Losing Control, Sweatpants, Pros and Cons

Karl Lagerfeld famously said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.” This is my story of losing control, admitting defeat and sweatpants. It is also a story of regaining control, finding the pros amongst all the cons and, ultimately, triumph (of sorts)…

I recently returned to London from a fabulous trip to Paris when a friend and I decided to ride our bikes from London to Cambridge – just under 100km. The ride was going well despite a “strong” headwind (we used other words to describe it at the time) and we were making excellent time.

When we were just outside of Cambridge, we came across an obstruction on the road, forcing my cycling companion to brake suddenly. I had been enjoying the scenery behind him and so cycled straight into the back of his bike, the impact flinging me from my own bike. As I was flying forward, my hands stretched out in front of me to stop the fall, the road rapidly approaching me, a thought flashed through my mind: “don’t put your hands out!” Unfortunately my reaction time was not quick enough.

As luck would have it (kind of), that obstruction on the road was an ambulance. I was able to jump in the front seat and hitch a ride to A&E.

To cut a long story short, I have broken bones in both wrists and have to keep them in splints for the next few weeks.

When I eventually got home from A&E (after having to ask a random passerby on my street to unlock the particularly tricky lock to my house with my keys), it gradually dawned on me that it would be extremely challenging, if not impossible, to do the day to day tasks that I generally take for granted.  Getting money out of my purse to pay for a bottle of wine. Fishing my phone out of the depths of my handbag to call British Airways to cancel my trip to Milan for fashion week. Opening the bottle of wine to drown my sorrows. These things are not easily done, and my sorrows had to stay on dry land.

So yes, it was all quite overwhelming and tears of self-pity were shed the day after the collision. One quick observation: in the first day, when you haven’t yet snapped out of your wallowing, it doesn’t make you feel better when people say “it could have been worse.” I can’t put makeup on without looking like an alcoholic lady clown – how could it be worse?

So on the second day, I did realise I have to snap out of it or I’d really start to get on my own nerves. Things happen for reasons, right? There has to be a silver lining, right? So here is my pros and cons list regarding this whole situation, because yes there are wonderful, shiny, silver linings, but I’m not going to pretend there aren’t a few grey clouds hanging around too.

con: i look like a hobo

I can’t wash myself or brush my hair. I look like a hobo. Somehow this has made me seem more “approachable” to actual hobos. I have never been approached this often by weirdos in the street, each of them wanting to engage me in some incoherent conversation about my trainers (really).

pro: blow drys

If I ever needed an excuse to get a regular blow dry at the hairdressers, this it it. When it comes to my hair, I have never looked more fabulous on a consistent basis, thanks to regular visits to my hairdresser, the darling Giuseppe.

con: sweatpants

Back to Karl’s quote, yes, something happened and I have had to admit (temporary) defeat. Sweatpants are all I can wear, as I can’t deal with buttons and zips right now.

pro: sweatpants!

While I am yet to purchase the latest in this season’s athleisure/street style sweatpants, à la Veronica Heilbrunner, its just a matter of time. I have managed to find ways to style my sweatpants that I never thought possible. Stayed tuned for my guide to styling sweatpants here on Second Sister as soon as I regain use of both hands.

con: social media is not my friend

Instagram has not been the happy sanctuary and source of sartorial inspiration that it usually is for me. Each post from Milan Fashion Week, every #mfw, every street style photo from the Duomo is like a dagger in my heart. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!

To divert myself from my FOMO and from the shenangians at Milan Fashion Week, I then took to some light cyber-stalking of exes on various social media platforms, which I quickly cut short (he’s now hanging out with high profile TV presenters, what the hell?). Its a slippery slope into madness from there, my friends. You’ll be stopping other crazies in the street to talk at them about their trainers in no time. Just don’t do it.

Pro: my friends and family are amazing

As a very independent person, it is hard for me to ask for help. But as soon as my friends here and family in Australia heard of my accident, I was overwhelmed by their kindness, concern and offers of help. From my Mum giving me the best ever practical tips from her wisdom and years as a nurse, to my two London-based guardian angels coming over to cook for me, take out my rubbish and help with laundry, I realised I am one lucky girl to have such wonderful, generous and caring people in my life.

So I have now snapped out of my wallowing and am incredibly grateful that my injuries are no worse than they are. Each day I develop a new life-hack to help deal with the day to day (e.g. the guy in the wine shop will open the bottle for you if you ask nicely). The most practical piece of advice I can give you however is that, if you are ever flung from your bicycle, don’t put your hands out in front of you. Hunch and roll, people, hunch and roll (oh, and wear a helmet).

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