OK, I should say right off that this is a chick thing. Specifically, the people who will relate are women who are probably at least 35 and/or have had children. Guys, you won’t get it because you’re used to thinking, “Hey, I need some new shorts”; running to Target (or wherever); holding up shorts until you find ones that appear to be big enough — maybe or maybe not trying them on; and then buying them, with no worries about the size.
That’s not a Middle America, woman-of-a-certain-age reality. My reality is that I weigh a lot more than I did in college, but my mental image of myself is still that earlier size. I’m either two or three sizes bigger (depending on the clothing item) than before I bore two children, but the new numbers are so horrifying to a female accustomed to our mass media version of model-thin perfection that I haven’t been able to bear to go to a store and try on clothes that would actually fit well. Instead, over the last year or so, the couple of times I’ve tried on clothes I’ve gone home angry and depressed because I haven’t been able to wear the sizes I thought I should fit into.
In less than two weeks we leave for spring break in Florida, and the fact is that I have very few warm-weather clothes left in my drawers or closet that I can wear. So, I had to go shopping, and I had to find wearable items. But when my daughter and I headed to Target this evening, I went with a new attitude: I pulled clothes off the racks that were the sizes I thought would fit, rather than the sizes I thought should fit. I made myself ignore the numbers and the expanses of fabric, and instead focus on style and comfort.
And lo and behold, I found a stack of new spring and summer clothes that make me happy. They’re comfortable. They’re flattering. And they’re bigger than I used to wear — but that’s OK.