Monday, April 22, 2013
So for my birthday on April 1st one of my best friends gave me a gift card and today, after denying for too long the reality that all of my clothes are too big, I decided it was time. My husband often accuses me of addressing things in my blog that are too specific to women. Well since this blog is the random thoughts of a woman, that is just going to happen sometimes. Over the last year, as I have ramped up my training and my running, I have dropped about 20 pounds. I wasn't really trying; it just sort of happened. As that happened I have been noticing that all of my clothes are pretty big. Now mind you I was never the girl that lost 100 pounds and changed my life.
Most of my life I have been a size 6, the last year before I started running I was a size 8, the biggest I have ever been and I was pretty uncomfortable about it. Now I know that sounds like no big deal, but I am only 5'2" so that kind of thing makes a difference. Oh yeah that, and my sister. You know how you look at magazines and see these 5'9" size 0 girls and say they don't exist except in magazines. That is true; except they only exist in magazines and my house growing up. So I always felt like my dad, bless his heart described us. I can still hear him with such pride. "This is my daughter Kim, she is the pretty one, and this is Kathleen, the smart one." Now I am fine with being smart, but tell me at 16 you would not have traded the highest SAT scores to be the pretty one. Anyway on to why this is relevant. So though size 8 sounds like no big deal, to me it was a big deal. Since becoming an adult I have never been anything smaller than a size 6.
As I started running and I went to try on clothes; I have been slowly dipping my pool in the size 4. First it was only buying size small tops and shorts, because that was my size, medium was just too big now. Then came the internal dialogue, well small is what "4-6." So of course it fits. Then I took a step further I bought dresses in size 4. I remember the first time. I was shopping with my friend Becky at Ann Klein and the sales girl, who adopts you the moment you walk in and it is clear you plan to actually purchase something, saw me holding a grey dress. "Honey you need the size 4, the extra small." I was looking around wondering who she was talking too because I was still debating small vs. medium. As I walked to the dressing room she stopped me. "Honey, you need that in an extra small, the size 4." I assured her I did not. Her protestation continued through fitting room door and when I emerged both she and Becky assured me that the dress was far too big and I needed the extra small. If you have ever been self conscious about your body, you will understand that at first you think, "no way am I going to be everyone's entertainment by trying to squeeze into this extra small." As I was pulling the shoulders back up because they had slipped down and I saw the dress hanging on me, I realized maybe they were right. "Okay bring me the extra small." Inside that dressing room as I slipped the dress on you could hear choirs singing, well I could. Was I really an extra small. That was when I embraced the fact that in dresses I was size 4, but not in anything else.
Today I attempted the Holy Grail of true sizing. I have been belting and pulling up my only pair of jeans every casual Friday. Today, alone and under the cover of my lunch hour, I went to try on jeans. I brought 4 pair into the dressing room. Two boot cut size 4 and 6 and two skinny jeans size 4 and 6. I tried on the boot cut 6 first. Me and a small child could have worn those jeans together. Feeling bolstered I tried on the size 4 boot cut. They slid on easily, buttoned easily. I looked at them. "Respectable," I thought. I could walk out a size 4 and that would be done. I always wear boot cut to balance what I always think of as my wide hip and ample posterior. Laying over on the bench were the skinny jeans. I held up the 6 and saw right away they weren't going to fit. I never had a pair or skinny jeans. These were something my sister would wear. They certainly weren't for the "smart one." What do I have to lose. I slipped them on. To my surprise easily, and I looked at myself. Really looked at myself. All that work, all those runs, and here I was in size 4 skinny jeans and I have to say my posterior and hips just looked strong, not big. My Dad has been gone for years but I felt like the "pretty one." I walked out and the attendant looked at me and asked "any of those work out?" I smiled and laid down the other three and said just the size 4 skinny jeans.
My husband will say this is a post for chicks, and maybe it is. I have definitely seen him standing in the mirror scrutinizing his abs, and some might say of the two if us he is the more vain. And I know exactly when we had to go out and get him new pants because he was now a 31" waist. The kind of insecurity and pride we all feel is universal. The dreaded time in the dressing room and the special precipice feeling we get from purchasing jeans may be uniquely feminine. I am grateful to running for all it does for me. Today it helped me cross a new milestone and it turns out, once again, to be mostly a mental one.