What I’ve Been Wearing During the Pandemic

Wow, we sure are still doing this, aren’t we? It’s been about 6 months now since we were ordered to work from home and avoid unnecessary travel and have our lives uprooted by the pandemic. Working from home has presented a number of challenges for many people and one of those challenges has been what exactly should one wear? I admit it feels weird wearing a dress to make the long walk from my sofa to my dining area (where I have set up shop to work in a sad and sisyphean attempt to separate work from home when I work at home) but it also feels equally wrong to lounge around in my pajamas all day. Working from home often means video calls; that means looking at least somewhat presentable to human society. I’ve been more rigid with my style choices while working from home than some of my friends (no shade, they have said so.) and because of that, I’ve been thinking: maybe I should let you all know what I’ve been wearing during the pandemic. 

Velvet Leggings

You know good and damn well I am absolutely the kind of person to own a pair of velvet leggings. Well, I own more than just one pair. I own 7 at last count. I have them in two colors: green and black and they are effortlessly stylish. It takes a certain kind of boujee to wear velvet pants and despite the obvious luxury of having velvet cover your butt; they’re shockingly comfortable. Wearing something on my lower half does have its advantages: I can run out and pick up lunch without any guilt or worry about having to put on pants. Maximum luxury for minimum effort. 

Joggers

I never thought I’d see the day I’d own more than one pair of joggers but dammit they are comfortable. I got a pair for Christmas from my aunts during a very fun Costco run and they have very deep pockets, make my butt look phenomenal and mean that if I have to rush to the door; I am still technically wearing pants.  

Solid Color and Patterned T-Shirts

Listen, just because I’m working doesn’t mean that I have to dress up all the time. Sometimes a v-neck t-shirt in a tasteful pattern or color is all it takes to get the job done. If I have a client meeting or a big boss call, time to throw on a cardigan. Otherwise, just looking put together enough from the waist up is a solid start. Luckily, since my preppy youth, I’ve kept a small army of v-neck, crew cut, solid, striped, spotted and fruity t-shirts that can help me look just the legal definition of put together. 

Velvet leggings aside and t-shirts aside, this is an absolute departure from the dresses and tights and flats I’m used to wearing for work. If I had a client meeting or not, I took a ton of pride in how I dressed for work. Sure, I rarely wore makeup but I would never wear graphic t-shirts or sweatpants to work. What’s telling in how I’ve been dressing during the pandemic I think is what has been absent still: I’m still not wearing a ton of makeup and I’ve traded athletic socks for stockings. I’ve abandoned jeans, but they do still fit. I try to do my hair every morning I work even if I don’t put heat to my hair to keep it curled under or perfectly just; just to make it go in a direction that makes sense usually via lazy swipes of a paddle brush. I don’t wear earrings unless I have a client meeting now. Overall, I just dress like a more casual version of myself; albeit a version of myself that doesn’t have to wear shoes while working. 

It’s been very important to me not to slip into wearing pajamas or leaving my bonnet on because of how much routine matters to me. I still have to do all the pageantry of work to feel like I’m going to work even if my commute now is just from the sofa to the dining area. If I don’t go through all the steps of getting ready: showering, having breakfast, getting dressed, doing my hair, taking my medicine in the morning I don’t know if I’d have the mental fortitude to get on with the work day. I need structure and routine and I just don’t think I could be one of those people that rolls out of bed 30 minutes before my shift begins and drag my laptop into my lap and still have anything that resembles a productive day. 

I have recently missed having a reason to wear casual clothes. Typically my jeans, joggers, sweats and more were a reprieve from tights, dresses and nicer blouses but when every day is basically a day at home: casual versus dressy just doesn’t seem to matter. I did treat myself to a few new v-neck shirts to spice up my wardrobe and add to the rotation but as I add more t-shirts to my closet, I can’t help but look at all the dresses that have been neglected since there’s nowhere to go. But the new wardrobe additions have helped me feel a little less sad when it comes to getting dressed even if there isn’t always someone to compliment me on my outfit. 

The pandemic has changed every facet of my day to day life and by making sure that I keep the delineation between work time and not work time has been just one of the ways I’ve been able to try and stay sane. Making sure that each morning I work that I get dressed and look even a fraction of what is considered presentable has been a vital part of keeping up the routine that helps me focus on all that needs to be done during my work day. 

I hope you all are staying safe out there. I know this is a trying time; it has been for all of us. 

Fingers crossed, things will improve soon. 

