There are two things in the world I can count on to make me feel instantly better: yoga pants and wine.
I’d add my dog to that short list too, except he does stuff like bark at my guests, poop on my lawn and steal my food which makes him—though delightful—not always a reliable pick me up.
Maybe it’s because I’m a yoga teacher, but every time I wear something other than yoga pants, my blood pressure rises. This from a woman who used to take fashion rather seriously. I still have what I call a “stable” of good clothes, fine jackets, pants and dresses for every conceivable event, but these days, when I put them on, all I can think about is when I get to take them back off.
Jeans? Ugh. That’s almost become a dirty word in my world.
The thought of squeezing my un-Maria Kang-like flesh into a pair of Paige Premium Denims is about as appealing as eating nails. With the re-introduction of leggings (God bless whoever did that), “jeggings” make a fair substitute, but all I really want are my Be Present capris with a slit up the back, a draw string waist, and a lot of extra room to move around.
I was watching an episode of “What Not To Wear” recently, something I do just to see how far I’ve actually veered off course as a respectable adult, and the girl they were making over was wearing the exact same pair of Be Present pants I pull on every day—and she wasn’t wearing them in the after pictures.
Does this make me a bad person?
I try to gauge my appropriateness or lack thereof by conducting silent surveys at the grocery store. My outfit: yoga pants, flip flops, t-shirt and a sweatshirt depending on the weather. No makeup, hair in a bun. I am generally happy to discover all the other moms are similarly casual, either looking like they just got back from the gym or are just about to go.
But every now and then, I see her. The Put Together Mom.
Man, does she look good. Low heeled boots, fitted jacket, lipstick. Inevitably, I glance down at my sandals in shame. If I put just five more minutes of effort into myself before I left the house, I too, could be Put Together Mom.
Ah, screw it, I always think, as I take a detour down the ethnic foods aisle. Out of sight, out of mind. But deep inside, there is a lingering guilt. Am I letting the last moments of my middle aged semi-beauty slip away in the tide of apathy? Would I be making the cashier’s day better if she didn’t have to look at my bare eyes, with their circles and their sags? Am I passing up life changing opportunities in the produce section, as Stacey and Clinton always suggest, but not looking like my “best self”?
By the time dinner rolls around, I’ve written, taught, walked the dogs, yelled at my kids, nagged my husband, called some people, done a bunch of laundry, straightened up the house, cooked, and yelled at my kids some more.
What a delicious moment that is, pouring the aromatic blood red liquid into my favorite stemless wine glass, sinking into my old leather couch, and letting my bones untangle.
But what yoga teacher needs to drink wine at the end of the day? Shouldn’t I be permanently blissed out? If I were a really good yogi, wouldn’t my life be like one extended resting pose, with brief pauses in between during which I sort socks with unflappable composure? If I were a better woman, wouldn’t I be able to wear jeans and lipstick as I empty the trash compactor with gratitude?
Well, it ain’t happening, Sally.
Everyone needs a little help from time to time, and if comfy pants and some fermented grapes help smooth out the rough edges of my day, then I am grateful, and I can sort socks and empty the trash compactor with gratitude.
Of course, every now and then I should put on a good pair of heels and strut around just because I can. And so too, should I be able to sink into my old leather couch with a cup of tea, rather than a glass of wine.
It’s all about balance. I just hope I’m not tipping over too far to one side clutching my yoga pants in one hand and my wine in the other.
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Ed: Catherine Monkman