I went shopping earlier this week. My favorite little store had a sale that was ending soon, and I didn't want to miss out. I knew I should look and see if they had some basics I need. But I was still feeling unsure. Insecure about my looks, my body, my weight loss. Is this the body I want to have? The me I want to be? I want to buy clothes for a trip my husband and I will be taking in the fall. I want to think that I will be at my goal weight (3.5 lbs lighter than I am now) by then, and I will think of myself as thin and beautiful. Well, life doesn't work that way, but that is both good and bad, something I will come to realize by the end of my shopping trip.
At first, I try not to stand in my underwear in front of the mirror. I tell the saleslady, with whom I have worked so many times before, that it is a matter of modesty, and realize how silly I sound. In reality, I am uncomfortable with seeing my body, essentially unclothed (it is summer, and I am wearing nothing but a pair of underwear and a triangle bra), reflected in so many mirrors. Suddenly, all I can see are flaws: the protruding tummy (it matter little how many sit-ups I do, it's always there), the beefy upper arms, the ample thighs and hips (my husband loves to run his hands over my small waist and down my hips and thighs -- all I can feel is how much darn fat my hips and thighs accumulate). It seems no matter how much weight I lose, the fat accumulates in the same troublesome spots. I feel the confidence drain from me. I want, now, desperately, to pull my jeans, tank top, and jacket back on and run out of the store. I don't belong there, I am a fat slob.
The saleslady comes in with clothes for me to try on. I am trying to cover my upper arms with one hand and my stomach with another. I want somehow, to be a tall, willowy model type. Why am I so short, so chubby? Nothing fits me as I try it on. Then, suddenly . . . A beautiful blue tank top that will work perfectly in my wardrobe . . . fits. I breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, it's just a tank top. But it's a start. Then, a mock turtleneck. Oh, so cozy. Perfect for the fall. Oh, did I mention the size? It's a small! Moving on to other things. Hmm . . . I like a leather jacket. But it's a size 0. No way. Moving on. Then they bring out some leggings. I mean, they are just leggings. I figure I am a small. But I am actually a petite! Listen, I am well aware of vanity sizing, but still. I will take my victories where I find them. Finally, the most beautiful suit. The jacket (open cut) is a size 0. The skirt I initially tried on in a size 4, but it was huge. We finally settled on a size 2. It still required a bit of tailoring (to turn the A-line into a pencil, more flattering to my current figure).
And suddenly I realized, I don't have a tall, willowy figure. But I can still look good in clothes. And I can still be proud of my weight loss. Even if I am not losing five pounds a week. Even if I have beefy upper arms and a flabby stomach. Because each week, I am losing weight, and making strides towards my goal. And I don't have to be a tall, willowy creature to be a success.