“I tried to emulate the women I worked with, and had no sense of who I was. Letting go of what I thought others wanted me to be, in favor of finding out who I am, has been an exciting journey of discovery.”
From Seasons of Spirituality, December 10th.
Eighteen years ago, when I weighed over 250 lbs, it was difficult to find stylish clothing. There were some plus-size stores but most of the dresses looked like converted table cloths – gaudy colors, large flowers and flowing skirts. I didn’t feel comfortable in anything I wore. I wasn’t even comfortable in my own skin, let alone my attempts at looking stylish. It was an exercise in futility.
The three women in my office were all petite and dressed to the nines. I looked at them with envy, and mourned my situation in another pizza. My wardrobe matched my countenance – depressed and lifeless.
When nothing changes, nothing changes.
My spiritual weight-loss journey started in 1993, and soon those huge size 24 dresses were too big. While trying on some smaller sized replacements, the clerk remarked that if I kept losing weight, I wouldn’t be able to shop there any more. It was true – the size fourteen was loose around the waist and soon it was also too large.
The first visit to a non-plus size store was overwhelming. I felt like a fraud – a fat woman trying to fool people. I looked at the sizes and wondered how I could wear such small things. A clerk helped me to pick out some outfits. She asked, “What do you like?”
I had no idea! My previous wardrobe was either dark and somber or screaming, splashy colors. What was my favorite color? What style did I like? I no longer had to emulate my co-workers, I could find out who I was and what I wanted to wear.
My face started to change too. For the first time, I was happy, authentic and liked myself! When I was morbidly obese, I’d present a phoney, pasted-on smile, and my eyes told the real truth – I didn’t like who I was.
Becoming Gerri Helms has been an exciting journey. I often get compliments today on my wardrobe and it reflects who I am. My self confidence radiates, not only in my clothing but also on my face – a true smile. I like who I am today. I no longer feel a need to copy anyone else!
Are you trying to be someone other than yourself today?