Friday, July 6, 2012

Fancy Pants

I am pouting.

I did my chores for the day and although my closet and drawers are all organized and cleaned out.........I'm pretty pissed off.

And so while my husband and daughter enjoy dinner together downstairs, I am holed up in my bedroom pouting.  

Or maybe wallowing.

Or quite possibly stewing.

But definitely pouting.

Before I had a husband, a child, a mortgage and a car payment, I had a closet.  In a lonely apartment full of self-loathing, wine bottles and an empty fridge of course, but a closet full of beautiful clothes.  Most importantly, I had fabulous pants.  One of the plus sides of being ridiculously good-looking ahem....tall, is the fact that pretty much the only place that I could ever find well made and properly fitting dress pants for my build was at Banana Republic.  Well, I had convinced myself of that at least.  But the point remains that I had a lot of gorgeous pants in all sorts of colors, fabrics, lengths and designs....all from BR.  They've been hanging on the top rack in my closet since before I became pregnant with Natalie so.......2009 perhaps?!  But as of today, all ten fifteen pairs are bagged up and in the front closet ready to be donated.

And I'm pouting in my bedroom.

It all began so innocently with me putting away laundry and realizing that I had far too many t-shirts and with school starting in August I will quickly be accumulating MORE school shirts.  So.  I needed to downsize.  But being the OCD personality that I am, I couldn't just stop with my drawers.  Oh no.  The closet had to be attacked and reduced as well.  I started off with just the fitted shirts and work blouses.  Everything with an 'M' on the tag was folded up neatly and stacked on the bathroom counter.  I briefly considered trying them on, you know JUST TO MAKE SURE, but then I remembered the "rule" I tell my pack-rat husband when cleaning out his closet: If you haven't worn it in six months, toss it in the pile.  So tossed they were.  I truly had intentions to stop right there and go no further since pants in general always raise my blood pressure and cause my chest to tighten.  But in an effort to be thorough (and perfect) my OCD soldiered on into the pants section of my closet.

And that's when the tears started rolling in.  And then the frustration with the tears.  

"They're just THINGS.  My clothes (and the size on the tag inside them) do not define me." I screamed (inside my head).  God doesn't want me to value these earthly possessions because the treasure he has waiting for me in heaven is infinitely greater than any pair of pants.  Logically I know this, but staring at those earthly possessions sitting right in front of me makes it a little harder to digest.

Because oh how fabulous I felt in those damn pants.  

Maybe it is because growing up pants shopping was so painful.  I was tall, gangly and just generally awkward.  I wanted to shop at the cool stores but my wonderfully practical mother refused to shell out THAT kind of money for THOSE kinds of clothes that I would just grow out of in six months.  Shopping for jeans always made me feel like a freak.  This was way before the days of GAP's Long and Lean line.  There was no online option.  If you were designers thought you were BIG and those pants just swallowed my skinny adolescent frame right up.  But as I grew up and branched out on my own, I discovered my own personal Mecca - Banana Republic.  Sure the pants were eighty bucks a pop but they fit me in the waist, the butt and all the way down my legs.  I could wear heels and not look like I was ready for a flood.  They made me feel normal.  I could just walk into a store, pick out a pair, jump into the dressing room and swipe my card at the till.  Mine.  I collected quite a few because if I found a style that I liked, I bought them in multiple colors.  Yikes.  

As I told Craig when he walked into the bathroom - my heart AND my wallet hurt when I looked at those stacks of clothes.

In a more poignant way, there were the insecurities of my past life laid out on my bathroom counter.  A time when I valued my handbag far more than my heart.  When I worked tirelessly to perfect my public features so that no one would notice my inner flaws.

In that moment, I closed my eyes and lifted my chin, "I am not that girl anymore.  I am not that girl anymore.  I am not that girl anymore."  Over and over I played it through my head.  If I say enough times maybe I'll believe it one day.

So I bagged up those pants and handed them to Craig, who made the wise decision to more or less keep his mouth shut during this whole ordeal, and he hauled them downstairs and into the closet where they sit now, waiting to be donated to another fabulous long-legged girl who will delight in perfectly tailored pants.

In the meantime I'm sitting in here with these uncomfortable feelings.  Anger at myself for gaining so much weight.  So what if you were pregnant for nine months? Says that little demon in my brain.  Then anger from another side of my brain for getting angry at myself over my weight in the first place.  A sense of loss at my possessions which at one point in time, I placed a lot of my personal value in.  And then the frustration at spending so much money on STUFF that I ultimately got rid of.  Disgust at the fact that I can't seem to make healthier food choices nor can I get my rear end off the couch to do anything active right now.  But then I feel ungrateful because I have been blessed with a strong and healthy body that is pretty impressive on a basketball or volleyball court.

And then my head starts to hurt.

And now as I type this, I sit in the playroom watching a long legged little girl parade around in a tank top complete with food belly underneath and a pair of pink Ruffle Butts across her tushie who has absolutely no concept of what it means to be self-conscious.  She knows that her feet are meant for running across the scratchy grass.  Her legs for catapulting herself off the side of the pool into her daddy's strong arms. Her hands are for digging in the mulch of the flower bed and for catching shiny bubbles.  And her arms, of course, are for hugging her precious "bah-bee" to her chest.

The fact of the matter remains that Natalie doesn't care what size is written in the back of Momma's pants, nor does she care where the pants were bought.  All she needs is a Momma that is healthy and strong, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.  Unfortunately, unlike what I envisioned while growing up, adults aren't perfect and don't have everything figured out.  I am still an evolving work in progress and it is my hope that I can show Natalie a beautifully imperfect, but always well-meaning woman who strives to be a good enough wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher and person.  


Erin said...

I've had this moment twice since having Jackson. My weight-loss plan has well hit an insane plateau and it really makes your self esteem take a dive. Honestly, you're not alone in this feeling. It is SO hard. To accept who you are now, to fight to get back to who you want to be. Who you know you REALLY are. It's tough. Chin up mama. The good news is that Natalie loves you unconditionally. And that closet will one day be filled again with beautiful clothes.

annajanine said...

man, do you have a gift for writing the absolute truth, Laura! it took me two years to decide that i actually wanted to get back into things i wore before pregnancy - and i have two pairs i jeans i hold onto from early college just to remind myself of the old me. i love the new me, too, but its nice to remember that girl from before. two different volumes in the same great series! i'm holding out that volume 3 of my series will find me zipping up those old-school, low-rise abercrombie (pre-cheap & pre-teen) blues just for old times. or maybe volume 3 begins an adventure through another pregnancy?? if only I could be the one to write it! keep truckin'!!