Sedimentary, my dear Watson...

One of the things about spending time in my hometown is that it tends to dredge up a lot of nostalgia.  Some pleasant, some unpleasant.  But the monster that lives under your childhood bed doesn't necessarily go away.   He can find you and he certainly will, sometimes when you least expect it.

I think of it like this.  My emotional state is like a large glass jar, filled primarily with clean, cold spring water.  Gathered from the creek near the family cabin in North Georgia. But like any good creek water, no matter how carefully you gather it, there's going to be silt.  And, left undisturbed, you have a jar with mostly water, and a bit of silt that settles to the bottom.  But woe be unto you, should you knock the jar over, or move it too quickly.  The clear water clouds up and swirls and then you have kind of this jar of dirt water, and it sucks.

The thing is, if you let the jar sit, things will fall back down to the bottom, and you're good to go.

But the jar gets bumped a lot, so the best you can do is peer through the murky jarscape and hope for the best.

I'm feeling a little anxious as there are several things that I can't control that are lurking under the surface.

I channeled some of my angst into a letter to the customer service team at J Jill.  I tried to shop there this weekend with my Mom, but shocker - they don't carry plus sizes in store.  So I sent them these bons mots:

Dear J Jill,

I wanted to write you because, a few years ago, I bought my mother a blouse from J Jill and ended up on your mailing list.  I never really looked at the catalogs, because I didn't realize you carried plus sizes. 

Well, the thing is, you do "carry" them, but not really.  I finally looked at your catalog, and I saw a few things I wanted to look at - I figured I'd go shopping with my mother in her hometown (Atlanta) rather than where I live (Nashville). 

Imagine my surprise when neither of the two stores I went into in Atlanta over the weekend carried anything in your plus line.  

I'll tell you what I told both of the clerks, "I have money that I'd love to give you.  It spends just as well as skinny person money.  Better, in fact because I have a fraction of the choices as to where to spend it."

Both clerks indicated that they hear that sentiment all the time, and are just as frustrated as I am, but indicated that I could always order online.  

Well, sure.  I *could*.  But I'm one of those weird people who likes to TRY CLOTHES ON before I buy them.  I don't like ordering something, even if I can pick it up at your store for free, without laying hands on it.  Catalogs don't let me feel the fabric, see the colors, inspect it for weird pockets, funky hemlines, awkward seams, or any of the other myriad things you can't tell by looking, even if you zoom way in online.

My mother gets to do that every time she walks into any of your stores, anywhere any time.  Me, I'd have to drive to Birmingham, Alabama.  Now, I've been there - it, like many large cities in the southeast, has plenty of fat people to buy your stuff.  But you can't tell me you haven't seen fat people in Atlanta and Nashville.  Southern food tastes too damn good.

And it's not just that I could lose weight and fit into your Misses sizes.  Even at my thinnest, which requires me to be constantly hungry and cranky, I'm going to be a 16 misses.  That's just how the ball bounces, genetically.

I am not ashamed of my body.  I don't apologize for wanting nice clothes that fit and flatter.  I deserve better.  All women deserve to walk into a store, try on something pretty, buy it and walk out.  We deserve to go shopping with our friends, and not have to split up and go to a different store that serves "our kind".

Also, if your sales staff is hearing from frustrated women in stores everyday, who at corporate is listening?  Have that person call me, because I will be happy to advocate on the behalf of women of size.

I know you probably don't particularly care about your plus market.  But you should.  We vote with our dollar.  I just ordered a shirt from the new Loft plus collection, not because I loved it - and I certainly didn't get to try it on first, but I did it so that they know that it's about damn time.

So how, about it, J Jill?  Should I really have to drive to Birmingham to try on one of your tunics?  I mean, Atlanta is one of the top 10 markets in the US, Nashville is top 30.  Is it really OK that you're missing out on that money?  It's not OK that I'm missing out on your clothes.

And so help me, DO NOT write me back to reassure me I can find everything online.  I know that.  I'm fat.  Not stupid.  I can read.

I want to enjoy the shopping experience that thin women get as a birthright.

The butterball is in your court.

So clearly, my jar has a little more silt in it than we realized at first, and apparently there is, to quote Jerry Lee Lewis, "a whole lot of shakin' going on".