A few days ago I was in a store trying on clothes. I found an outfit that I and my sales representative liked. The curtain of the next dressing room opened to the common mirrored area and the woman was wearing the same outfit. I liked it on me and it was perfect on her: Absolutely perfect in fit, color, and tasteful style for her. It fit her like she was a model. Yet she took one look at herself and said that she would never wear anything like that as she pointed to a small (tiny tiny) low abdominal bulge. She verbalized her dislike of it (most women I know would gladly trade theirs for her almost non-existent bulge).
The sales representative let her know how wonderful she looked in it and how perfect the fit was. I told her that she looked exquisite. She didn’t believe it. I reassured her that I have a critical eye and followed it up with my credentials: I was a former New Yorker and I know style (smile). She still wasn’t having it. Then I got next to her in the mirror to reassure her that she had no bulge to warrant concern – we shared frontal and side views standing side by side. Clearly, she could see how much fuller I was than she. The sales representative then brought her a caftan shawl that would add coverage and a striking dimensionality to the ensemble. I liked the look so much, I decided to add that to my purchases. Then the sales representative brought her a belt and showed her how to wear it so that there would be no perception of a bulge. The lady still could not see how fabulous she looked.
She went back into her stall and came out later with a dark casual frumpy jean and top (at considerably more money). My jaw dropped open as my head and body slumped in disbelief! I took one look at the sales representative, looked back at the lady, and I could not contain myself. I said, “And you’re going to pass up that outfit for this!?”
I gave up. All afternoon I thought about my dressing room friend. It seemed so tragic to see a mature woman, in a store catering to styles for the mature woman, idealizing a body type that I and most of us might not have had even in our 20s – unable to see her own beauty at 40..something, 50..something, or 60..something. Why it seemed so tragic to me is that as I get older, I realize more and more that each day might be the last day in this body. I am going to love it and thank God that I’ve had all of these years in this body.
Thank God I don’t have a body or a mind of a teen or 20 year old. My body is rich with stories and lessons of a Life spanning decades. That is my blessing today.
© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010