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.