Long, long ago, in a department store far, far away, I purchased a dress that made me feel like this:
Granted, the dress wasn’t long and velvety like the one pictured above, but it had an elegance to it and a style that made me feel chic, sophisticated, and glamorous.
Then one day I tried putting on the dress to go out to dinner and I struggled to get it on. I had to cover myself from neck to knees in Spanx before it would stretch across my body. Even then it tugged at the seams. I looked in the mirror and realized that either the dress had shrunk or I had gained enough weight for it to be too small.
I’ll give you three guesses as to which of these two choices is the correct answer. (Hint: The dress did not shrink.)
Looking in the mirror, I felt like this:
Needless to say, the dress came off and got stashed in the back of my closet with all the other clothes representing a time in my life that had passed. I kept it because some part of me believed that one day I would be able to wear it again. One day I would feel chic, sophisticated, and glamorous again.
That was at least 12 years ago.
Six years ago I started a journey to weight loss with my husband.
We had both been told by doctors that we were heading into health issues because of our weight and lack of exercise. For me, it was high cholesterol. I was able to maintain a bit of denial at first because I wasn’t put on medication. For him, it was high cholesterol and pre-diabetes and the doctor wanted him to start medication for both. This report rattled him enough to wake me up too, so we set out to track our points and start walking.
As you can see, Hubby lost considerably more than I did. I lost 20 pounds. He lost 120 pounds. Neither of us takes medication for cholesterol or diabetes today.
I tell you all of that because I want you to have some background about The Dress that Made Me Feel Like a Star. I want you to understand the journey I took and how I got to now.
But First, An Oscars-Inspired Collaboration
As you may recall from our previous collaboration, Diane from Fashion on the 4th Floor and I are milking 2017 for every adventure we can get out of it. We want to broaden our horizons, push our boundaries, step outside our comfort zones. For this collaboration, we decided to use the upcoming Oscars as a theme. It turns out this theme is a doozy for both of us when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones.
As Diane put it in an email to me, this challenge took her “farthest from my most natural, comfortable self as I can get. The only thing worse would have been if I tore off the sleeves or went sleeveless.”
Hey, believe me. I get it. Although Diane looks Red Carpet Ready to me–totally chic, totally poised, totally up for facing a wall of paparazzi snapping photos–for her, she felt out of her element, ready for a longer hemline and her trademark sneakers.
In my humble opinion, Diane would look just as ready for the red carpet in sneakers and a skirt as she does here, but that wasn’t the point of our challenge. She embraced our collaboration with gusto and made it look easier than it actually is. Be sure to visit her blog see what I mean.
I know how she feels because I went to my closet and I pulled out The Dress and I hoped beyond hope that it would feel good when I put it on. I hoped I would feel chic and sophisticated and glamorous.
But I didn’t.
I felt frumpy and blah and boring.
And you may not see what I see, but what matters is how I feel about it. I feel every part of my body that I don’t like. In my mind, there’s an arrow pointing to my midsection, my bum, and my arms.
I can’t think of anything that would make me feel worse about this.
In these photos all I can see is my grandmother’s body.
And then I think, “But what’s wrong with that?” My grandmother was beautiful–I just didn’t know her when she was young.
So then the truth comes out.
My real issue is that I’m judging myself for being older than I was when I first bought this dress. I don’t look like I did back then, even after having lost 20 pounds. I feel disappointment and sadness that the body I had at 30 isn’t the same body I have at 46. So, the Oompa Loompa’s in my mind attempt to translate that as: Being old means you can’t be beautiful, glamorous, chic, etc.
As my grandmother would say, though:
That’s just hogwash.
Hogwash is right. My body isn’t the same as it was at 30, but it’s not ugly. It’s a good body and does everything I need it to at this stage in my life. Maybe the real truth–and not the Oompa Loompa one–is that my style has changed to suit the body I have today. This dress doesn’t work for me now because I’m different all the way around, from inside out. All I really need is a dress that fits my style, something that better expresses who I am today.
So say goodbye to The Dress that Made Me Feel Like a Star because it doesn’t make me feel that way anymore. You won’t see me in it again. I’m going to give it away to someone else who will feel beautiful wearing it. Stay tuned for a look that makes me feel ready for the Red Carpet just the way I am.
I’m keeping the heels, though.
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