Last Sunday, I found myself waiting in line for 15 minutes in order to torture myself.
J.C. Penney was having a sale, and while my husband and I went there to find a pair of black slacks for him to wear to a funeral this upcoming Saturday, I thought that I should find something for myself. I won’t be at that funeral, but will be somewhere else, and I need to look my best. More on that, later.
So I finally got into the dressing room with my armload of size 14 dresses and quickly stripped off my clothes, knowing that the line of women outside of my stall were all tapping their feet, waiting. And then I saw myself in the mirror.
I hate trying clothing on. You know, it’s a real thing with me. I feel like it’s been that way forever. You don’t know how long that I have excused myself for just picking up clothing off of the rack and buying it on a hunch that it fits. The truth is that it hasn’t always been that way. I didn’t mind trying on clothing so much when I was a size 6 or a size 8. Even when I was a size 10, I’d take my pile of clothing into the H&M dressing room and see what worked. It’s when I hit size 12 that I started guessing.
I’ve been in denial of a lot of things, and for a long time. It’s not so horrible to think that you look better than you actually do. Actually, I’d say it’s a good thing. Confidence is my most treasured possession. When I’m feeling less than confident, it not only depresses me in a profoundly deep way, but I start to call all of my actions into question. It wasn’t a lack of confidence that I felt in front of that J.C. Penney mirror. It was just the dawning of realization and it startled me.
When I started my weight loss journey about six weeks ago, I was a between a size 16 and a size 18. I didn’t think that I was, but that’s the truth. I ignored the fact that I couldn’t fit into most of my size 14 pants at all. I ignored the feeling of my stretchy size 14s barely buttoning, cutting lines into my skin. I feared that if I bought clothing in a larger size that I’d somehow make the weight gain more “real” than it already was. Somehow, I thought that if I bought larger pants that I’d be giving up and accepting that weight as being permanent.
Back to the dressing room. I was in that stall because I am going to a screenwriting panel held by the Writer’s Guild Foundation this Saturday and have entered myself into a pitch contest. I submitted a one sentence description of my script via email. If I’m one of the 10 writers chosen, they’ll call my name on Saturday and I’ll get 3 minutes to try and sell the panel of important people on my story. Did I mention that I’ll be doing this in front of 400+ people?
So, in the stall I was thinking about how they (and the room, to a lesser degree) would perceive me pitching my horror script in a cute Easter dress. I narrowed my eyes and focused in on the cellulite dimpling up and down my thighs. What is with the lighting and mirrors in J.C. Penney dressing rooms!? Are they trying to convince us to not purchase their clothing? I noticed that my belly seemed a tad bloated (must’ve been the Roy Choi kogi tacos and the “Breaking Bad” margaritas the night before). I wished to myself that I could drop another 10 pounds instantly and fit into that modern and very Hollywood Banana Republic size 12 dress I had. With each new dress that I tried on, I frowned in solemn discomfort at their cuteness. More so, I frowned that none of the dresses had a ton of room in them, even though they were all size 14s.
After all of the sweating and frowning in the dressing room, I gave up on all of the dresses. I reminded myself that I was a whole size to two sizes larger only a month ago, and I went back to the business clothing area and picked up a sassy white Worthington blazer to wear in a size 14. I’m going to do the old black and white Los Angeles business casual look with my skinny black jeggings I bought from the Jewish Women’s Council Thrift Store and an old black flowy tank top I bought from Forever 21. It probably fits again, finally. Where is it, anyway?