As I passed by a shop window today, I came into the realization that it’s that time again. And by that time, I mean the time when I have to be strong and prepare for the moment. And by moment I mean when I finally realize there’s nothing I can do. Like the Terminator, it’s back. My nemesis, my enemy, my foe. Yes, the one that taunts me, laughs at me, and if it could, would wiggle a finger and say, “Oh no you didn’t!” It’s here…the bathing suit is here. Screams of horror in the background.
I’m certain we’ve all made its acquaintance. We all bear more than one scar. I know I still wake up in the middle of the night screaming from our last encounter. And yet, there has to be a time when we face our fears. When we stand up to the bully and declare, someone’s going down today and it ain’t gonna be me!
At least that’s what I thought right before I bravely grabbed it from the rack. I could hear it snickering….giggling…but I powered on, determined I would prevail this time around. Into the dressing room I went. I quickly peeled off all my clothes lest I run out of courage to complete the mission. I put my legs through the opening and the tugging commenced. A victory cry was heard when I succeeded getting it past my knees. Like a slippery eel I wiggled and wiggled until I snapped the straps into place. Drum roll, please.
With eyes squeezed shut I faced the mirror. I tried to slow down my heart rate performing the breathing exercises I had learned in Lamaze classes a hundred years ago. I slowly opened one eye half way but only after praying a Hail Mary. I opened the rest of the eye and closed it again.
“Is everything alright in there? the sales associate asked. “Yes,” I nervously replied as I searched for a defibrillator in the tight confinement of the dressing room. This was a bad idea. What was I thinking? I heard my Mom’s voice scream in my head, “Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s like ripping off a band aid. What the hell are you waiting for?” And that’s when I saw myself in the mirror.
Lower lip quivering, pupils dilated, dressing room spinning, I heard myself whisper, “Where’s the panic button?” Hyperventilating, about to pass out from shock, I felt my knees buckle.
Dressing room attendant: “Is everything alright in there?”
Me: “Is there a doctor in the house?”
Dressing room attendant: “Yes, but he’s with the lady in dressing room three. Can you hold on just a minute longer”
Me: “Yes, I know Lamaze breathing.”
Dressing room attendant: “Great. Hang in there. Help is on the way.”
Here’s to raising awareness that this item be fitted with the following label: “Warning: Trying this on could be harmful to your mental state. Please do so only when in the company of someone who’s qualified to fit you into a straightjacket.”
Holler if you’re with me.