We all have certain triggers that bring back unpleasant memories. I grew up in the late 1970s and early ’80s when Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda and aerobic exercise were all the rage. Whether it be sweatpants and a T-shirt, or a matching set with a jacket, the sweat suit design was intended to be comfortable and promote exercise and relaxation. For me it was just the opposite.
I became a C4 quadriplegic in 1983 when I was 16, and although very athletic, I did not willingly wear sweat suits before my injury. Like my friends, I’d wear a T-shirt with sweatpants. Suddenly, I was hospitalized and spending my days and nights in bed and for a long time was unaware of, or not focused on, my clothing. After a month-long initial hospitalization, I spent eight more months at a rehabilitation facility.
As usual for a 16-year-old girl, body image w