I move tomorrow. And Monday. And a little bit yesterday. There’s nothing like having to take literally every article of clothing you own to the laundromat to remind you how much you own. That’s 2 Prius loads full. And I got rid of 12 white garbage bags of clothes during the Fat Girl Flea Market, so it is extra crazy realizing how much there is.
When I think about my wardrobe, though, I do realize that I have a lot of different aesthetics to maintain. I have a whole career wardrobe, which includes the business casual I use predominantly because I do transactional work and I’m a little flashy as well as the requisite suits. Even though I am transitioning to my new career which will involve some business work, I still need that stuff, because I will need to wear it and there’s no greater stress than needing a suit last minute, as a plus size girl.
Then there’s what I call the queer fat femme wardrobe, which is basically my everyday (and every night). Of course, everything has a different level of fancy–I have 5 different red halter dresses to illustrate this point. Is this a casual BBQ sundress situation or a tight wiggle dress night out? Is this something more conservative and less cleavagey I can wear to a baby shower with my ex-girlfriend’s parents (true story) or a flashy life of the party everyone will stare at me I look so good dress? Dressing Femme is complicated, everyone has a part of their body they don’t want to show off and parts that they do. I’ve even got parts I show off for political reasons.
And then there’s the whole performance wardrobe. Honey, I’ve got a ton of majorly unique and adorable costumes and only increase the amount the longer I work at a plus sized vintage clothing store. I had to get most of them dry cleaned as part of the transition to the new apartment, and the women at the dry cleaners were exclaiming over some of them. I am proud of my collection.
But just because I CAN explain why my wardrobe is so big doesn’t mean I NEED to. I don’t have to justify my clothes to anyone, that’s part of living as a Fierce Femme. It’s being who you are, loving what, who and how you love without justification to anyone but yourself. Yeah, I’ve got a lot of clothes, but I love them, I love myself and they make me really happy.
I’ve learned over the last few years you should only keep what you LOVE. While I do LOVE a lot of things, and I’m trying to do the best I can to weed out “stuff” from my life. But at this point I know with 98% certainty that everything I pull out of those laundry bags once Monday evening comes and I’m for real in my new place and starting my new life across the Hudson I am going to squeal with delight being reunited with my wardrobe.
So, yeah, the crimp in my back only one day into the moving process is all for the love of my clothes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I leave you with a wonderful video I found starring my colleague in fat activism Marilyn Wann and some big moves dancers.
I’ve written about my attendance at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival here before. It’s a wild and wonderful adventure I take every August, where I totally unplug from the outside world and set into the hum of a life in the woods, sleeping in a tent (with many fabulous amenities) and creating something truly one of a kind every year with hundreds of other wyms.
Since I love the Festival and the amazing things it’s done for me in the 12 years since I started attending, I have a vested interest in getting as many Fest-curious wyms to attend as possible. Further, I’m part of a group of past, present and future attendees of the Festival who are working, in love and in direct one-on-one communication with other attendees, to change the intention of the Festival (See #9 below) and we need more, fresh wym power to help us continue the work.
If you’ve always thought about coming, now is the time to turn that thought into a plan. Without your support, it can’t continue. In order to turn folks’ maybes into a yes, I’ve compiled a top eleven list of reasons to attend the Festival.
Purse Anchor: I recently went out with three very foxy masculine-of-center gentlemen to a small town gay bar.* It had been awhile since I'd been out in a crew that wasn't made up of many Femmes and in a venue with a delineated dance floor (let alone room to move around easily). Noticing how they moved around the dance floor versus how I moved around the dance floor was really interesting. I was anchored to the ground with my purse and everyone else had way more locomotion. It's a matter of street smarts, I don't leave my purse anywhere out of arm's reach and when I'm on the dance floor I dance next to it. Generally I carry a clutch so that I can dance with it, but when there is a drink in hand I find that just spoils my groove. So the clutch has to get set down.
With well over a decade of nightlife behind me, I've tried many purse permutations for going out. Here's the thing--I don't have pockets nor do I trust pockets with the things I need. And some of those things I need are my camera because I obsessively document my queer fat femme life, my wallet, keys and many different kinds of lipsticks. I used to try the bra pocket with just an id and cash and my housekey but I have bigger needs these days.
Regardless, part of being Femme is not having to make excuses for the girl shit I do. Mama needs a purse anchor.
An ongoing performance series curated by Bevin Branlandingham, Cupcake Cabaret features comedy, drag, burlesque, spoken word, film, performance art and all manner of genres celebrating the radical act of self-love.