This morning in an attempt to dress myself, I pulled my favorite green sweater from the dryer ... it was a shrunken mess. My initial feelings of thankfulness to my husband for throwing in a load of laundry turned to anger. My anger will pass in a few hours (I really do have an awesome husband) but I'm actually crying over this. You see, it was more than just a green sweater ...
I am stuck with a post-partum body that I hate and have yet to accept. By post-partum ... I mean 4 years! When I became pregnant with our son, I was 5 foot 3 inches and weighed 104 lbs. I just came off a peak-season dancing in multiple parades at Disney ... I was fit and trim. I easily maintained a weight of 99-106 for the last 5 years with little effort ... it was easy to do when you dance full time and sweat excessively during "character sets". Dancing as a high-kicking Candy Cane Maid does wonders for your legs! Despite dancing through my first 6-months of pregnancy and throwing up after parades from morning sickness ... I still managed to gain 78 official (81 unofficial) lbs by the time I gave birth. My OB assured me it what my body needed to do.
Long story short, 16-months post-partum I had managed to get down to 115 and was starting to feel comfortable with my body again ... then I endured a series of health issues that to this day have kept me out of the gym, out of the dance studio, and off the running track. We all know it takes diet and exercise to lose and manage weight ... for the last 2+ years, I've simply been down to "diet" and well ... let's not start on that.
So here I am, 4+ years post-partum and though family and friends say ... "you still look good" ... I still don't feel like "me".
So what about this green sweater?
I can probably count on one hand the number of days in my life that I have felt beautiful ... especially post-partum. In fact, I will never forget the evening 17 years ago on the eve of my high-school graduation when a family friend welcomed my family to the wedding reception of her son. There I was with my mousy-brown hair and acne covered face standing next to my blue eyed, blonde haired, fair skinned older sister. The mother of the groom looked at my sister and said, "You are so beautiful!" and then turned to me and said, "Don't you wish you looked like your sister?". I think the look of horror on my mothers face was worse than the look on mine. The only other thing I remember about that evening was my mom promptly taking me home ... because she knew the happy exterior I always showed was simply a cover for a very self-conscience little girl.
Back to that green sweater ....
I rarely shop for myself because I hate what I see looking back at me in the dressing room mirror. I don't know how to dress this body yet. A few months ago I dared try on an outfit ... just a little green sweater that I wear over a simple white shirt. Who new that something so simple (and at only 14 euro) would make me feel pretty ... even if it's only on the day I wear it. In that sweater, I felt a little bit like "me" again and carried a hope that one day I would find beauty in my body, whether it's at 106 lbs and trim or 120 with a little extra padding.
So, my little green sweater ... I bid you a fond farewell and I thank you for giving me a few moments of beauty.