I am fantastic

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but blogging is really a feast-or-famine kind of thing. You have a great weekend with time enough to think and read a book, and suddenly you have like 6 posts all thought out, including a societal indictment and discussion of good bras. This after the last month where you hoarded and scrimped anecdotes in a desperate attempt to make your life sound interesting, at least to yourself.

Well, I’ve discovered that hoarding good blogging material is a little like hoarding Thanksgiving leftovers — if you don’t use them right away, they go bad. So you might as well whip up a nice tall open-faced turkey sandwich and enjoy already.


This weekend was marked on the calendar as “I am Fantastic” weekend. I put it on the calendar so I would take it seriously. There are always things that need to be done, and making myself look and feel good is usually at the bottom of that list. That’s ok short term, but sometimes you need to invest in yourself in order to give as wholly to the other people who count on you. “I am Fantastic” weekend started at 1:30 at Intimacy Copley Place in Boston. I’ve spent the last 5 years pregnant, nursing, trying to get pregnant, rinse and repeat. The body changes involved in that have made any investment in undergarments a losing proposition. That time is now over, and I was ready to invest.

I figured a really good bra would cost about $50. I added $25 on to my estimates to be safe. I had trouble imagining a bra could cost more than $75. The fitting was interesting. My fitter had a zip up dress so she could model the combination she was sporting that day. (In her defense, it looked great on her 10 months post-partum self!) She sat me down and gave me the lecture on proper care of my bradrobe. (I’m not making that word up.) Then she brought out the samples. I figured I’d start with two — one that would work under anything and one that would be very, uh, appealing.

None of the bras had price tags on them. This should have clued me in that I was in over my head.

I got two bras that were — are! Fantastic. They look awesome and make me feel awesome. One is extremely comfortable, and I suspect the other will be once I break it in.

But man, I totally and completely underestimated just how much a bra could cost. I’m pretty sure if I’d been shopping in a less, uh, intensive environment I wouldn’t have bought the more expensive one. I’m pretty sure if I’d seen a price tag, I wouldn’t have tried it on in CASE I liked it as much as I ended up doing. I find myself ashamed to have paid so much for something — this is a kind of indulgence I don’t really feel comfortable with. The more expensive bra cost $180.

I walked out of the store sort of shell-shocked into this mall that takes it for granted. The beautiful people all around me were likely all wearing $200 bras and $500 shoes. I looked around and I felt like I was all wrong: my shoes are a little scuffed, my pants are not designer. I was wearing makeup (unusual for me) but we’re talking Wet-and-Wild folks. My top, which seemed pretty in the morning, seemed dowdy and unsophisticated in the glare of the marble. My favorite courduroy jacket seemed threadbare in the soft lighting. My purse is hopeless — a $20 Target creation overflowing with children’s toys and touched by white wall paint in the corner. I hugged it close to my body hoping no one would notice me. As I hunted desperately for safe ground (aka Starbucks) I hoped no one would see me or call me out or notice how wrong I was. I wondered just what criteria the numerous lurking security officers used for escorting someone out. (One hopes more than a terrible purse.) I felt like there was exactly one part of my entire self that was ok for this place: the new bra.

These environments are set up to make you feel like you are not good enough. They also try to let you know that your failings are not permanent — if you spend enough money, pay enough attention and do the right things, you might perhaps hope to walk those halls between the Prada store and Monolo Blalik with confidence that you are all right. You are presented with the false hope that this is a winnable path to being acceptable.

I choose not to play that game. I vehemently reject the premise that “good enough” has to do with the right shoes and right clothes and perfection of physical attributes. It was a with a great sigh of relief that I crossed the busy street to Back Bay T stop, to a more normal world where I’m a perfectly ok person.

Did I mention I picked up “Twilight” to read during my sojourn? I enjoyed it as I switched from the Orange to the Red line. You see, I know Forks. My father lived there for a year when I was in my late teens. A boyfriend and I on a date had once wandered our way across the Olympic Peninsula, to many of the spots mentioned. I was that love-lorn teenager wishing to be called out as special in that tiny Northwest town. The bits about the sports — Volleyball etc. — ring very true. She must’ve grown up there too. So in addition to being a fun if flippant read, it made me rather nostalgic. Thank heavens I didn’t encounter it when I was 16 or I would’ve thought that FINALLY someone UNDERSTOOD me!

Anyway, on to my next stop. I got off at Harvard Square, with fading self-consciousness, and went to DHR to get my hair cut. Dale did an amazing job — I think this is the best cut he’s ever given me. I opted not to add some clarification to a rather vehement opinion Rob held about the middle ages (see also: completely monolithic society with total control over everyone — so not possible), and switched conversation safely over to “Red Dwarf” instead (they’re huge sci-fi fans).

And I emerged looking fantastic. I went home and had dinner prepared by my husband, got the kids in bed, and finished reading Twilight in the bath.

Truly, fantastic.

Not sure if you can really see the haircut -- I should've used a better backdrop
Not sure if you can really see the haircut -- I should've used a better backdrop

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

4 thoughts on “I am fantastic”

  1. Who are you related to, anyway? Hildagard will feel neglected.

    I definitely need a new haircut. My current hairdresser just doesn’t have the touch with my hair. But what to do, she is local. never go to a local hairdresser, you can’t break up with them. The back is not bad but the front sides are about twice as long as they should be. Maybe spring break?

    Looks nice, Brenda. Was this the weekend you were complaining about?


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