing caloric density is especially frightening when applied to baked chee-tos, a favorite of fast food scientists. the chee-tos melted away before the brain could register it as having been consumed, so the hapless victim keeps eating it.  no wonder i inhale those things when i eat them.

are things changing for the better? yes, they are -- but not fast enough. farmer's markets and the push towards organic whole foods is hardly enough. ultimately, it comes down to the individual breaking the cycle and choosing to not consume processed foods.  that's not easy to do when you don't even know you're an addict in the first place.