It’s been months of losing weight and getting rid of clothes… buying the bare minimum at Goodwill or clearance racks, and even begging partners for polo shirts in my new sizes. In December, I won a pretty nice chunk of cash in Arizona so January 2nd it was finally time to buy some nice clothes.
I took inventory of my closet before I left. Not listed, there was also a blazer and a few sweaters (they hang elsewhere).
The blazer (along with the black skirt and one of the tops listed), I bought a few months ago for a business event. One of the sweaters was an all-black XL and the other two were grey XXL with my company logo on them.
So, yeah, I needed some nice clothes.
We went to Anne Taylor first. Y’all, I didn’t even know what an Anne Taylor was. I spent two hours in a dressing rooms filtering through clothes as my awesome friends, Jessica and Danene, kept sending more in than I was sending out.
All told, I walked out with some nice tops, a skirt, and a dress. But everyone agreed that the best find was the dress… we just didn’t realize it was a magic dress.
As I was checking out the cashier said that the dress had just arrived the day before. That was nice but it didn’t register what that means. Then as we left the store, I saw my dress on a mannequin in the window. I started almost shouting “I bought a dress in the window! I have never owned a dress in the window!”
Really, y’all, I was raised on clearance racks and bargain bins. Even now, with a strong income and low expenses, I still have a saver streak in me. I’ve never bought a “trend” piece!
We headed over to buy shoes, since the dress was navy and all my dress shoes are black. It took two shoe stores and another hour to find anything, since I have kinda weird feet.
(Side note, I was told in a pedicure once that everyone thinks they have weird feet. Why is that? Who are shoes made for if we all believe that they are not made for our feet?)
After several hours we piled back into the car and laughed heading home that we hadn’t made it through ¼th of my budget. That was Monday.
While I loved the dress on Monday, I didn’t know it was a magic dress… not yet.
Tuesday after work I came home and changed. I was getting together with friends, including Jessica and Danene, and had promised I would wear the new dress and their matching new shoes. Since I was putting on all new stuff, I decided to dig in my almost-always-ignored drawer of makeup and put a little on. Also, took the time to actually do up my hair (since my messy French braid was catching on the hook in the back of the dress).
After finishing all that fussing, I took one last look in the mirror… y’all I was speechless. I locked eyes with myself for a moment, then did a full look up-down. I noticed the dress that beautifully complemented my figure. My face really has thinned down quite a bit. My blue eyes, with just a bit of color around them, were complemented perfectly with the blue in my necklace. “Jenn, you look gorgeous!” I exclaimed.
It was like magic. All those months of not seeing progress and suddenly staring in my face was all the progress I had made. I almost cried. But then I didn’t want to fool with the makeup again…
After figuring out how to drive in heels… I eventually made it to where I was meeting my friends. Everyone was so amazed. They all said I looked awesome and complemented me on the dress and my progress. I was walking tall, and it’s not just because that’s my first time in heels in over a year.
But that’s not why I call it my magic dress.
I got home about 11pm (yes, that is super late for me…) and barely managed to remember to hang up the dress, instead of throwing it on the floor with all my other discarded dirty clothes, before crawling into bed. The magic was discovered the next morning.
Every morning my alarm goes off at 4:45am and I take some Rhodiola, visit the restroom, and drop back into bed. That Rhodiola and quick walk get my blood flowing so when my second alarm goes off at 5am I can spring out of bed to attack the day.
Wednesday morning my 4:45 alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed blurry eyed wondering why I was up so late the night before. Eyes, half shut, I head for the bathroom and then I am suddenly caught breathless. Half awake, in just pijamas, hair a mess, makeup smeared under my eyes, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and utter the words “Jenn, you have lost a lot of weight!”
Suddenly I am awake. What did I just say? If you have read Let’s Play a Game, you know that I have never been able to notice any of the progress since starting this crazy journey back in June. Sure, I saw the clothes not fitting and I felt stronger. But the mirror seemed to keep looking the same.
And Tuesday night all dressed up and wearing makeup and heels and … well, it makes sense to feel beautiful. But half awake and looking like a mess? What happened?
I wore the magic dress to work that day (with black flats because ain’t no way I am rocking heels for a 9-hour day). My coworkers loved it but I didn’t care. Only one person I cared about seeing it…
So, I couldn’t wait to leave work that day and, for once, didn’t change clothes while I was driving to the gym. Like a girl about to walk into an interview, I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car.
Trying to act like I didn’t care, I strolled past the warmup room into the main gym. Donovan had his back to me because he was coaching the 5pm class and I almost just slipped into the bathroom… maybe I am being silly. Suddenly he turned around and his face lit up.
I am overcoming my fear of guys touching me but I was relatively un-awkward with Donovan hugging me in that moment. Not really sure if he said anything… probably did. But I remember his look of pride and that was all I wanted.
Mentorship is such a vital key to every area of my life. I have had at least one mentor at all times since high school, and several before that. Can’t really explain how I learned that, since I come from a family that believed strongly in self-sufficiency and independence. But living a life surrounded by wise council has been the most important key to my success in everything I have ever accomplished.
I wore the dress again Sunday to church, partially to show it off and partially because my awesome friend Kim wanted to see it and I never thought a picture could do the justice of wearing the real thing. My kids were less encouraging (“Why are you in a dress, Miss Jenn?”) but all the parents and my friends made comments about how great I looked and how evident my progress was. Even my pastor gave me a nod of approval.
That night, I went to my brother’s place for dinner so, of course, I wore the dress. Matt has always been a huge encourager for me and when I told him the dress had let me see my progress, his response was, “It’s about time!”
Honestly, everyone else approving of my looks felt great. But the dress spun another magic spell … I didn’t care.
For over a week, every time I caught a glimpse of a mirror, I could see my progress. I had fought so hard and finally I could see what Donovan and Matt, and everyone else, had been telling me.
Right now the dress is clean and hung. It won’t be worn again until this weekend when I get to Tennessee and see Stephen and Sherri. But the magic has already been released. The dress, in a way I cannot understand or explain, has changed how I see myself and that alone is worth every cent that it cost.