Sacrifice, Restoration and Awkward Timing

I entered my marriage with a fantastic metabolism. I could eat anything in any amount and stayed right around 120-125lbs. By my 3rd pregnancy, my metabolism was giving up. After my 4th pregnancy, I’d gone from a size 6 to a size 12 and was around 175lbs.

I felt a little guilty for caring about something shallow and petty – my appearance – but it hurt to have lost yet another thing I liked about myself, in service to marriage and motherhood and submitting to God’s Will for my life. I’d already had to sacrifice independence, art, education, freedom of movement, an active social life, sleep, etc. How much more would I have to lose?

Knowing it was unlikely I had the discipline or motivation to get fit, I said farewell to my smaller clothes and accepted my new normal. With the right tank top and pair of jeans I still looked okay, at least when clothed. My husband – who’d put on even more weight than I had over the years – would assure me he still found me attractive, extra weight, stretch marks and all.

The assurances weren’t a balm. After all, at that point I’d long harbored a secret fear that what he valued most about me was having sex with me. I cared about what I saw in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror.

When 2019 rolled around, I was getting serious about my mental health journey. I started walking frequently and had been eating less. I’m not a stress eater – when I get stressed, I’m more likely to have to make sure I’m eating than to overeat. Plus, my husband had been handling cooking for supper for a few years, now, and made a lot of dishes I didn’t particularly care for. I would eat what was on my plate for the sake of being polite but rarely had appetite or inclination for second helpings.

I started losing weight.

My husband’s insecurities were finally being revealed and he expressed suspicion that I wanted out of the relationship and was trying to get fit for dating other people once I’d moved on from him. At the time, I was confused that he’d think that and simply assured him that was definitely not the case (I was, after all, still trying to see if there would be a way to salvage the relationship).

I was trying to save my mind and my life. Weight loss was a completely unexpected side effect.

I went from a size 12 to a size 10 before our move to Indiana, and picked up a few pairs of jeans from Goodwill. After we moved, I found that I’d continued losing weight and gone to a size 8, but at that point I was still hoping for an office job in the future and so when I shopped at Goodwill, I generally skipped the jeans and looked for slacks, blouses and dresses.

The last time I went to Goodwill with Indy M was March 7th, the first Saturday of the month when everything was half price. I’d fully intended to check out the jeans section. I’d dropped off my application to my current place of employment just that Thursday and knew, if I got hired, that I’d be wearing casual clothing rather than business casual. And then I completely forgot to check the jeans section. No big deal, if I got hired I’d just hit Goodwill again and see what I could find.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition – er, Spanish flu – er, COVID-19 pandemic. Goodwill shut down. I was dropping down past size 8 heading for size 6 and had exactly one pair of jeans that fit. After wearing jeans that were way too loose for a couple of weeks, I asked my boss if I’d be allowed to wear shorts over leggings and received permission to do so, provided the shorts weren’t too short.

Then I reviewed my current leggings. 3 are far too large, 1 is too shabby, 1 has a large grease stain, and the last 2 have skulls on them which seems dreadfully inappropriate right now.

Fuck me.

I posted about it on Facebook, laughingly groaning over how it was going to look when I was clothes shopping at Target or Walmart during a pandemic. Colorado A1 messaged me to let me know she had a few pairs of pants she was getting rid of that might work. It does sound like we’re close in size so she’s going to ship those to me in case they fit. (I know multiple As in CO so I’m gonna have to add to my system here – this is the A that was helping me learn how to craft a cover letter back in January/February.)

It was a sweet and timely reminder that people in my life do care about me – enough to go to the expense and inconvenience of shipping me clothing, when they could easily have ignored the need and I’d have been none-the-wiser.

Speaking of clothing, when this pandemic is under control and we’re allowed to leave our houses for whatever again, I’m going to be trotting out my sexy dresses and wearing them when I putz around doing things like taking pictures of tree stump gravestones. I’m sad I won’t have someone to wear them for, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to have them sitting in my closet unworn.

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