I hate to admit it to you all, but some days (most days) I’m faking it all. And the only reason I’m having guilt about telling this to the public is that I feel bad for those who see me regularly and are now questioning if they really made me laugh for if I was just being polite. Sorry everyone!
But in all honesty, I am, most of the time, in my own head and just playing the part of me. I function and communicate and look the way that seems perfectly capable. You can catch me wearing a thick layer of makeup; my shoes match my outfit and my hair done. Unfortunately, sometimes- on the lowest of those low days, you’ll have the displeasure of seeing me in an outfit I’ve gotten into the habit of calling my “giving up” clothes.
My giving up outfit is my way of telling you three things: 1) I only really had the energy to get out of bed and nothing else; 2) please don’t make small talk with me if you need something just say it; and 3) please don’t touch me. It varies slightly depending on the season but mostly it’s pair of socks, some Adidas slippers, a stretched out pair of black leggings and some sort of oversized tee. I’ve recently discovered that I am not the only that visually attempts to tell people to stay away, lots of people have different forms of giving up clothing. For those who don’t have bad days but bad weeks or months, it can mean just repeating over and over.
In Romeo Dallaire’s book, “Walking for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD” he recalls a time where he couldn’t fake it as well, “I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t even pick up a newspaper. I couldn’t muster the willpower to get out the door, even just to run to the store. I couldn’t summon the effort required to dress.” (101)
This quote evokes a lot of the same emotion that I get when I’m feeling that low, Dallaire’s mental illness at this point in his book is truly eating him alive, which I haven’t reached yet but you get the picture. This apparel of despair is something that people actually have.
In Fred Doucette’s book, “Better Off Dead” the same terminology is used to describe how one of his peers dressed when he just couldn’t deal with it anymore, “He awoke at 0300, and noticed that his wife had come home from work and was asleep beside him. Still dressed in what he called his, “give up on life clothes”- sweatpants, T-shirt, and running shoes- he decided that it was time.”
It is a little bittersweet to read how these people have the same habit I do. On the one hand, I understand how desperate and hollow you are when you reach for those clothing pieces. On the other hand, it is also a realization that I’m not alone.
I think I’m writing this post to try to help myself not be so embarrassed of letting go and slipping up once in a while. In hopes that it stings a little less next time when a customer at my minimum wage cashier job tells me that I look a lot less fresh than I did a couple of years ago. So I realize that I don’t need to get aggressively defensive when I get a comment on the bareness of my face. I’m just overall tired of having people ask me what’s wrong and then them making me elaborate when I say I don’t feel good because I don’t look physically sick. I just don’t feel good.
I hope you have a “giving up” outfit partially because I don’t want to feel so alone in this and partially because I think they are important. If you don’t have one, I want you to go to your closet- prepare yourself. Stop wasting that last ounce of energy that you could be using on getting some food in your belly on trying (and let’s face it, failing at) getting yourself presentable. Plan it in your mind, so when it hits you’re ready.