Kathleen Eagle is my friend. But you know that already, especially if you've read this week's feature of her new novel, "Ride a Painted Pony" at Romance: B(u)y the Book. She's hung with us before, and she's invited me to hang at her group blog, Riding with the Top Down, on Valentine's Day.
Today, Kathleen decided to share a very real, kinda triumphant experience she's had in the last year or so, one lots of us relate to. So, Bellas, you know the drill: Buongiorno, Kathleen...
Having checked off the last must-see movie on our holiday list, DH turned to me a few nights ago and said, “You know what we could do tonight that I would really enjoy?”
I could tell by his tone that my first guess would be off the mark. A year ago the second choice would have been going out to eat, but that’s because a year ago wining and dining were near the top of our recreation list. To paraphrase one of our favorite Eastwood movie lines: “[We] ain’t like that no more.”
So I bit. “What?”
“I’d like to watch you try on some clothes that actually fit you. And not your usual T.J.Maxx clearance rack clothes. Let’s go to Ridgedale. A nice store like Dayton’s.”
Which shows you, it’s been a while.
“You can’t go to Dayton’s anymore,” I remind him. “It’s like Constantinople.”
Dayton’s was two buyouts ago. I start to launch an antitrust tirade, but he cuts me off with an all-purpose, “Whatever,” letting me know that I have two minutes to take him up on his offer or he’s going to spend the evening watching bullriding on TV. So off we go to Macy’s, which used to be Dayton’s in the good ol’ days before it became Marshall Fields. They still sell nice women’s clothes, and a guy can still find a comfortable chair from which to watch his sweetheart try an array of fresh apparel.
Photo: Me and Michelle, before.
Our focus was jeans. Much to my horror—which I tried to pass off as a bearable but rather silly annoyance—my guy insisted on taking along a digital camera and snapping front and back photos of every pair I tried on. His point—and after a few pictures he finally convinced me he had one—was that I needed to see myself from a different perspective. Namely his. Okay, anyone else’s but mine.
Now, here’s the deal: after living most of my life as a tall, fairly slender (not skinny) person who never really thought about weight, I hit menopause. Over the course of about 5 years, I chubbed up. I figured it was just part of the process and I could live with it. But I began to realize that my high blood pressure, achy joints, lack of energy and the like were indications that life with the extra pounds might be considerably less enjoyable than life without them. I made a resolution to lose some weight in 2006. The upshot: I’m about 50 pounds lighter in 2007. (The secret is eating less and exercising more, but you knew that.) It’s made a huge difference in the way I feel. Achy knees? Gone. Blood pressure? Still higher than it should be, but much better. Energy? I have some, thank you.
Photo: Me in jeans, After.
But I’ve been hesitant to shop for clothes. I don’t go out that much, and the old clothes are sloppy but comfortable. All I need is a couple of pieces to wear when I leave the house, and I’m set. Sure, I’ve lost a few pounds, but I’m still me, whether it’s more or less. And I can get two pairs of jeans on clearance at Land’s Endlet for the price of one at Macy’s.
But DH warned that if I wasn’t going to pay attention to how the stuff looked on me, he wasn’t going to be a party to this shopping thing. And after 36 years, it’s just not a party without him.
So I give you a few before and after photos here, along with courageously unretouched proof that my photoshopping tale really happened, and I invite questions, comments, discussion of making peace with our own bodies or the all-purpose “whatever.”
Encore from Kathleen! Even as we speak today on “Romance By the Blog” I’m hosting an interview on my own multi-author blog Riding with the Top Down with my longtime editor, Leslie Wainger of Harlequin/Mira, so I hope you’ll bop over there and, ahem, weight in. And, of course, my latest book, RIDE A PAINTED PONY is always up for discussion. Visit KathleenEagle.com for excerpts and other fun stuff. Now have at me, Bellas!
Photo: Riding with the Top Down friends: After.