Empty Closets

Closet purging is quite cathartic, and even therapeutic. It is nice to walk into my closet (yes, I have a walk-in closet) and know that everything in there will fit in a flattering way without significant adjustments, such as belts, pins, etc. But after my latest round of closet purging, I'm in a very new area.

I'm now small enough where the purging is becoming significant. For years, I was a size 20W. I fluctuated up and down, but consistently a 20W is what I wore. When I got much heavier, I did eventually get up to a 24W, but for years and years, when I went shopping a 20W is what I pulled off the rack. Now, my 20Ws and even many of my 18Ws make me look like a little girl playing dress-up. So, out they go.

I have not yet purged my gowns. That may not ever really happen. I have many memories associated with those gowns, and they are a good reminder of how big I'd gotten. The dress I wore for John & Wayne's holy union is my "before" dress. My other gowns... I can look at them and tell you about the gigs I wore them for, what I sang, and even how it went. This is the dress I wore to win a competition, the one I wore for each of my recitals, what I wore when I sang with various orchestras.

Even without purging my gowns, though, I am now at the point where my closet is equal parts clothes and empty hangers. I have always been a clothes horse, I admit it. To see so much empty space in my closet is almost unnerving. And yet, exciting at the same time. Of course, I'm adding a couple part-time jobs to my schedule because a new wardrobe doesn't come cheap -- especially when one is as particular about what they wear as I am.

So what is happening to my old clothes? There is a lady at my church, a friend of mine, who recently underwent gastric weight-loss surgery. She is still over 300 pounds to my best estimate, but she's loss over 100 pounds so far. Her financial situation is not quite as good as mine; her husband's business is weather-dependent so during the winter, he isn't working. Also, plus-sized clothing is very, very expensive. Because of how she carries her weight, her top is much smaller than her lower half. So, her torso is already able to fit into some sized 24 clothes. She is the recipient of all my hand-me-downs, which to date is 11 kitchen-sized trash bags. She's thrilled, and what she doesn't want or need will go onto other ministries and people in need.

Meanwhile, I'm collecting coupons and scouring clearance racks. The only shorts I own are for the gym, and summer is about to come knocking -- including a business trip to Florida in a month. At least summer dresses can forgive a multitude of sins through a couple of sizes, even if I have to pull out a belt or two.


Those Who... Can't?... Teach?

I've been practicing yoga for over 13 years. Granted, there have been times where I've slacked off, not been consistent with my practice, and my mats have gathered dust and stray cat hairs. When I'm consistent with my practice, I feel so much better. Yoga isn't just about turning one's self into a pretzel. It's about mind, spirit, and body working together; relaxation and balance coming from within. When I got my gym membership, I also started taking yoga classes pretty regularly. I've had a love/hate relationship with most of these classes; often they are just too beginner for me and there's only so much you can do to advance your practice. Some poses just don't have an advanced level. I like the instructor as a person, but I've had my struggles with how she chooses to teach her class. Yet, I tend to be quite regular because it keeps me in practice, and I have learned a few new things. We've known for some time that she is eventually leaving. She hasn't set a date yet; they are just now putting their house on the market, blah blah blah. But at tonight's class she put together the fact that I've been practicing for over 13 years with the fact that I'm a teacher, mixed in her own imminent departure, and decided I should become certified and take over her classes. Um, what? Ok, this isn't something completely new to my brain. I've thought about pursuing an instructor's certification through my gym, but I've always had some reason... like, I need to lose another six gazillion pounds before I deign to stand in front of a class and tell them how to work out. So I posed the idea to a friend who is also another of the instructors at the gym. (She's the "tough" one of the instructors!) Her response: "Go for it!" And then she said that while I was at it, I should become certified in Zumba as well. So I'm seriously considering it. It would be a little extra money (after the outlay for the certification classes) and ultimately not really adding anything to my schedule, since I already take many of these classes. And it would be combining things I love to do: teach and work out. But that voice I've blogged about before -- the "there's no way you can fit into those pants" voice, remember him? -- is laughing a little. Really, if 2 years ago you'd said to me at this point I'd be considering teaching a fitness class, I'd have laughed, and laughed hard. It would've taken quite a bit for me to wrap my brain around me taking a fitness class. Amazing what a difference two years can make, no?


A Milestone

After a somewhat disappointing February, March was ultimately a turn-around. And so far, April has been great. Of course, I now have some added motivation. A high school girlfriend and I have decided to go on vacation this summer, and most likely to Cancun. I don't just want to be "okay" in a swimsuit, I want to be confident in a swimsuit. So I've buckled back down on my eating habits, which was what had gotten away from me. Today I had to go clothes shopping. Yes, had to. I have several gigs coming up and my concert black is all too big. Two years ago, I had enough concert black to go a 5-performance gig with only re-wearing the same pants once. Now, I don't have ANY concert black that actually fits. Off to the mall I went. While I was there, I perused Easter dresses as well. This'll be the first Easter in several years where I'll be at a church and where I won't be wearing a choir robe the entire time. In the Women's section, someone had accidentally restocked a 16 misses with the Women's dresses -- same basic cut, same designer. I took both the 16 and a 16W into the dressing room. (Mind you, there was a 3" difference between the two!) The 16 actually fit. I ended up trying on a 14W blazer, which fit but was a bit snug. I then went into new territory. After decades of shopping in plus size sections, being able to shop in the misses departments is uncharted territory. I discovered, at least at this store, that 14W was equal to a little smaller than an 18 misses. Go figure. I headed down to a well-known national plus-sized women's store. For a brief period during my MM, I was able to fit into a 14-16 at this store. To be more honest, I managed to get into 14-16 things, and did wear a pair of size 16 jeans from there. Today, I put on a 14 fitted jacket -- something I've never been able to do there -- and buttoned it. I opted for a 16 simply because I need it for tomorrow and it would be more comfortable for sitting down after I'd lost about 5 or 10 more pounds. I'm beginning to enter the expensive part of weight loss. Bras, underwear are at the point where I need to replace them. My skinniest clothes are gradually getting to be too big. I'm pulling dresses and summer clothes out of my closet that I haven't worn in a couple years only to make them work with belts and then ultimately relegate them to my "donate" piles. I own no shorts other than workout shorts that fit. T-shirts and tank tops are fine oversized. Pants that threaten to fall off if you sneeze or move wrong, not so much. I think I can now officially say I'm the smallest I've ever been in my adult life. I lost a lot of weight prior to starting my MM, but I wasn't into misses sizes. I was happy to eke into a 16W. I went through another weight loss two years later, back into the same range and the aforementioned 14-16s. Then I went on Prednizone. Then I did additional graduate studies. Then for many other reasons, I ultimately ballooned up to a 22, in some cases a 24W. So this is a milestone that has boosted my ego. I still have 65 pounds to go, give or take. At 70+ pounds lost, I'm just over halfway there. Next goal: under the 200 mark.