The Sweatpants of Defeat

I recently wore sweatpants to a family birthday party. My brother just stood there in his black V-neck sweater, sleek tie and fashionably slim pants, looked at me disapprovingly and shook his well-groomed head. I asked him what the problem was and he told me, and I quote, “People that wear sweatpants in public have given up on life.”

I laughed in his face and told him that I wear sweats to the store, to friend’s houses and that if it was socially acceptable, I’d wear them to work. While he was still recoiling from that bit of news, I told him, “Shoot, most of the time, I don’t even do my hair – I just let it dry and hope for the best!”

(I must admit, that approach to curly hair is kind of a crap shoot. Sometimes it works out fine, other times I look like I’ve been chased through a very humid jungle.)

I think he was tempted to disown me right then and there because as he put it, no self-respecting person would present themselves to the world that way. Like our father, he sees it as an expression of unabashed laziness and a deplorable lack of class.

I’m sure many would agree with them. I know he’s got somewhat of a point, and I would agree that sometimes what we take for granted as a lowly sweat suit is really just people wearing the defeat they feel inside.

I love my sweatpants, though. My sweats love me and don’t give me any grief about gaining a few pounds. They give me room to breathe and space. They extend themselves for me.

My jeans, however, are not so forgiving. I feel like I owe my pants a deep apology for stretching them to their limits and embarrassing them in public with front pockets so puckered and stretched they look like mouths gaping in horror. They’re aghast. They’ve been abused, and now they’re screaming because they can’t take it anymore.

I am currently trying to get rid of those unwanted pounds because frankly, it’s cheaper to lose ten pounds than replace an entire wardrobe.

Other than that, I’m pretty comfortable with myself. Sure, I have a few hang-ups about my body, and I still think swimsuits are the devil. But I honestly don’t care what my appearance says to strangers as long as it doesn’t lead people to believe that I think I’m better than them.

I guess I should be offended that my brother implied that I looked like a bum, but I’m not. I know he still loves me, even if he thinks I’ve joined The People of Walmart.

While some are wearing their failure, the rest of us just don’t feel like putting on a show. We don’t feel any less fetching, and it’s not a cry for help. We’ve got all the love and attention we need.

I am ok with myself. I’ve got God on my side and supportive friends and family. I have a husband and kids that love me when I’m ugly and when I’m at my worst. In a lot of ways, they are like my favorite sweats. Just think: when you’re sick, when you get tired of sucking in your gut and you just don’t want to impress anyone anymore, you want sweats. Sweats, like great friends, allow you to let it all hang out. They keep you covered and hold you together when you’ve let yourself go. They stretch with you and don’t judge. Everyone wants friends as forgiving and comfortable as a pair of sweats. It’s the kind of friend I want to be.

So when I’m in my sweats, I’m not wearing defeat, I’m actually wearing a metaphor for the life I want to live: humble, tolerant and always ready to receive people just the way they are.

Take that, David! (Just kidding, I’m pretty sure he never reads my blog.)


New Year’s Resolution Inspiration: Fondue Pots, Friends and Family

I’ve been thinking a lot about what people are known for.

My daughter once told me about a friend of hers whose uncle got drunk and bought his niece a fondue pot.

At first when I heard what he bought his niece I thought, either this man is an idiot or a really lousy gift-giver. Drunk or not, who gives a ten-year-old a fondue pot?

(Then again…I was a pretty robust fourth grader with a grown man’s appetite. I bet I would have loved it if someone gave me a vessel for melting cheese and chocolate to dunk treats into. Who knows? This kid might be a budding connoisseur of cheesy snacks.)

I’ve heard of mean drunks and funny drunks, but not gift-giving ones with a foodie bent.

I don’t think if I was drunk that I’d go buying gifts for people. But, what a charming thought, that when most people would be doing stupid or harmful things, you go out and do something generous – even if it’s a little goofy.

I bet this guy is famous in his circle of friends and family for giving big.

Here’s what some of the people in my life are known for:

My husband is a faithful and caring husband, father and friend. If you need someone to help you, he’s the best kind of volunteer; he comes early and stays late and not only works hard, he puts out his best effort. 

Gill is an amazing chef, upbeat, hardworking and one of the most fiercely devoted people I know. She’s the quintessential friend that will root for you, but keep you in check.

Angela is a giver. She works hard to help meet the needs of families in our community through grocery gives, toy drives and backpacks stuffed with school supplies. She also gives the best presents!

Shelly is honest and supportive. She possesses the rare combination of being a great listener and has the wisdom to tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

My mother is welcoming and the queen of hospitality, my daughter is thoughtful and loves giving gifts, my grandparents are dedicated servants of the poor and needy in their community.  

Honestly, my list of people could go on and on because I am blessed to have so many admirable people in my life. These people teach me, inspire me and support me and have gotten me seriously thinking about my own “reputation”.

Now, I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions. I have half-heartedly made a few in the past, I must admit, but it’s not something I take very seriously. I honestly had absolutely no intention of resolving to do anything this year, until I started thinking about all the people that have greatly blessed and influenced my life.

While it’s not an official “resolution”, I am determining from this moment forward to be energized by the examples of all my amazing friends and family. I plan to be intentional in my pursuit of God and purpose to see that his name is exalted and let my “reputation” be merely a by product of glorifying him.

Angie 1/2/12 ©

  • I believe in Jesus, loving people, living fully and creating good things. Whether it's art, food or finding solutions, I am always in "creative mode". With this blog I hope to encourage and help others to live in whatever "mode" God has called them to.

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