My associate editor at the paper, MJ, says she giggles every time she sees me, because she knows I’m wearing Spanx. I love working at the paper, I love being “Libby Cudmore, Girl Reporter,” I love seeing my name in print* and I love getting the paper on Wednesdays and saying, “Wow, look what I did!” Everyone in my office is grand and I’ve never had a better working environment.
That being said, the Spanx incident has really made my think. In having a rubber slip squish me into loveliness, the realization that I could always be thinner was a tad horrifying. I mean, as it is, I just sold a Hot Topic wiggle dress from high school because it didn’t fit anymore–as in it was too big. The most I’ve ever weighed is 111, and that was for a very brief time. I still fit in a bikini I bought (also from Hot Topic) in my freshman year of college. I wear a size 1 juniors in jeans.
But I can always be thinner.
Subsequently, working for a newspaper means being ready to work every minute of every day. “There are a million stories in the naked city,” my boss always chides when I struggle to come up with something notable to write about. This is one of the few times in my life where I haven’t been working two/three jobs, but I work –in some form or another–seven days a week. That’s not a complaint, that’s a fact.
A recent Forbes study showed that women work harder than men. And we’ve all been told that the harder we work, the further ahead we’ll get in life. Over a decade working multiple jobs and getting a MFA, and I’m still up to my ears in student loan debt and can’t afford an apartment
I can always work harder. Anything else is failure.
I realized that this was a problem when on Tuesday night, I had nothing to do. My stories were all written, my pages were all laid out, there weren’t any meetings to attend. I had the whole evening free . . . and I had no idea what to do. I hadn’t had a night off in so long that I had forgotten how to relax.
So I asked my friend Mike, who works a normal job like normal people, and he was thrilled to be asked because relaxing is something he excels at. Not in a lazy way, but in a way that he knows the boundaries between work and play. He told me to watch bad TV or play video games. Since the X-Box was at the Teen Center and our TV is hooked up yet, I peeled off my Spanx and sat on the couch, watched three episodes of Face/Off and then Justified, which I don’t even like, but, well, Goggins.
Last night, after working another full day doing tear sheets, I came home, made dinner, did some errands and watched Law & Order: Special “No, this isn’t Chris Brown/Rhianna, what gave you that idea?” Unit. And finally, after days of having my smoothed and shaped butt up around my ears from tension, I relaxed.
And having relaxed, I think I’m finally able to get back to work. In Spanx.
*And I’ve got a story coming out in the next issue of The Vestal Review!