Unfortuntaely, Required Reading: Episode 42- Flowers for Algernon

Join hosts Amanda and Tori on a journey through junior trauma and cover Flowers for Algernon: a book that Amanda does not understand why is given to children.

Tune here in or wherever you listen to podcasts.

How I Got Back to Writing Fanfic

It’s a love affair that started when I was at the tender age of 12. I started writing fanfiction of the series that meant a lot to me as a way to escape my tenuous reality and to further interact with the shows I had nearly encyclopedic knowledge of even at a young age. For the uninitiated, fanfic or fanfiction are works of fiction written by fans based on a popular series like a manga/anime, TV show or book series. You can write fanfic to anything and trust me, there is fanfic of it even if you think whatever show or series you’re into isn’t popular. For many, fanfic is a way to either self-insert into a narrative or right the wrongs established by canon. For many writers, writing fanfic can become a way to explore kink, sexuality and even gender; I know it did for me. I was able to self-insert and live out fantasies beyond my wildest dreams even if it was something outlandish as dating the main fictional character or having my own power fantasy. It was a love affair I kept up through high school even doing commissions for friends and patrons to make their favorite ships and scenarios happen. If you wanted a lemon slash fic with your OC and an MC: I was your smut peddler. I loved sharing with the audience I had, the friends I had and I loved reading other fanfic of pairings I liked. I cannot impress upon you enough how social early fanfic was back in the day. It was all about sharing, commenting and more.

Fanfic was and still is an important part of building your fanon and defending your ship in the fan world and being able to bolster your fic with canon and headcanons became a currency to fans. While many were worried about building shipping manifestos, others were more focused on just indulging in a world entirely built on making their dreams come true through fiction. I don’t really remember what it was that got me to stop publishing fanfic. Maybe it was the sites I used to love going down or just gaining a different friend group but steadily one day I just stopped sharing the fic I worked on. But the funny thing was that college and sites going down didn’t stop me from writing fanfic. I continued on, just not really sharing my work with anyone. Even after graduation and moving into my own place I kept on writing fanfic; sharing with at the time a very eager audience of one: my then girlfriend. She was a huge source of inspiration to keep writing, to keep going, to keep creating and even though I was sure that the works I was making would never see other eyes: each chapter I finished was another little love token I could give her and I was content to continue to share. When she broke up with me, for a while, I lost my reason to write. It took a year or two after the breakup to keep going but I did and I went back to writing in solitude, mostly out of spite. I finished a work I started in high school only to continue on writing in the same universe and I was able to indulge every desire I ever had for that work and in my life.

I kept my ability to create OCs and write both the vanilla and smutty arts: it truly is a skill that needs to be honed. All the while I roleplayed and edited and continued to work in fiction and toting my ability to write fiction but still was afraid to show all the years of work that I had hoarded away like a dragon protecting its gold. 

As sensibility changed I got scared of publishing because indeed the times are no longer what they were. In the early days of fanfic the word “problematic” didn’t exist and we reveled in just how much we could push the envelope or shock a reader with smut, filth, or just obscenity. It was rarely ever gratuitous: it always did serve the narrative but we cared very little for trigger or content warnings or for protecting readers from things that may be shocking or unsettling. The newer crowd is sensitive to those things and while I can empathize with wanting to be warned for things that could offend certain sensibilities I was worried that maybe, just maybe I should just go off into that good night; keep my work to myself and age out of fandom like all the new kids on the block assume I should. 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what possessed me to publish again. Maybe it was the influx of fanfic I’ve been reading as a means to pass the time during the pandemic. Maybe it was just the desire to share this part of myself again. Maybe, just maybe it was a desire for feedback and praise. I don’t know what it was that got me to do it: but I did it. And so far, I have no regrets. It’s wonderful getting comments on my work again, being seen again, and being out there again. Each new moment of praise spurs me on to keep going and while it is a little daunting to potentially have a fanfic schedule again as I did in my youth I am also excited to have a burgeoning little audience that seems to like my work. It’s like exercising a muscle that I had let atrophy and writing fiction once more has become social rather than selfish. I haven’t had to sacrifice anything that I want, I get to be myself and share what I’m passionate about with other people that are passionate about the same thing. 

That inherent social nature of fanfic is what drew me into this world decades ago and I didn’t realize how much I missed it when I took my years away to find myself. But the fanfic community has once more welcomed me back like an old friend and damn, it feels good to be home. 

Unfortunately, Required Reading: Episode 41- The Giver

We’re back and Welcome to Our Junior High Trauma Month! Let’s talk about a book that neither of us wanted to read during a pandemic and time of intense social unrest and racial inequality.