October 08, 2014

All of the ladies.


When I tried on my wedding dress for the first round of alterations, it was clear I wasn't ready for the big day.

Shoes were bought and brought to ensure the perfect length. Accessories were almost decided. Hair, too. But the most important part of a perfect outfit? The stuff no one sees but it sets everything up to look just right. Ladies, you get what I'm talking about, right? I hadn't done a thing.

Since "hoisting my main sails" was not work for the faint of heart or the weak of underwire, I marched into a small specialty fitting shop a couple weeks later. After many deep breaths and pep talks and chocolate bars, of course.

I wasn't completely new to this. I had a similar experience at a major department store where the "expert fitter" wound a measuring tape around my torso, pulling the tape snug around my jacket, sweatshirt, long-sleeved and tank tops. She eyeballed me a bit. Turned me around. Eyeballed me a little more. Then she announced a number and letter, her best guess.

But at this store the measuring tape I faced was a little more personal. A little too close for comfort. And, ladies, it was in European numbers.

If you've never been sized by a European system, I'll sum it up in one word: traumatic. Numbers shrink but letters soar halfway through the alphabet past double and triple iterations of the same letters, an unfamiliar pattern I never had to recite in kindergarten. It's intriguing and horrifying.

When the older lady in the speciality store delivered her final verdict, I briefly cycled through the Kubler-Ross model. My eyes bulged. My head shook. And the first comment to slip out of my mouth?

"So you mean I've received flotation device status?"

She laughed and chattered on while I blinked away visions of an 80-year-old Lindsay, hunched forward and wearing sweatpants in order to tuck it all in. My shoulders slumped. My back curved. Standing in the fitting room, I could feel my spine succumbing to its eventual fate. Really, though, I just have terrible posture. Nearly always.

Four years and many measuring tapes later, I'd like to go back to 23-year-old Lindsay, traumatized in that changing room. Standing in front of her, looking into her stunned eyes, I'd grasp her hands in mine while whispering,

"Just you freaking wait..."

Because the measuring tapes don't go away. You'll start to feel a little more used to them. Things shift and change. And you'll learn to care less about the numbers and letters and care more about embracing what you've got while you've got it. Because, honey, these things don't always stay the same.

Literally and figuratively.

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