Monday, June 4, 2007

This is why I love shoes...

It's amazing how quickly one can go from being so proud, so determined, and so empowered to feeling so low.

With t-minus 11 days before Mr. CCC and I leave for a belated Hawaiian honeymoon, I finally faced up to the fact I needed to go...(insert scary music here)...swimsuit shopping.

The horror!

Despite the fact that I live in South Florida, I have managed to avoid this traumatic shopping experience because, well, while I love the ocean I don't go to the beach. Not here, in this place where tanned rock-hard bodies are de rigeur and I have a body that is neither tanned nor hard.

The last time I bought a new bathing suit was 3 years ago right before Mr. CCC and I went on our real honeymoon...back when I looked good and more importantly, felt good. So that experience wasn't traumatic at all.

I didn't think this experience would be either.

I was down some weight. I was still on a high from the exercise endorphins and the Saks Outlet made shopping practically a mandate, sending me a coupon for 30 percent off any item in the store. Considering I was eyeing those rather expensive "MiracleSuit" types of suits, I was game to use the coupon before it expired.

Well, that was my first mistake. Never limit yourself when trying to find a swimsuit.

Not only did I limit myself to one store--I limited myself to a 30-minute window (Mr. CCC and I were out running errands and I told him that would be all I needed. Not a wise move on my part.)

But we got to the store and I was still determined to find a nice suit at a reasonable price. Being an outlet, they didn't have the options you'd likely find in a regular department store. Not in terms of style, sizes or colors, but they had about five suits that looked promising on the rack. So I dug in.

I grabbed suits in three sizes--the one I didn't want to be at ( ie, the same size I've been wearing since starting this journey), the one I figured I was at (ie, one size smaller), and just for craps and giggles--one I would have been thrilled to be at (two sizes smaller). What can I say? Pilates and my weight loss left me optimistic.

Let me make one thing clear--optimism doesn't last long when you're a fat girl trying on bathing suits.

The dream suit (two sizes smaller) wouldn't even get any farther than my hips no matter how much I pulled and yanked. So there went that option.

But I wasn't disillusioned yet. That had been a dream scenario and well, as long as I was down one size, I'd be happy. So I tried that one and sure enough, I could pull it on even though my tummy area (still sore from Pilates) screamed in pain.

My stomach was sucked in, pulled tight and it Looked. Like. Crap.

I stood there for a minute under the flourescent lights and bit my lip in frustration. How was it possible? How could I have lost more than 20 pounds, upped my exercise so much and still look like a pale beached whale?

Why was there still dimply skin? Why were there still lumps and bumps and things spilling over? How come I couldn't breathe?

Before I knew it, I was in a rage, tearing at the suit, yanking it off in exasperation and trying not to cry. It was the exact opposite of how I'd felt just 24 hours earlier. How could the pendulum swing so far so quickly?

I'll be perfectly honest--even though I didn't want to, I tried on the largest suit and it fit well--from the chest down. But it had absolutely no support for the girls so I wasn't about to get it. If I'm going to get a bathing suit, it's going to have to fit well everywhere and because it was the only one in that size, I was done.

I put all the suits back on their hangers and stalked out of the fitting room to find Mr. CCC waiting. I didn't say a word other than "Let's go" before the questions started.

"What happened?"

"You didn't like any of them?"

"They didn't fit? But I thought you lost weight!?"

I know he was honestly curious and being a man who has never had a weight problem, he didn't understand how upset I was. I couldn't find a way to tell him that all the work, all the effort, all the exercise still wasn't paying off for me, appearance wise.

I couldn't find a way to tell him I looked worse in those bathing suits than I ever imagined possible. So I pulled my sunglasses on (to hide my quickly-watering eyes) and whispered, "This is why I love shoes. This is why women love shoes. This is why fat women love shoes."

I have a bit of a shoe obsession that in the course of our eight years together, Mr. CCC has not been able to figure out. He can't understand why I have countless pairs of black heels or why I need more than one red stiletto. In the course of our marriage, my shoe collection has tripled--while my wardrobe has stayed pretty much the same.


Because shoes don't make you look fat. Shoes don't have buttons that gape. They don't have zippers that won't go up. And the numbers on shoes tend to be a whole lot lower than the numbers on my pants. I can grasp having to buy Size 10 shoes...I can't grasp having to buy Size 18 pants. (Who am I kidding? There are even some Size 20s tucked in the depths of my closet).

