Before, when I was working and 'moming' and home making and being a Perfectionista----before the crash and the dark spiral and the hospital and the rebuilding----before all of that I used to be able to fit into a little red sheath dress.
I have written about this dress before, here and here; how my shape changed; about learning to be comfortable with the change to softer and rounder.
For a time, I went to the gym and gave it a solid effort and when I didn't see results I shrugged and gave in to poptarts and brownies. Instead of facing the muffin in the mirror I continued to buy bigger clothes. To me, it was always about how the clothes felt and not the number on the scale. I don't even own a scale!
I bought some cute dresses that flared at the waist. Tops were loose and pants were stretchy. Trips to the local second hand store inched further and further up the size scale to find things that fit. But the red dress sat in the closet, a constant reminder.
Several times I considered taking it, along with a few other beauties, to a consignment store. I was trying to embrace the new me. With the money I would get, I promised to buy myself something designer that I loved.
For one reason or another it just never happened.
I continued the gym, discovering a love of pilates/tai chi/yoga fusion classes, and days spent with Sista exposed me to diet options I had never known---like quinoa, kale, eggplant, and adzuki beans!
I started to fuel my body better and built muscle and strength. The number onthe scale at the gym refused to budge much and I chalked it up to muscle weighing more than fat but I did notice some changes to my shape which I liked. Things drooped less and that is always a good thing!
Then, the obstacles in my return to work path began to clear. I was on a timeline that would take me back in front of the people who knew the little red dress me. In that split second of realization all my confidence evaporated.
I was back at the big word FAILURE. Not only had I failed to hold my sh*t together like everyone else I had gotten FAT. Wow. Which thing would they pity first?
For a few weeks I was swallowed by the spiral again and I continue to ride that wave as it ebbs and flows each day. FLOW---one of my five for this year---it continues to serve me well.
Over the next few months, I continued to put in practise what I had learned from MAG, from ADTP, from my therapist, doctors and friends, and I slowly came off some pain medications, replacing them with more mindfulness. And with that....the weight vanished.
At least twice over that time, I pulled the red dress from the closet and considered trying it on. Each time I placed it back on the rack and closed the closet. I wasn't sure I wanted to go back to the dress and the me it represented.
Finally, with a return to work date fixed in the calendar I had to face my closet. So used to wearing yoga pants I had no idea where on the size spectrum I would be on my first day. My mom must have asked me five times what I was going to wear day one and my reply was always the same: whatever fits.
This past Monday was my first day. I got my youngest on the bus while wearing my track pants and returned home with 30 minutes to get dressed and get out the door. It was time.
I removed the red dress, slipped it from the hanger and stepped into it. Slowly easing the zipper up the side so as not to pinch any under arm skin....I was curious to see how far it would reach.
Without any effort, it zipped up.
I was in awe.
I turned in the mirror a few times, smoothing the material over my hips, envisioning which boots or shoes would work...and then I took it off and put it back in the closet in the spare room.
Instead, I selected a dark denim skirt that had fit two years ago, and a sweater tank/cardigan set that was newer. A mix of old a new....and I headed out the door.
So my question is, if I gain and then lose 25 pounds, and no one saw it happen, does it still count?
It was an interesting thing to recognize in myself the need for external recognition. Why did I need someone to notice? To them, I would look exactly the same size, if they even noticed these things at all. I often tell my Sista that to me I have no idea what her size is because she is not her size she is Sista......(she thinks I am lying and just being nice...LOL)....but I don't see a body, I see her.
So once again, I have a closet with clothes in it that don't fit, only this time, they are too big. I might need my pain medication again and so the clothes will stay. My focus will be on being the best me I can be. I will continue to go to the gym, eat better and stay mindful. There will be good days and bad days and like 25 pounds, they come and go.
I will continue to be, a Work in Progress....xoxo