I’m reading a very good book at the moment: ‘Women in Clothes’ by Sheila Heti and many others. Hundreds of women filled in surveys regarding clothes, what they wear, how they feel about them, and so on. I love the broad range of women represented. Could anyone read this book and not find someone whose attitude towards clothes was not similar to their own? Sometimes I feel an outsider at school, simply for not investing a lot of time and money in my appearance. How do women not resent the hours spent having their hair cut and dyed each month, and the time it takes to find the clothing they wear? This book validated both attitudes (and plenty of others) to clothes and having an appearance. Here is a tiny fragment of what I read this morning, written by Eileen Myles (p 362):
‘I remember a gay man I knew going on about how he resented how straight men just let themselves go and got big bellies and wore dirty clothes and the same clothes day after day and were rewarded for their gross behavior by getting great and beautiful girls. This was transformative in that I thought, You’re right! It’s not that I want a big belly, but I want a piece of that freedom to be a pig.’
A book that I find comforting in a similar fashion is ‘What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets’ by Peter Menzel and Faith d’Aluisio. It helped me overcome the food anxiety I had been suffering after reading too many nutrition books, and that reading had been a reaction to those healthy eating campaigns (2 fruits and 5 vegetables a day!). I tried reading some Michael Pollan, where he defined ‘nutritionalism’, the idea that we are encouraged to eat according to specific nutrients found in particular foods instead of just eating a good range of foods, and that book left me feeling extremely malnourished. The other books I read did not help much either. Whereas seeing photos and reading descriptions of what these 80 individuals around the world were eating during the day helped me gain some perspective on both what I eat, and the people who are more likely to be the target of the food campaigns. It was good to see what some might perceive to be the typical American diet that it is assumed that all of us in the Western world are following. I now cling to the idea of the Mediterranean diet, and take the view that the women living on those small farms were not counting the serves of fruit and vegetables they ate in a day, nor measuring volumes of olive oil or weighing nuts, etc. They just cooked and ate whatever was around at the time, and as there was a reasonable abundance of fruit and vegetables, they were well-represented in the diet. There was also a good bit of fish, while not so much of other animals as they take a lot of feeding, so not in the diet so much. If I am in the mood for some nutrition advice, my favourite book is Jane Clarke’s ‘Bodyfoods for Busy People’, in which she recommends many foods for different problems, the sort where you might not bother your doctor, but you don’t feel completely on top of things either (such as colds and mild insomnia). Usually just reading the relevant part of the book makes me feel better.
I have stopped counting steps too. I am very glad the battery went flat in the pedometer. I don’t feel so tired when I don’t see how many steps were taken in a day. I wore it long enough to know I fulfill that prescription.
And now for a crochet update:
I am enjoying this blanket very much. It will be small, 12 squares each way, and then five rounds for the border. I did a bit of weighing and calculating yesterday morning, a very satisfying activity. I will need to crochet another 24 squares to complete the blanket. I only crocheted one of each variation, so 120 squares (5X4X3X2), and I have joined them according to the colour of the final and connecting round. I wanted to have a completely random layout for the squares according to that colour, but it became too difficult to avoid having same colours touching, so they are not random but perhaps look random anyway because of the variation in the first three rounds. Regardless, it has been a lot of fun.
The next blanket will be much brighter, as requested by my son. Finding a blanket my grandmother had crocheted for me was not an adequate solution.