I was dressing for a dinner last week, and as I buttoned the waste-band of my dress pants, I had to suck in my stomach. These were my favorite pair…you know, the pair that always looks just right. The pair that can be worn with jackets, or in casual settings, and you always felt ok in them. I pulled the pants tighter, and I finally was able to secure them. Suck it in, pull a little tighter, and suck it in some more. The tension against the fabric and bruising of my ego almost let loose at the same time.
“When did this happen?” Like someone covertly came in the middle of the night and added 20 pounds to my body. So, the question was more about denial than about reason. I turned 50 this year. I have been exercising less (because it hurts). I wondered if my pants were going to make it through the evening. They just needed to make it one more time. Then, I would take them to a seamstress and have the waste line let out. When did I get old?
The pants didn’t make it. About an hour before the dinner…”snap”! The buckle let loose and the only thing holding them up was my zipper. I sat down (because I could now) and gave myself a talking to. “How silly, you could have picked out a pair of your adjustable pants. The stretchiness on the side will fit you at a range of sizes, and they would have been comfortable. But no! Your vanity required the pants that are two sizes too small. ” I see myself as something I am not sometimes. I am not the same as I was 10 years ago, physically, or spiritually, and the mind-set of thinking I was the same can steal one’s joy. I decided to buy new pants.
“36-32,” I told myself as I walked into the store. That has been my size for a number of years. I pulled some pants of that size off the shelf, and walked into the dressing room. Nope! I couldn’t get them snapped, and the hem was bunched up on the top of my feet. Oh good, I am not only getting heavier, I am shrinking. Then I remembered that the last time I bought pants, I was wearing boots all the time. That is why I wore longer pants. I threw them into the return basket with an attitude lamenting the fact that boots were out of style, and went hunting again. Back out to the store floor. Frustrated, I pulled two pairs of 38-31 pants and felt paranoid that everyone was seeing my crisis. I walked back into the dressing rooms for a second time. This was not how I liked to shop. As I snapped the pants, and they snapped pretty easily, I looked at the hem. They seated as a normal pair should. I let out a big sigh. My life had changed in that moment.
I felt better through the dinner. I had forgotten that one could eat, and not feel like your waste-line is being strangled afterward. I am sure that we all go through this. I fought glasses for reading, and I just fought buying clothes that fit me, and I will probably fight other aging cross roads. The imperfection of our humanity leads to aging & breakage. Whether it’s a change in pants size, or hearing aids, or orthopedic inserts, I am convinced that one needs to let go of non-change, and embrace change. I didn’t realize that 38 pants would be something better, until I put them on…one leg at a time.
I have learned that if one numbs their vulnerability and imperfections, they also numb their joy and happiness, because one cannot just numb one emotional response without numbing them all. (Brene Brown) One should find help when they need help, and make changes when changes should be made. That is living and moving forward, and vanity becomes over rated.
My old dress pants? They served me well, and I chose to put them out to pasture so they wouldn’t have to work so hard ever again.