I can’t tell you how many times I have started and restarted this post. I thought maybe I would write it funny. Then I thought maybe I should write it serious. Then I worried about offending people. Then I talked to my sister who said “Elle, you’ve spent two entire posts this week basically apologizing for who you are and how you write. You need to stop doing that and just start writing again.” And I realized she was right. So I scrapped everything I had… and I started this post over again.
So here’s the deal — I’m at an interesting place in this journey, right?
I’m close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel and excited enough to want to run towards it as hard and fast as I can. And that’s not a bad thing. As I creep up on the lowest numbers I’ve seen on the scale in nearly 10 years, I love to pull out some of my smaller “someday” clothes and try them on. The little black dress is certainly no exception. As a 26-year old who simply adores living in the city, I find myself imagining more and more often the thrill of dressing up and heading out with my girlfriends to a wine bar for an evening of class, pizzazz, good cheese and great adventure. In my previous overweight life, I always had an excuse ready to avoid these types of events because I hated knowing I was the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Too many times, I was the girl who scooted off to the corner and stared down at the floor while guys who looked like they’d gone through an entire of box of Crest White Strips in one afternoon shamelessly flirted and flashed their nuclear pearly whites at my friends.
But not anymore. Finally, finally, finally, I’m almost ready to put on that dress (which reminds my of something Audrey Hepburn would have worn in the movie “Sabrina”) and join in on the fun.
I say almost for a reason. It’s not because I “don’t love myself.” It’s not because I’m incapable of enjoying the progress I’ve made so far, and it’s not because I’m suffering from a crippling case of low self-esteem.
It is because I don’t want to have to call the Fire Department at the end of the night to bring a Jaws-Of-Life Hydraulic Power Unit to my apartment to extricate me from my dress. Simply put, the thing is still just too small.
Sure, it looks ok in that picture, but can I tell you a secret?
I had to snap that picture three times before I got a shot that didn’t show my panty line. I also had to squish a lot of things in and squish a lot of things down to get that dress zipped up. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to get the silly thing on… but it doesn’t even begin to compare to how overjoyed I was to get the thing off! I could barely breathe. I take that back. I don’t think I did breathe. I think I literally held my breath for the entire 2 minutes I was wearing it.
So that whole “mental thing?” Well, losing weight is a really tricky beast. Your body is changing in a very public way, so people are going to offer you their opinions on it whether you like it or not; and, if you don’t completely agree with everything they have to say, they will more often than not chalk it up to a personality flaw on your part. It doesn’t seem to matter that this is your weight-loss being discussed. They will always be the most supreme experts on how you should be doing it and how you should see yourself.
The fact is, I look better than I did, but I still don’t look great. (This is the “embracing reality” part.) I am proud of the changes I’ve made and of my new less-lumpy, more-curvy figure. It’s wonderful to look in the mirror and feel like an actual human being instead of a misshapen, amorphous blob. But, when I wear that dress out in public for the first time, I want to be 155 pounds. When I was a size 18, I never would have been comfortable in 14s. It would have been way too tight! Likewise, as a current size 12, it makes no sense for me to stuff myself into a size 10. Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that we should!
Every single one of you out there is on his or her own unique mission to find the sweet spot (weight-wise, not dessert-wise). Enjoy the positive feedback (like you all left me last Thursday!), but don’t let it derail you by tricking you into thinking that what you’ve done so far is “good enough.” You set a goal, didn’t you? Then for Heaven’s sakes, run towards that finish line with everything you’ve got!
In that same vein, take the negative feedback with a grain of salt. People tend to view your story through a lens clouded by the ghosts of their own pasts.
And finally, take time to sift through your own thoughts. I realized as I was struggling to write this post that part of my problem was I felt like I needed to be really emotional and angsty about the whole thing. But I just… wasn’t.
I’m completely ok with not wearing that dress right now. Why? Because that’s a victory for another day. My victory for right now is that for the first time in years, I can leave the house in a hat and a sweatshirt and feel like a normal, attractive girl.
This is more than enough happy for today.
And that makes it perfectly fine for the Little Black Dress to wait for “someday.”