“It’s time for a change in outward appearance, be it a character, yourself, or someone in your life. In 500 words or less, write about a makeover of your choice (hair, clothes, makeup, facial hair for the menfolk), fictional or memoir/creative non-fiction. Let’s think about how physical appearance changes can affect the inner landscape.”
My fingers gingerly smoothed out the rayon fabric, absorbing the silky texture, taking in the crisp design of black and white. A random red stripe danced unexpectedly down one side of the dress, begging to be noticed. I hesitated, stared at myself in the mirror, and remembered the pit in my stomach the last time I stood in this dressing room.
Twenty months earlier my mother waited in a large lounge chair while I tried on dozens of dresses for my brother’s wedding. I hid behind layered fabric, pleated skirts and empire waistlines. Nothing fit the way I remembered. Everything felt constricting, pulling across my body tightly, highlighting every ripple and lump. My self-esteem dipped as starkly as the scale rose. I was winded and sweaty, exhausted from the exercise of pulling on and off unwanted clothing. The final dress was beautiful, but still just “good enough”. I remember my mother smiling, trying to avoid eye contact, knowing I was about to burst into tears.
My mom waited patiently again in the large lounge chair. This time we were shopping for my 39th birthday. I shut my eyes, sliding the soft chemise over my head. It looked loose and feminine on the hanger, but in my mind I pictured it resting on my flabby butt, catching on my bulging thighs. I stood in my mental darkness, afraid to open my eyes, thinking of all the glasses of wine, tasty treats and luscious pastas I had passed up over the last year. My legs still ached from the morning’s run.
“Please fit, please fit,” I whispered, reluctantly opening my eyes, avoiding the mirror.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed aside the heavy curtain and stepped into the waiting room.
My mother drew a quick breath, stunned. For a moment I thought she was trying to find something kind to say. Obviously she did not see what I saw. She smiled as she spoke, staring me directly in the eyes, knowing I was about to burst into tears.
“You look amazing!” she said, “I know you probably don’t see what I see, because you see yourself every day, but honey, trust me, this is not the same body I saw when we were shopping for your brother’s wedding.”
“Really?” I croaked, “it really has changed?”
“Changed?” she laughed, “More like transformed!”
I couldn’t help but smile, twirl around like a little girl in front of the mirror, and take a good look. The dress lay effortlessly across my body, engulfing it in casual elegance.
*To date, I have now lost 17 lbs. Only 5 more to go to reach my goal weight.