Fat and Not Afraid

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Costumes and the dreaded P word

October 30, 2009

A couple of days ago I wandered into the VV boutique (Value Village) searching for some odds and ends for a Hallowe'en costume idea-a Jedi.  Yup, I'm getting my geek-on tomorrow night and plan on being all "May the Force be with you" as much as my friends can stand. ;)  Unfortunately, the only cloak I could find was black so it looks like I might have to be a Sith, not a Jedi.  As I wandered the racks looking for *just* the right cloak, I tried not to roll my eyes right out of their head at all the 'sexy' this and that for women.  This has been covered in other places (http://kataphatic.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/458/) (http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-officially-quit-world.html) so I wont go into it here.  However, I was intrigued by the plus sized costumes; to my eyes they looked more like average sized women, barely 'overweight' but cost nearly twice as much as the regular ones.  A beautiful Mother Earth costume was $49.99!  It WAS a really nice costume, but damn, fifty bucks?  Who's got that kind of money to spend on a once a year outfit?  (Kinda reminds me of wedding and prom dresses; fantastic but you're only going to wear it once).  Not me, that's for sure.

Here's where the dreaded P word comes in; poverty.  I may be a university student, but that is only because of the good graces of the Ontario government and the OSAP loan.  Without it, there's no way I could afford post secondary education, nevermind TWO degrees (I finished my first degree last spring and am working towards a teacher's college degree as well).  Without this money I would be working a minimum-wage shit job, living in a crappy little apartment and probably praying that nothing broke or that I didn't get swine flu so I wouldn't miss work.  Hubby would also be working a crappy job and feeling the same way.    We'd have a lot more stress in our relationship and stress can have a real negative impact on your health, physical and otherwise.  We live on borrowed money that's going to have to be paid back, and soon.  We're so far in the hole when we look up, the sky is a very small blue dot.  Decisions about little extras on groceries or presents for our friends kids have to be weighed carefully against a time-table of 'when will the OSAP run out?'  Because when it does, there's nothing coming in until the next piece in January.  Right now we have money but if I can't find a job right away after school, we're utterly screwed.  We could both work full time at one of the several call centers in town but it still wouldn’t' cover our bills, and we're not exactly living above our means. 

Back to the costumes; at 29-49$ a piece, who's really got the disposable income for something like that? I was happy to get out of their with a 10$ cloak and a new belt ($2! Woo!).  In many ways, I have a lot of privilege; small fat, Caucasian, able-bodied, sighted (I wear glasses but it could be a lot worse), not hearing impaired, cis-gendered, good home and family.  This opens a lot of doors for me that aren't open to other people, but one thing I am most definitely not is well off.  I sympathize (empathize?) a lot more with the guy who asked me for money for coffee tonight when I was headed for the bus than I do with someone who can afford to tip when going to a restaurant or who can buy brand-name anything.  Forget brands, I shop at Zellers for a lot of my clothes.  Two winters ago things were so bad we were getting by on groceries my mom bought and couldn't pay the rent.  This summer it was similar as I couldn't find a job and Hubby was only allowed part time thanks to the economy.  There's a real feeling of helplessness as the bills pile up and you just look at them and at your partner and ask: What do we do?  Choosing which bills to pay and which to ignore is tough.  Also tough is calling your water and electricity provider and saying "Hi, the payment is going to be late, is that ok?" and there's that pause while they look over your file and debate whether or not you've been a good enough customer not to shut off the water.

I never want to move back in with my parents, or leave the house we've got (only by the good graces of my in-laws) for an apartment.  But it's almost happened twice now, so everytime a holiday roles around where I'm expected to spend money, I cringe.  Christmas, Easter, Hallowe'en, they're all so commercialized you're looked at funny if you don't participate in that way; buying presents, buying candy, toys, costumes and accessories, whatever.  People are expected to put themselves in the hole for Christmas; it's a joke now, an accepted occurrence that their credit cards will be maxed out and take months to pay off.  Seriously, it's ridiculous and I don't want to play anymore because we just cannot afford it.  Add in the fact that I want to raise Gabe with my Pagan beliefs and there's no REASON to keep doing it; we celebrate the Spring equinox, not Easter, Yule, not Christmas, and Samhain not Hallowe'en.  At least that one's not *too* far from its' roots.

Gah, this has gone on way too long and is really disjointed.  Anyway, my point is I'm too poor to buy a nice Mother Earth costume at Value Village and that makes me sad.  Or something.  Goodnight!

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