I went shopping yesterday for that most annoying and yet necessary wardrobe staple: “the little black dress.” This is always something of a challenge since I am not entirely hourglass shaped. My hips are just wide enough that I have to go a size higher than would fit my top half, and it causes all kinds of agita in that dressing room, let me tell you. And I don’t need to get into the bleak lighting in those places that throws every little dent and divot into painful prevalence.
So there I am, feeling shitty about myself, feeling shitty about feeling shitty about myself, when I hear a pair of women similarly berating themselves.
“All my FAT bunches up over the waistband.”
“This makes me look DISGUSTING.”
And I couldn’t help myself. I stood in my little stall, half-dressed, and burst into tears.
I’m 42 years old. I have a fair amount of that “wisdom” stuff that invariably comes with age, and a good number of years of being sober. I am fortunate enough to have worked for the same theatre company for almost 20 years now. I have a little theatre company of my own; we’re puttin’ on a show in December. I’m in a band where I get to wear ridiculous wigs and plays some of my favorite music in the whole world. I am pretty well-read, I’m a homeowner, I have a husband who sometimes empties the dishwasher and frequently tells me how beautiful I am. I KNOW I don’t have the body I had 20 years ago. I would not live through my twenties again if you PAID me. I also have the self-awareness to realize that if I lost 10 pounds, I’d need to lose another 15. And it still wouldn’t be enough. I emerge from my yearly physical with lovely and perfect numbers in terms of cholesterol and blood pressure whether I’m 125 pounds or 145 pounds. I am healthy. I just don’t happen to go to extreme lengths anymore to make my body conform to a standard of “beauty” that it cannot possibly (and naturally) maintain.
And yet a dressing room immediately renders all of that null and void. I’m right back to being a chubby 7th grader. Conversely, I see an ex-boyfriend with his 20-something “lady friend” and immediately feel like a FAT AND DECREPIT OLD HAG. Really. There’s no happy medium on days like this. Sometimes I am just not fit to be out in public.
I don’t write this so I’ll get a whole bunch of ego-stroking comments both here and on Facebook. Please don’t tell me I’m “skinny.” In the first place, I’m not, and secondly, “skinny” is not a compliment. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life, it’s something that I’m going to continue to struggle with, and I’m just having it out here so I can go and get some damn breakfast and get on with my day.
That all being said, would it KILL some of these places to have better lighting in the dressing rooms?