Monday, August 3, 2020

covid notes 16

Things about style school, in no particular order.


I had to learn how to take a selfie. When I began style school, there were just three photos on my photo that identified themselves as selfies. They were, but the phone was not in my hand when they were taken.


Luckily, Stasia recommended a cheap tripod and Bluetooth shutter remote control that I purchased so I could set my phone up on said tripod and take a photo from afar. That took a lot of practice on my part, because I (think I) look shitty in photos, so a LOT of photos have to be taken to get good ones. It was so so hard for me, but I did it. And I still haven’t taken a regular selfie with my phone in my hand.


When I signed up for style school I thought I would be doing all the work alone in the house. Thanks to COVID-19, Tim started working from home the day I started style school. I wouldn’t tell him what I was doing, and he left me alone, god love him. But it totally changed the energy of the whole thing and made me even more self-conscious than I already am, which I did not think was possible. (I seriously didn’t tell him what I was doing until it was over, five weeks later.)


The class calls, which happened via Zoom, were the best part for me. In the beginning, I didn’t do them live but watched them later at night. When I started doing them live, I was glad I did, because you could watch the questions come in as people texted them and could chat on the side. You didn’t see that on the taped call. Again, because of my self-consciousness, I didn’t turn on my video or mic until THE VERY LAST CALL I WAS ON (before the class started, people could chat). I’m telling you this not only because it’s true, but to let you know how even though I am this self-conscious and easily frustrated, I loved style school.


I have told maybe one or two other people that I did style school. I’m guessing I would have told more people after the fact if we weren’t all on lockdown, but we are, and I just haven’t mentioned it.


In part maybe this is because I don’t want people to think suddenly maybe I’ll be stylish or something. You know, people looking for evidence that I went to style school, whatever the hell that is. I don’t want people looking at me with that eye, like I need to prove something or something should be different.


And that’s why I didn’t tell people about it while I was doing it. That was a point of contention, because the first week (remember this?) Stasia asked us to gather words from others that describe us. I didn’t want to explain what I was doing to anyone. I don’t like people watching me while I’m trying to learn something. The only way I could master the stick shift was to be left alone with the car. Just give me a little time by myself to get comfortable. I’m slow this way. I asked to retake Algebra I in ninth grade and not be tracked high into Algebra II. They didn’t let me, and I nearly failed. I know when I’m slow, but slow doesn’t mean unable. Please respect that, world.


Our group was SSS-19, the 19th style school. And it was the first style school when most of us, all around the world, were in some sort of lockdown. It became SSS-COVID-19. None of us could go shopping. Our closets became the ONLY places we needed to go for creativity. In the strangest way, this was awesome. (I still haven’t purchased any clothes since style school, even though I have things I’d like to have, because I fear mail order. Oh, and because my closet is actually serving me pretty well, it turns out, if I think about it a little bit.)


There were people in school with me from Denmark, Italy, India, Canada, all over the U.S. I think Stasia says there have been students on five or six continents. Can’t find that statistic now. It’s amazing how differently some of us can be culturally and yet our issues are so damn similar.


Schools are broken into (usually) four smaller groups, and you get tight with your own. They are Maya (Angelou, my group), Rosie (the Riveter), Amelia (Earhart), and Frida (Kahlo—our school was slightly smaller so we didn’t have this last group).


I never did my real closet edit (although I have done some closet edits before style school). I want to go back and go over ALL the material again, but I haven’t yet. I love the alumni group, which you can join when you’ve finished style school. Sometimes, when I’m feeling sad, I go there and immediately feel connected and supported and real again.


Here’s the link to her website ( Registration for the next school opens August 28, which probably means it starts sometime in September. I can’t tell you that you will love it. But I can tell you that I loved it. It was the worst timing ever for me, as well as the best. It’s helped me think differently about myself and about others. It’s helped me be more compassionate toward just about everyone.


And Tim has told me multiple times, without prompting, how good I look. Tiny changes. But he’s noticed.


  1. Oh wow. I love that last paragraph. Even though, as I say that, I realise that the point of style school is making YOU feel better and more authentic, not how you appear to others! I can completely understand you not telling Tim, though I admit I laughed that you didn't tell him until it was over. And I understand too the pressure that you might have received from others if you'd told them about it. (The same reason I didn't tell anyone "in real life" about IVF, except for one friend.)

    I can completely relate to the difficulty taking a selfie. I am not photogenic, and feel very self-conscious when it comes to photos. Well done for getting it. I have some stories along these lines I might blog about.

    And I think the fact that your closets were the only place you could go for inspiration was probably really great. Because it teaches imagination, and creativity. I'm off to check out her website.

    1. Mali, thanks for these comments—and oh yeah on the IVF. So. Much. Bigger.

  2. Thank you for this. I realize that the upcoming date is not going to be doable for me, due to the loooooooonnnnnnnggggggg list of stuff I need to do on my and my mother's house before the cold weather sets in (It's so loooooooonnnnnnnggggggg in fact that just thinking about it yesterday made me want to spend all day in a fetal position. Which doesn't help to shorten the list.)

    But I definitely want to enrol in the session after that. And now I know that I also have to get a cell phone--which I keep planning to do, but never seem to find time for. Or perhaps I'm just reluctant to ditch my cell-free existence. Maybe I should start a Museum of Formerly Everyday Things and make my landline the first exhibit.

    You looked very stylish on our Zoom chat :)

    1. I'm impressed that you've made it this far in the 21st century without a cell phone!

  3. Ha! Thank you. I'm impressed that you don't have a cell phone and I understand your reluctance, for sure. I still own the phone that was at my desk at ACOG in 1989—purchased it for $5 when more complicated versions came in. With a smart phone, we could all take photos and make our own online Museum of Everyday Things.

  4. I can understand not telling Tim. And I also understand that it was/seemed a little harder when Tim began to work from home. I felt much less comfortable working at home once Dean started doing the same in March.