There have been a couple of issues that have come up for me recently that have been a bit, well, frustrating. Let me backtrack just a tiny bit by saying that I have been doing a good job of working out ever since I went on vacation back on July 4. I’m proud and happy and truthfully a little surprised about that. I’ve been doing water workouts and walking both outdoors and on my treadmill and generally being more active. Yay me! And I feel good about it. Not just in my head good, but in my body too. I’m also sleeping better as a result. Of course my reduced intake of caffeine might have something to do with that too, but either way the result is positive.
So here are a few things that have come up recently. First, the seatbelt on the plane. I know, I told you all that when I went on vacation it wasn’t as bad as I recalled, and that was true. However, last weekend I went on a quick trip on a different airline and OMG that seatbelt just BARELY fit. I willed it to buckle, and to my great relief, it did. Once it was on it felt fine, but getting that sucker closed was not easy. C’mon! I’m working out. I’ve dropped a few pounds. Why must it still be so tight?! I know that’s just me being impatient, and really I should be immensely grateful that it did buckle. After all, if I hadn’t lost those couple of pounds, it wouldn’t have, right?
Next, shopping. Clothes shopping in specific. I’m one of those people whose life is tied up in the whole school year calendar thing. For me, the end of summer is the new year, and that’s when I generally look to freshen up my wardrobe with a couple of pieces. It has been an annual tradition for my mom and I to go hit the mall when I visit her on summer vacation, and she generously will purchase a few items for me. Yes, I know I’m spoiled. The issue here is that my mom and I are completely different is every aspect you could ever imagine. I know people say this, but really, in this case it’s true. First of all, being an adoptee we share no DNA, so our physical attributes are nothing alike. She’s tiny. Seriously. Always has been. I think I outgrew her by the time I was ten. She’s also very outspoken (that is the tactful term I will use out of respect) and her taste and mine don’t exactly match. This makes shopping together something of a challenge. Ok, that’s too much sugar coating. It makes shopping together hell.
Plus size shopping isn’t really a fun experience to begin with. First of all, you have to wander to the back corner of the department store to find the tiny selection of items in your size. On your way there, you are struck by the incredible array of fashions available to women who are in the size 4 to 12 range. In the store where I generally have the most success, the ratio of offerings is about 8 to 1. Once you arrive in the Siberia of the shopping world, you promptly ignore at least half of the items, because they are designed with the tastes of the Golden Girls in mind. As you come across the items that are meant for those who are not yet in assisted living, you are stunned by the prices. Eventually, you discover 3 or 4 items that might be worth trying on, and you cross your fingers that maybe they are included in the current sale.
As if this whole scenario wasn’t disheartening enough, I had to do this with the little spitfire who is my mom by my side. She felt it necessary to remind me several times that the prices were outrageous, but she conceded that we didn’t have many options. I had already struck out at two plus size only stores that I had hit on recon missions solo. I finally found a few items to try and headed off to the fitting room. That’s where things really went bad. First, the chair was missing. Mom needed a chair. She was able to find a sales associate who managed to bring her one (score one for the associate!), then she settled in with a sour look on her face. I couldn’t blame her. I wasn’t really enjoying the hip hop concert that the two women who were already in there were sharing with everyone either. Seriously? Turn it off, ladies, you’re in public. While I held my breath waiting for mom to ask them to turn it off (she didn’t) I contorted into two or three outfits, each one worse than the one before. Finally I found a dress that I thought was cute. I opened the door to show my mom, and she looked at me with the same look that a person makes when they realize they have just stepped in fresh dog poop. Ouch.
2. look good
3. appeal to my picky mother
4. be reasonably priced.
I gave up. I quit. I was near tears and aching with the realization that no matter what I put on, it wasn’t going to get a positive response from my mom because it wasn’t the clothes that she was repulsed by, it was me. That was the most painful realization of all. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. My mother used to point out fat people to me and ask, “How much do you suppose she weighs? She must be at least 300 pounds!” It just didn’t occur that she had zero empathy for me. How could I have been this foolish, to allow myself this humiliation? I can afford my own clothes. I don’t need this charade. This annual shopping trip is an unnecessary charity event which calls for me to be humiliated and shamed. It’s absurd, and it’s over. I will shop with my dear plus sized friend, with whom I can laugh about looking like an Oompa Loompa or discuss the merits of longer versus shorter hemlines. Or I can shop on my own, and decide for myself whether I feel attractive and put together. And yes, the prices are often high, but feeling good about myself is worth more than the price of a dress.