I’ve never been one to discard and buy all new clothes every year, although I’ve heard of a few women who do. I usually pick up a few random things over the year–usually from those clearance tables that shout too big a bargain to pass up! That served my fashion needs up to now.
Recently, however, when I unpacked my fall/winter things and began wearing them due to a recent cold snap, I noticed they didn’t fit as well as they once did. I only lost around 15 pounds during the “c” treatment, and now that I’m six months past that ordeal I’ve gained most of it back, yet my thighs and hips seem smaller but my waist about the same. What happened? Does a body change shape after chemotherapy? Or could there be other explanations?
Like maybe my clothes were always too baggy, but I didn’t notice and nobody bothered to pointed it out. Or–and this has a certain ring of truth to me–some of my things dated from my Ohio days (nearly 20 years ago) and were simply out of date, and even those more recent Tennessee and Las Vegas (10-15 year) purchases, mostly of the classic–not trendy–look I favor, were looking pretty tired. The shoulder seams hung an inch to two inches too low, and most of the blouses and tops weren’t fitted. They looked more like a man’s shirt despite their feminine colors. While they looked fine with blue jeans, I was tired of the old lady trying to look like a teenager feeling I have wearing them. Good or bad, too much me-focusing or whatever it was, suddenly I was feeling dowdy and old. Time for a change, so I went shopping.
One of the first things I noticed was that you CANNOT find a label anywhere that says Made in the USA! Nothing really is made here anymore. And nothing is cheap in spite of ill-paid foreign labor. So exactly WHO, I wonder, is getting all that money when I know the worker is the lowest on the chain? The last purchase I made–when I bought that hat–was $7.99 for an summer tunic that I won’t be able to wear until next summer.
This time, though, before I went shopping I made a pact with myself that I would NOT shop based on the lowest marked price. My new shopping motto was Don’t buy it unless it sings to you! I know I don’t have to explain to you ladies what that means. When you find something you like that really sings to you, what it is, you know it. If you decide to buy it, those are the purchases that you’re not sorry about a few weeks later. And if it doesn’t quite fit, no matter has good a buy it is, I would PUT IT BACK! No more altering stuff at home later, hoping I could make it fit properly. Unfortunately, I’ve been ignoring that voice far too long.
It wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it would be, as some of those things singing to me the loudest were outshouted by their price tags. By making a list (in my head) of things I needed, and by shopping stores with sales, plus a couple of Outlet stores thrown in for good measure, I finally managed to pull it off. Today, my wardrobe sings, well–if not operatic, at least equal to American Idol standards–and I only had to make only minor adjustments with the sewing machine to a couple of items. For less than $200, I have two reasonably dressy pairs of slacks, three blouses, and a pullover cowl sweater I can wear over my turtleneck knit stock–all properly fitting–and all capable of carrying a pretty good tune.
On another note, it’s not often that I give much thought to ageist remarks people say in public. For one thing, I figure their intentions are good even if their manners aren’t, and also, one day–years down the line even if I’m not around–they’ll probably remember some of the things they’re thoughtlessly saying to the older generation today, because they’ll be on the other end of that same treatment by the generations following them. That’s how it’s always been, that’s how it’ll always be. That’s when they’ll understand. And maybe they’ll be sorry, or maybe they won’t, but they’ll know all the same.
That’s all the revenge I can claim for the young woman at the Kiosk in the Mall who offered me a sample of the hair product. She loved my hair she said, it was such a sassy style. (For a woman your age I heard between the lines.) She really wanted me to have this serum that she thought would be so good for it. I took it, thanked her and started walking away. Of course she called me back, and though I knew what was coming, I stopped. Why I’ll never know. She wanted to show me how to use the serum to style my hair. She squeezed out a half a drop made from green tea and dead sea minerals and kept going on and on about my stylish hairdo. I don’t know why, but I told her that while I did not choose the style, it being the aftereffects of chemotherapy, I was getting used to it. Actually it is many different lengths all over my head now–three inches at the top, much less on the sides and back, and long enough in places that it lies flat here and there, and generally in need of shaping, and I have an appointment soon. Meanwhile, I may be old, but I know when I’m having a bad hair day.
She jumped in with a you have cancer (!) exclamation. There was her perfect sales pitch, and she grabbed it. Even though I assured her that I no longer have cancer, that I am now in remission, she was so moved by all I’d been through, she wanted to give me a huge break. For everyone else, the serum was sold for $75. For me, because her heart was so full from my story, she would throw in a 7 ounce bottle of her amazing mineral and green tea shampoo and conditioner in addition to a bottle of serum which would last for years, all for $29. All my life I was brought up to try and never make anyone feel bad or embarrassed, so my answer was Gosh, you certainly are tempting me with your offer, but I just can’t do it right now. And I have an appointment that I’m late for, and then I walked away–leaving the sample behind.
So that’s how my week went. More good came of it than bad. Life should always be so good for us all. In the meantime, I’m still trying to hold on in a rapidly revolving and ever-changing world.