Devil With A Blue Dress

Picasso – Girl In The Mirror

One of my best friends was getting married, and I needed a dress, so I bundled up my baby boy and went down to K-Mart to find one.

I’d been pregnant for approximately forever, and I still had the extra roundness from that in addition to the excess weight I typically carried.  My body felt alien…squishy and lumpy and ugly.  I loved being pregnant, and I loved being a mother, but I hated my body with a passion.

I browsed through the racks of dresses with the baby snoozing quietly in the car seat.  I wanted something pretty.  I wanted something flattering.

I wanted something that would make me skinny.

A blue dress with tiny white flowers caught my eye and I carried it and the car seat into the dressing room. The dress was pretty…it had tiny white buttons that ran down the front, and the back laced up to tighten the bodice without emphasizing the pooch my tummy still sported.  I was sold.

Getting dressed for the wedding, I felt good about what I saw in the mirror for the first time in a very long time.  Hubby and I loaded the ourselves and the baby into the car and headed over to meet a couple we were friends with.  They knew where the church was, and we didn’t, so we were going to follow them.

I stayed in the car while hubby went to the door to let them know we were ready to go.  The baby was talking cheerfully in the back seat, bubbling and giggling about the toy swinging from the arm of his car seat.  I fussed with the buttons on the dress a little, pleased with that little detail.

Then the door to the house opened, and the couple came out.  The hubby, looking dashing in a gray suit, and the wife—the skinny wife with the perfect body—in my dress.  Only sixteen sizes smaller, and without the leftover baby pooch and big ass and flabby arms and flat hair and washed out complexion and bitten nails.

It was like a horrible before and after shot for one of those makeover shows…and I was the “before.”

When we got to the church, I couldn’t make myself go into the sanctuary.  I couldn’t stand the thought of being compared to perfection when I was so far from it.

I missed the wedding.

This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write about a time when we compared ourselves unfavorably with someone else.  This is, unfortunately, something I know a lot about.  If it were an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I’d take the gold…or at least the silver.

I loved that blue dress, right up until I saw it on someone who was a size 2.  I never wore it again.  It didn’t matter how many times I told myself it was stupid, every time I tried to put it on I got an image of that size 2 and compared it to my size 18 and took it right back off again. 

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11 thoughts on “Devil With A Blue Dress

  1. I saw it! I just didn't see it from the sanctuary. Weddings have a sort of amnesia effect on the participants, I've noticed. Maybe it's some sort of stress reaction? God knows every bride I've ever known is close to certifiable by the time the big day finally arrives! LOL

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  2. Oh, I'm so sorry. I was so happy for you as I was reading your immediate reaction to the dress because I know how difficult it is to find something to make you feel pretty when you're unhappy with your body. And then to have to see it on someone else, someone YOU think looks better in it? That's so tough, and my heart hurts for you that you still can't wear the dress 😦

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  3. Oh no! I hate post-baby body more than anything. And the fact that she had on the exact same dress just sucks! It's amazing how fast we can go from pleased to comparing ourselves to others and feeling less than. Great post!You captured the emotions well!

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  4. Oh, I'm sorry you missed the wedding. I'm sure every mom can relate to the post-baby lack of self-esteem feeling though. Except for celebrity moms with personal trainers. They just make it suck for the rest of the 'normal' world.

    I thought the sentence, “My body felt alien…squishy and lumpy and ugly” was powerful. I know exactly what that description feels like!

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  5. It's probably horrible to admit this, but every time a celebrity gets pregnant I think, “Lord, please let that skinny little twig blow up like a sausage and stay that way!” Then I see them two days after giving birth and they're ready for the runway…makes me a little crazy!

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  6. I so get it. Funny thing is I used to be the skinny bitch, but I never, ever, thought I was skinny. I always saw my poochy belly and a little too much here and there. It isn't until now, weighing more than my delivery weight, that I can look back at those pictures and say, “What was I thinking? Why did I think I was fat?” I try and tell myself that I am fine but I still can't hardly look in a mirror.

    I hope you find the peace to love yourself no matter what.

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  7. What a horrible experience. I can relate to feeling like the elephant in the room, and it's an awful feeling. If you're already sensitive to body issues, the postpartum period is a special kind of hell. Who knew stomachs could feel like bread dough and breasts could swell to your chin?

    This is beautifully written. You capture your emotions and draw the reader in. I could just cry for you. Hugs.

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