Tonight I think I officially came to the conclusion that I cannot wear a dress. Which is really sad because I LOVE dresses. I love looking at them and I love it when people wear them and look cute in them, and I would like a whole closet full of dresses, please.
Except I don't look good in them. Besides being plus-size, I am miserably short and seem to have gained all my weight in my mid-section, making me look like the only non-pregnant pregnant woman out there. But seriously - all this celebrity gossip about who might be sporting a "baby bump?" Those tiny little protruding tummies are nothing but lunch. A serious baby belly looks like....well, mine. I used to lament my hips and thighs (and it didn't help that my sister called me "horse hips" and "thunder thighs") but I prided myself on my little waist and I was always well-endowed. So, while I had a little more "curve" in my curvy body than I would have liked, I looked just fine.
I distinctly remember getting "the pooch." Shortly before I was pregnant with my first child, I developed what would now be called a "baby bump" and I was more than thrilled when, a few months later, it really WAS a baby bump and I could breathe a sigh of relief and stop worrying about that annoying pooch that appeared suddenly. Now, I had an excuse! And for nine months (and 50 lbs of weight gain) I pushed that little worry to the back of my mind. I wasn't even all that concerned about getting back to my "pre-baby" weight after the birth, because I was too busy marveling over my newborn. Almost a year and a half later, I was pregnant again, having only dropped about 15 of the 50 lbs I gained. No biggie - I was pregnant again! Who would know? That time, I gained 35 lbs. And afterwards (ok a couple of years later), I dropped all but 15 lbs of THAT "baby weight." My third pregnancy I gained 38 lbs and after my son was born, I went on Weight Watchers and lost all of my baby weight and more. I was down to 130 lbs, which was the skinniest I'd been in ages! (Side note: at 5' 2" and 130 lbs I would still be considered overweight by BMI standards). I felt great and pranced around in size 8 jeans. Briefly. It wasn't long until I was back in a size 10 and then a 12, but I still felt pretty awesome. I had tossed all my size 14 jeans because I was NEVER going to be "that fat" again.
Which, as it turns out, was no big deal because I WAS never that "fat" again. I was fatter! I decided to finally do something about the anxiety that had plagued me since childhood and went on medication. It made me feel "normal" for the first time in ages, but it also came with a 40 lb weight gain! I really didn't want to keep gaining weight, so I switched medications to one that seemed to not have such an effect on my weight. But slowly, slowly, the weight crept on. Ironically, I was also becoming more physically active than I'd ever been and I wasn't eating any differently. But I kept gaining weight. I do think my medication makes it hard for me to drop weight. I haven't kept gaining. But I've stalled out at a weight that..........well, let's just say I didn't weigh this much on the day I gave birth to my firstborn! I'm about 30 lbs heavier than that - so no wonder I look pregnant! Essentially I am - I'm carrying around more weight than I ever did carrying a LIFE inside of me. And it's all concentrated around my middle. My waist is......non-existent.
Which makes wearing dresses less than appealing. There's nothing cuter than a dress that nips in at the waist, and flares out beyond - a classic, feminine silhouette. I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to dresses. I love them that much. And if my body would cooperate, I'd wear dresses all the time.
I'm trying to drop the weight. But some days I think it's hopeless. I'm weak and a sucker for sweets. I eat healthy and balanced meals, but I also love my treats. I drink mostly water - I don't down soda or eat chips from a bag nor do I watch TV for hours on end, or much at all. I exercise a few times a week, and I am on the move constantly. Sometimes I sit for hours on the computer, writing, checking Facebook and email, and researching. But I'm mostly up and down, doing things all day long. So, I'm working on it and I could do better. And I don't hate myself - I dress cute, I accessorize, I don't care what size my clothes are as long as they fit and look nice. I don't try to squeeze into things that are too small, and I don't wear clothes so large they hang on me like a circus tent. I like myself. I wish I were skinnier. I wish I could wear dresses.
I'm going to a wedding. In fact, I have three weddings to attend in as many months. And it just seems right to wear a dress to a wedding. My outfit of choice is jeans and a cute top. Capris in the summer months. A sweater over a tank top, or something with cute details. I almost never wear any other type of pants unless you count yoga pants! "Dress pants" make me cringe. I like things that are comfortable. Dresses are comfortable. But they are not very forgiving. From the side, in a dress, I look pregnant. I can't do much about the wide behind in a dress - there's nothing there to "break it up" - no cute pockets, no "line" where a sweater or top falls over the waistband of my pants. I'm smaller on top than I am in the middle, so I have to wear tops that are probably a size too big just to get them to fit over my tummy and not be tight. It's difficult to "fit" me. We're all so individual - our trouble spots can be anywhere - that it's a wonder there are even standard sizes. Certainly not one-size-fits-all.
I tried on all manner of dresses tonight - borrowing some from my daughter, who is several inches taller than me, weighs about the same, and looks absolutely amazing in dresses. I tried on maxi dresses, short dresses, dresses that showed off my cleavage, dresses that had sleeves, sleeveless types, casual, dressy and somewhere in between. And nothing was quite right. Nothing felt comfortable. I know the bride is the focus at a wedding - who is really going to care what I'm wearing? But I care. I want to feel comfortable and pretty. Effortless. Not needing to "suck it in" or wobble around in too-high heels.
I don't have time to find anything else, either. I only have one day before we leave so I'm kind of stuck with whatever I can scrounge up from my own closet. I could try to go shopping but with my limited time, I'm afraid I'll just go through a lot of trouble and come up empty-handed. So, what do I wear to the wedding?
Of course it's not lost on my how much easier this all would be if I dropped a few (or many) pounds. But I can't lose weight in two days. Maybe by the next wedding, I'll have managed to drop a few pounds and some of the few dresses I do have will fit better. But that doesn't help me right now. I just want to look fabulous - is that too much to ask? :)
Frustrated by tonight's failed dress-up session, I actually Googled pictures of "plus size women." None of them looked like me. Some were bigger, some smaller. I found a lot of articles about loving yourself just as you are (all written by skinny women!). I found articles about women accepting their flaws - those flaws being wrapped up in a body I would kill for. I wish I knew then what I know now. That my horror over my "horse hips" and "thunder thighs" at the time would get much, much worse. That the "fat" I was then is the "skinny" I wish I was now.
I'm not saying I don't have my strong points. I'm cute and have nice skin and pretty hazel eyes and curly hair like no one else (both a blessing and a curse) and I'm funny as hell, but I'm not skinny. And if I were skinny? I'm sure something would have to give. I'd have adult acne or be a bitch. I mean, seriously? Who can have it all? I like me, but I wish I looked cuter in dresses. That's all. And I still have nothing to wear to the damn wedding.