Shoes don't mock you. The only pain they inflict is physical if you wear them too long or walk too much. I can handle that. It's the emotional pain I don't do well with.

For the most part, barring pregnancy or significant changes in your body, the size of your feet doesn't change. Shoes (and purses) are the only things I've cared to buy in the past 3 years because they haven't forced me to deal with the fact I was gaining a ton more weight than I had any business gaining.

Suddenly, all of that came pouring out. And Mr. CCC, bless his heart, just took my hand and asked if I wanted to go use my coupon to get some shoes. I smiled through the tears.

But I turned him down. I still need a bathing suit. And I have a feeling the one I'm going to end up buying--with industrial-strength spandex and the tightest lycra humans can make--won't be cheap. I also know I'm going to need to get off the plane with a tan to try and make myself look less ghostly, so I've booked a self-tanning appointment at my favorite spa.

Apparently, when you're fat and facing the thought of wearing a bathing suit, deceptive tricks must be employed.

And we all know deception ain't cheap. I'll take my shoe money for that, thanks.

Wish me luck....11 days to find a swimsuit that is half-decent.

I have no idea where to start.


aydin said...

I realize the internet isn't the greatest option w/only 11 days left, but have you checked? I'm up for an outing this weekend if you want someone to help sort through the racks. There's a bathing suit out there for you, ccc!

Livy said...

CCC. You are a true wizard with words friend. I am so glad I have found your blog. I just cried, laughed, and felt incredible familiarity with someone on the other side of the world going through just what I am. Thankyou. I have nominated you for a bloggers thinkers award, please check my blog for details.

Lora said...

Oh how I can SO relate with your swimming suit ordeal! Keep in mind that dressng room mirrors and lighting are the absolute worst. Evn skinny girls come walking out depressed! Your exercise and weight loss will pay off! My favorite mantra when feeling discouraged is: "I'm not where I'm wanna' be...not where I gonna' be...but thank God I'm not where I was!"

Zanitta said...

The thing with loosing 20lbs is that it's a very 'borderline' weight. I've just passed it myself and it was literally a case of I went in one day to try on clothes and came out crying because I was too fat for everything, then went in a week later, 3lbs lighter, and eveything fit. All pounds are not created equal and it's around now that you hit the really important ones in terms of size difference. I guess all I can really advice is to wait a few days, then plan a shopping trip where you can take time and be in the right frame of mind for it all.

Lourdes said...

ccc best of luck on your swimsuit hunt - surf the web to see if any of the retail stores carry what you are looking for. yay to T-11 days!!!

Maitee said...

i <3 you.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Finding a bathing suit has stressed out even normal weight women, so, I don't even attempt it. Not yet.

I will say, even shoes can't console me much. I wear a 10D, and I can't wear high heels (fasciitis), so I content myself with the funnest lower heeled and flat shoes I can that come in my size (limited). I just went on a red binge and bought 3 pairs of shoes with red, and sneakers with red accent and laces. Red makes me happy.

If I could wear red stilettos...woohooo...I'd so be there.

I hope you find a suit that makes you smile. Look for good construction, good coverage, and some cleavage to make you feel girlie, but plenty of tummy control. Not easy, but, hey, might as well give yourself EVERY advantage (push-up, pull in, and gorgeous colors or an elegant black with a metal or jewel accent.)

I won't say happy shopping, but I will say FORTUNATE shopping.

I'd love to have you come back and say, "I was the belle of Hawaii, all radiant and confident and I had a great time." :)


Milkflower said...

Hey there,
I KNOW what you're talking about! Bathing suits are evil. The whole concept of them is BAD, very, very BAD.
I wish I could wear one of those bathing costumes from the 20ies, those that do not reveale every little teeny tiny bit of food or not-working-out you enjoyed in the past 20 years.
And I'm with you on the tanning thing: I am so pale, no one is as pale me, believe me. And I am convinced, the paler you are, the fatter you look.
And I know those mood changes! Those cabins to change are horrible. All of your body is bathed in neon light, you see parts of your body that just weren't made to ever be seen! And I don't know how many times I started a shopping tour happy, confident and smiling and came home 3 hours later with tears in my eyes and self-hatred in my heart...
Thoug that probably doesn't help much: I think there are loads of women out who feel just the same way!