I got super excited when I bought a pair of reasonably priced black dress pants from a retailer I’ll call New Army. They fit well, were comfortable, a good deal, and would go with everything in my wardrobe. They had a side zipper, which reduced the bulkiness of having pockets, and I’ve never had a side-zip pair of pants, so that was another bonus. Yay fashion! I washed them, hung them up, and on the day that I would wear them the first time, I was very excited!
I got to work, and I tend to use the restroom just before I see clients. I had put on lotion because my hands were incredibly dry (thanks never-ending Winter!), and realized that I couldn’t unzip my pants because my hands were all lotiony (yes, Oxford Dictionary, that is a word), and the zipper was on the left side (I’m right-handed). I tried, and tried, and tried, and was FINALLY successful after I washed my hands to get the lotion off. I thought, well that’s inconvenient, but as women do with fashion, we persevere.
Then, I put more lotion on during my session, and promptly saw what I thought was dandruff ALL OVER MY BLACK PANTS. Turns out, the fabric is like glue for anything dusty, crumbly, or hairy.
I got through that day, and while I was very frustrated with the pants, I received compliments on them, and was glad that I made the purchase, albeit not replacing my well-worn, wear-them-once-a-week, standard-issue black dress pants.
Fast forward to yesterday. I go in later to work so that I can go to the gym (#selfcare). I packed the pants, a long-sleeved top (thanks again never-ending Winter!), black dress socks, and my loafers. I get in my fitness, and begin to get ready. I had already rolled off an entire 1.5 cat’s worth of hair before I left for the gym, and when I put them on they still showed whatever they attracted from the air. I put on my trouser socks, put on my pants, zipped them up (took me about 15-20 seconds), and realized that the socks were not allowing my pants to hang naturally, causing me to look like I had highwaters on. That’s not ok, so I either had to deal with that, or not wear socks…I chose the latter. While I hated the feeling of bare feet in my shoes, I sucked it up and left for work.
Got to work, drank more water, ate my lunch, had to pee. I go to the restroom, and suddenly remembered my first wear of said pants, and the hilarity (not) that ensued. This made me a few minutes late for my first client, and I apologized, claiming that my pants were holding me hostage. They laughed.
I welcomed the client in, started the session, and began putting on lotion (again, Old Man Winter, please leave). I attempted to remove a few stray hairs from my pants and THE DANDRUFF happened again. I get out my lint roller, and promptly remove it, apologizing to my very patient and understanding client.
After this session, I thought so long and hard as to why I am furious with these pants. I started making a mental list:
- Non-dominant side zipper – great for southpaws, not great for me
- They attract more stuff than a rare-earth magnet, and due to the color, EVERYTHING SHOWS
- I can’t wear them when it’s cold because trouser socks don’t play nice with the pants
After this list-making, I sent my BFFs a Marco Polo about my experience, prefacing it with NSFW and NSFK warnings. I then decided, despite me thinking these pants were a great deal, cute, professional, and versatile, I decided they were stupid and needed to go.
(For those wondering, I kept them on for the remainder of my clients’ sessions, since pants-less therapy isn’t a thing and no, just no)
As I drove home, I was still pretty upset with these pants – all the promises they had made to me, the visions of outfits they would complement, their softness and appeal, and fitting me very well, which I don’t believe happens that often for me. Then I realized…if they don’t work for me, I DON’T NEED TO WEAR THEM. Simple, right? I don’t have to wear them, or keep them! I can sell them at a yard sale! Gift them to a lefty! Donate them to a thrift store! Burn them into a pile of nothingness!
How does this relate to mental health, you ask? Well, it brought to my attention the fact that I was trying to fit these pants into my life by convincing myself that they are so ______________ that it should improve my feelings about these pants to continue to wear them, since I paid money for them, etc. But, if something doesn’t work for you, pants or otherwise, why do we continue to try to make it fit?
If you consistently go to a hair stylist, but don’t like the style, or don’t want to listen to them talk, or don’t like their personality, yet you also don’t look for a new one (BTW, I have a great stylist, if you’re in need), then you are keeping yourself stuck. If you bought a not-cheap bottle of shampoo, but you hate the smell, it doesn’t work for your hair type, and it makes you sneeze uncontrollably, why keep using it? If you attend a certain restaurant, and fail to get the service you deserve on more than one occasion from the same server (I’m looking at you, John), but don’t advocate for yourself in A) going to a different restaurant or B) requesting another server if John is your server (I won’t say where this was, but we chose option A), then you are agreeing to accept the consequences for inaction.
It doesn’t have to be this way! You have options available to you on a regular basis of how you live your life, where your kid goes to daycare, the routes you drive to work, the stylists you choose, and the grocery stores you shop. Even if you may not have as many options available to you, for example if you take public transit to work, or only have one option for childcare, then you can have influence over your mood and the you you present to others. Don’t let more time go by in being your unhappy self, when even simple changes can make a major impact.
And if you have pants that zip up the side, always, ALWAYS make sure they zip on your dominant side.