H&M x Balmain Launch: What I Experienced

First off: I never intended to pick up the collection’s most coveted items — the beaded blazer and embroidered dress. ¬†While they are both beautiful, I found them more reminiscent of Balmain in 2012 than 2016. ¬†No shade to anyone who picked them up or admired them, but I think H&M and Balmain chose to re-create some pre-existing designs rather than push new ideas, given that people have already been watching celebrities wear nearly identical pieces for years. ¬†Also the target audience of H&M is¬†not as risk-taking as your average runway show attendees, and¬†familiar silhouettes and design concepts are safer.

Doors opened at 8 a.m.  Around 7:30, having just returned from my morning trip to the gym, I headed down to the 86th Street H&M in Manhattan.  The line stretched down the block towards 3rd avenue, but did not reach the next street corner when I arrived at 7:45.  No doubt the people first in line had been there all night.

By 8:30, I had been given a wristband that would allow me to enter at 9:45.  The wristband guaranteed me a spot in line so I did not have to stand around any longer.  I headed up Lexington to Fika Cafe, enjoyed an almond milk latte and a croissant, and casually walked back around 9:30.

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Coping Mechanisms Gone Wrong

Parks and Recreation: Season 2, Episode 23. “Freddie Spaghetti”

Coping with Flashbacks

Flashbacks related to trauma are evoked when sensory or emotional experiences in the present cause a past traumatic event to be evoked. ¬†When this traumatic event is evoked it can be re-experienced in¬†both emotions and senses. ¬†Emotional flashbacks cause emotional responses appropriate to past trauma to be brought up in response present events. ¬†Responses to trauma include the classic “fight-or-flight” and also “freeze” and “fawn” comprising what people call the “Four F” Responses. ¬†While fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses are normal in the context of trauma, when evoked in a present moment by an emotional flashback can appear very out of proportion in contrast to current events.

When confronted with a flashback, it sometimes possible to experience the entire flashback without realizing the cause of the emotions and the response.  Not realizing the cause of the emotional response means the emotions get incorrectly attributed to events in the current moment.  Long-term lack of recognition of flashback symptoms means repressed emotions and sometimes memories.  It also means habitual mis-alignment of past emotions and present experiences and consistently inappropriate emotions and actions can mimic traits of Personality Disorder as well as other disorders.

The healthiest course of action if you find yourself in a flashback is to work to identify the feelings coming from the flashback and the memories associated with them.  Identifying the true source of the emotions in an emotional flashback allows for healthy grief of the safety and happiness we were denied in childhood.  Overwhelming reactions to past trauma can be an opportunity for learning and healing, but if the reactions go unattributed to their original past source and instead are incorrectly accepted as appropriate in the present, can become a damaging pattern.

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Sweater Weather

First Accomplishment of 2014

For the past two months, I’ve been knitting my first sweater. ¬†I can’t believe I finished it! ¬†It’s the first thing I’ve knit that’s not a flat rectangle. ¬†Knitting a garment like a sweater is terrifying. ¬†Because you’re creating the fabric as you sew the garment, you don’t actually know that it’s going to fit until the very last moment. ¬†And if it doesn’t, you have to knit any number of pieces all over again. ¬†So I was very nervous to tie off the ends and try it on!

The original pattern came from a Rowan knitting book, the yarn from Valley Yarns.  The sweater was longer and the back was saggy, so I adjusted it to my liking.  I also lengthened the sleeves to match my lanky arms better and, very thankfully, they fit.  Knitting allows me a healthy release for my unhealthy perfectionism, so I think I ended up taking out each piece three times each.

Now that it’s finally done, I’m not sure what I’ll knit next. ¬†It’s between a cat hoodie from scrap yarn, or investing in some nice wool for a deer patterned set of socks, gloves, and a hat (just in time for winter to be over). ¬†For now, enjoy the pictures of my frizzy fishtail braids and the finished sweater.

Full sweater

Shameless selfies.



Left: pattern detail.
Right: neckband, shoulder, hem.