Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Revelation. Or, How It All Began.

I was on the phone with Mom a couple weeks back and I had a seemingly insignificant, albeit completely amusing, revelation: My life is my bra size. Strange, but true.

For years I operated under the illusion that I was a 34C, going through life purchasing and wearing bras that fit adequately but not well. I figured, "Hey, nothing's perfect in life so why would I expect my bras to be?" It was only recently I learned that I have been living under a terrible misapprehension via-a-vis my brassieres. My case of mistaken identity was exposed during my first weeks at my new job, selling lingerie for a delightful and decadent company. We had a fitting as part of our training and it was there, in a tiny pink and black fitting room, where I learned the error of my ways and discovered what I truly am: a 32D. As I slipped in and out of luxurious lace and sensual satin bras in my size (at last!), I realized what it meant to have a bra that fit perfectly. Well, almost perfectly.

Alas, while a 32D felt much better than the shoddy 34Cs I'd worn all my adult life, something still did not feel quite right. So, upon arriving home I pulled out my trusty tape measure and took matters into my own hands. And finally, when reviewing the numbers I'd jotted down, I realized what was wrong: I am a 33 C and a half.

And that is my life or, at least, how I feel about it. I'm in-between sizes. None of the ready-made, off-the-rack options work. Some professions/personas fit me moderately well, but none that I have found thus far are quite right. But, while I find I can suck it up and tolerate a less-than-perfect bra, the same is not true for my life. I need a custom-made life, with a pattern cut just for me.

The problem with that, however, is that I do not know my exact measurements and there is no tool or trusty tape measure that can acquire them for me. I know many things that do not fit or flatter, but not what does and, therefore, I am twenty-six years old, working part-time selling lingerie and experimenting, on my days off, with potential styles, colors and cuts; careers, passions and professions which may suit me. But, I am finding that, while I am experimenting and trying on; twisting, tucking and tweaking; discarding, disassembling and reconstructing my custom life, I'm beginning to feel the worst way a human being can feel: superfluous. I understand how Sartre felt when he wrote "Nauseau". Nihilism seems reasonable. I'm having an existential crisis of epic proportions. This is not good. Very bad. Something must be done.

It was from this fear of insignificance and lack of purpose that The Betty Project was born.


  1. Stare into the abyss, my dear. Look life straight in the eye and say 'fuck you. I am important.' The Betties of the past had to make meaning out of baking, cleaning, and the like. The Second Wave Feminist Movement told us we would be more fulfilled if we left those things behind and joined the men in the corporate world, defined not by what it can produce but by how much it can earn. Return to the pursuits of hand and heart. Feed your tummy and others'. Feed your soul with books and art and languages and putting words onto the page. Feed your body with long walks and good lovin'. Remember that the only hope of generating meaning, of living beyond ones biological life, is by creating an impact on others, so that one lives on in others' hearts and minds.

    Separately, I think you are a writer. Not a novelist. You are a writer in the tradition of MFK Fischer and Virginia Woolfe (her short, political pieces, not her long novels). You are really f-ing good. Maybe this is what you should do...sell bras and write about it. Because you will make your brain feel good and make others laugh with familiarity. And that, my dear, is enough.

  2. You, my dear, have hit a chord!! A human melody: a theme song, if you will, for humans struggling to find the right fit; the best way to express themselves in this life, and to live life fully and authentically. I am looking forward to following your blog, and your journey.

  3. Sing it, sister. I mean, I've got two totally different-sized boobs! To extend the metaphor, does that mean I have a split personality....?

    Love you much. And with you in spirit if not in presence on this life journey and all future ones.

  4. i <3 the Palitz Elliott Diaz women.

  5. Thank you for the support, guys! And Amelia, we heart you too. Like whoa.

  6. I so identify with you, Betty! What a familiar concept, trying to "suck it up" and fit something that isn't quite right. Just like you I've realized that it's up to me to change my life to fit me-at every weird angle and uncomfortable position-not the other way around. I look forward to being inspired on my own journey by following yours! Thank you for sharing.