i've been totally enthralled with the sewing classes. on monday, i signed up for an additional class on tuesday evenings. we're not quite finished with the babe-a-licious drawstring pants, but i've been having so much fun that i decided to pony up for the shirt making class. much to my delight, this class is substantially smaller - only five of us total. even after the horror of getting measured in front of the whole class, i was so tickled by the idea of tackling shirt construction that i was willing to go through the embarrassment once more - after all, i'd done it once. i knew what to expect. it would be fine! and i would be sewing a real, live, honest to gosh shirt!!
still riding the high from monday night's class, i was anxiously awaiting the delights of tuesday's class. since we were no longer beginners, i expected the instructor to hand out the patterns, measure us, and get right into it. ho no... this time we were going to use a pattern generated from a program and based on multiple measurements INCLUDING WEIGHT AND BRA SIZE!!! kill me now. thank god there were only four other gals in the class... somehow the agony of having to bear the agony of publicly announcing my weight and bra size was lessened by the fewer number of class participants. and once again, i was the absolutely biggest gal in the bunch. i could feel the tightness in my chest start as the instructor measured his first victim... i gotta say, the single measurement of the previous class was small potatoes compared to this round of measuring... the fullest part of our chests, our waist, between the legs from belly button to the top of our ass cracks, neck, and bicep. the first gal handled the measurements like a champ. i could tell she was very uncomfortable - lots of nervous laughter and self deprecating comments. i mean i don't really understand why since she had the whole room silently staring at her, listening to the measurements as the instructor read them aloud. while witnessing this whole horror-measurement scenario play out, i realized that it was likely that every single one of the gals in there was filled with the same dread that was rocking around in me. i made up my mind to just say fuck it and get over the nerves. when it came to my turn, i had a little fun with the instructor... i took the tape measure and pulled it back and forth between my legs while shimmying my pelvis. i think that was the pressure valve everyone was looking for because we all started laughing... and i started blushing... but sure enough, talk of stripper poles sparked light conversation in the room and the tense tone dissipated. i didn't even mind giving my honest to god real weight and bra size. of course, i was as discreet as i could be, but again, i figured fuck it. i'm going to make this godamned shirt and it will fit because i've provided accurate measurements.
before getting measured, i was acutely aware of how hot and bright the shame of my weight burned inside of me. horrible catastrophic fantasies began to take shape and i felt like i would be lost to my peers as me, belly, and known only as a number. i imagined that once they knew my measurements and my weight, i would be forever reduced to numbers, i would forever be known as '51 Inch Hips'. "hey, 51 Inch Hips, could you pass me the pinking shears?" "Please say 'present' when i call your name. Hips, 51 Inches?" yet, this time i refused to be transfixed by the bonfire of my insecurities. fuck it. yes, my hips do measure 51 inches. so fucking what? yay me for being able to provide current, exact weight and bra measurements. yay me for having the courage to playfully poke fun at the tense situation by doing a little stripper dance with the tape measure. after all, if i'm going to continue sewing for myself, i'm going to have to acknowledge the shape of my body!
by the time i got home i was so energized, so full of delight and productivity. i gave myself over to the process of being measured and in return, i received a hella good time. i can't wait for next week's classes.
the real beauty of taking these sewing classes lies not in the fact that i'm learning a craft, but in the fact that i'm learning about me. some of my most vulnerable sensibilities around body image are being challenged. and IT'S OK. i'm discovering that the truth of my weight, the size of my hips, my bust - it's simple fact. these numbers are not charged with emotional anthrax. they simply are. i simply am. i do not crumble when forced to reveal my weight. i choose not to lose myself in the inner whirlpool of anxiety and insecurity. i choose to sew, baby!