The sweatshirt

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Couple of years ago, a friend repeated her outfit to recover from her breakup. The sweatshirt became a symbol of her entering into the cold, dreaded winter alone and she wouldn't part with it.

Earlier this year, after the colossal fuckfest of what Bangkok was, I found myself withdrawn and completely resigned to work. I'd hang out with P and ask her,

"Do you think I'll ever be happy again?"

Patiently, she'd tell me, that I would find with me the strength to grow out of this misery.
I recall afternoons of us sitting in the park after lunch, with a bowl of salad and staring into the oblivion. In hindsight, I'm more than grateful to her for being there in silence. It's the most difficult thing to do, to be there for someone, especially when they are trying their best to push you away. Just the sheer of act someone sitting with you in utter silence, that's true love.

We'd get atop this structure and sit cross-legged, only to be told off by random passerby's to dress well. This is the time I'd either show up in fishnets and a skirt with a faux leather jacket or my old college sweatshirt.

If I think about my sweatshirt, I almost never wore it while I was in college. It was thick and shapeless and I hated the design. I only bought it cause everyone was buying it and everyone liked college merch.

Earlier this year, I spent half my time wearing that, even publically, at work, on evening outs, after the workout, sleeping in it. Everywhere, without realizing that I had done that. The first time it hit me is when I was asked out by someone and I was wearing it. I checked myself out in the mirror right before dashing out. I had wrapped a freelance assignment and I hadn't bothered to even comb my hair that weekend. I was in the same thick sweatshirt for 48 hours, with the exception of taking two showers. It was shapeless but for the first time, I found myself looking good in it. Maybe, I had no fucks to give. Maybe, I misjudged the garment.

Safe to say, the sweatshirt was attractive enough for us to see each other again, routinely.

Tide changed.

For the last week, I had been trying to organize my closet and shove Summer outfits in. During the process, I came across the old sweatshirt. Each year, I tell myself that I'll reserve the garment for bedtime and then conveniently forget about it.

However, yesterday, I wore it to work. After months, I found myself resigned about life the way I was earlier this year and had no strength to get out of the bed and change clothes. I forced myself in the shower and grabbed the first thing from the closet.

The damn sweatshirt.

This morning, I spent 20 minutes, coordinating a formal sweater, a pretty hot winter camisole, and skinny jeans to make it look like, a terrible Pearl Jam number. I'm still alive, contrary to what my face says.

The thing with putting together a good outfit is you want to do things at the end of the day and feel good. Let me run you through my good day outfit post work.

I got yelled at by Mia K when I told her I can't decide between buying a pack of cigarettes or a single stick. This went over two phone calls (and a solid 10-minute howl by both her and my dog when we were trying to speak to each other). I came home, ashen white face and low BP, a marker for can't deal with anyone.

My father read my pale face and tried his best to seek answers. An effort I appreciate for the most part, given how inactive his interest has been in comparison to my other parent in the picture, all these years. The most fun I had this evening was the dinner he put together, garlic fried chicken, an instant mood lifter.

Didn't help.

About half an hour back, I decided to call it a day. Just as I was changing into shorts to sleep, I saw the sweatshirt on a chair. I'd kept it for laundry but I decided to put it on and dug out my hidden berry flavoured cigarette stash at home.

I smoked one wearing the shapeless garment and everything made sense again.

I am wearing all that was stripped off me and all that I am left to be. I recall my most vulnerable side and wearing this reminds me of how I survived it. In this, I am home. I understand my friend and her sweatshirt obsession.

All I can say is, if you've a piece of shapeless hideous garment that you feel nothing towards, then stay the hell away from it.

That garment carries the potential to change your mind, take over your life and convince you that this abusive relationship is all you need for your survival.

If you're me, you would buy everything on face-value and proceed to live your life believing in the silly garment. However, I hope for your sake that everything you decide and have the courage to decide, including deciding your future with that sweatshirt, stems solely from you.

Don't let a sweatshirt allow you to become a supporting character in your own life. Don't fucking wear your grief, no matter how solid you're let down.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll smoke another cigarette and maybe crash.

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