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E-mail to Stefan, July 2013
May 18th, 2013
I‘m going back into town again for a bit. This time, ‘town’ is Fürth. Tomorrow, on Sunday evening I‘m flying to Istanbul, mother isn’t well, I‘ll say goodbye somehow. Well, ‘somehow’ won’t really work, and anyway I have to go whether I want to or not. My husband is picking me up at the airport; we definitely won‘t arrive at mother‘s house before midnight. And May 20th was supposed to be a very special day. It‘s our 30th wedding anniversary. It‘s inconceivable and frightening how quickly the time has passed.
In fact, I see myself as I did 30 years ago, maybe not exactly the same, but almost. But then when I look in the mirror, there isn‘t much left of the delicate girl who weighed 45 kg. NO, that‘s not true, there‘s quite a lot left actually, in fact that girl has almost doubled. I still remember the day when I could finally wear a B-cup bra! I had finally made it into the category which I coveted so much; the B category. I celebrated with ice-cream! At some point B became a C-cup, which was simply amazing; it was completely irrelevant to me that the rest of them were already Y!
Sometimes, when I happen to see my reflection in a shop window, I don’t recognise myself, because in my mind I‘m so much younger, and so much more slender. I believe it’s true, even though I see myself in the mirror every day.
I still don‘t understand how my body has changed. At first it was slowly and secretly, then with groans and pains. Dear God, am I made of play dough or something? What‘s going on there?
The menopause, I thought I had got past that stage. It‘s a strange condition and it comes with the painful realisation that your body, and above all your mind, do what they want. I never wanted to concede, I didn’t want to be one of those women who are bitchy and cry – no I have never been like them, and I never will be! But suddenly I woke up on a beautiful, absolutely perfect day, and before I had even pushed back the covers I had burst into tears. I had never been like that, I didn‘t recognise myself, and now it was happening just like that, out of the blue.
Well, everything has changed, I‘ve changed, and my body has changed. Even if I don‘t necessarily have to make friends with this new body, I have to accept it and at least take care of it. And then you, dear Stefan, you come and ask me why I almost always wear jeans!?!? How can I explain that I have about 20 pair of jeans, almost all of which look the same, yes, there certainly are some which are identical, because whenever I find a pair which suit me, I buy at least one more pair, sometimes two, sometimes three. It’s that simple. For me, at least. And now you’re asking me that question! It‘s a fair question. There must be such great, colourful pants out there, you say, I should buy a pair of pants like that. Yessss, Stefan, I‘d really like to, but then my legs might stand out even more.
So, now I‘m in town, maybe I‘ll find a new pair of jeans, or even better, a new scarf. Scarves always fit, no matter how fat you are. Luckily so do handbags, and lipsticks, of course.
There‘s not much choice in Fürth. And I don‘t know my way around very well, even though I‘ve lived here for 24 years, – no I only really sleep here, ‚living‘ means something different. I‘ll have a look in Wöhrl, maybe I‘ll find something there. The jeans department is underwhelming. I stroll among the shelves and stands, trying on this and that, I don‘t like anything, and I find myself preferring small, sweet pieces, as if I were 25 years younger.
The tears rise, suddenly my feet are boiling, heat spreads in my neck and temples, a small trickle of sweat runs down between my shoulder blades. Luckily I have a vest on. When I was younger I liked vests and little shirts and tops. I run to the changing rooms with 3 unspeakable items of clothing, sit down quietly on the stool, take off my shoes and put my feet on the floor, which is most probably contaminated with 2 billion bacteria. Thank goodness I‘m wearing socks. I could get athlete‘s foot simply from sheer disgust.
„Does everything fit?“ Yes, yes, everything is great… „Please let me know if you need anything“ … damn it, I only need a few seconds of silence, and perhaps a refrigerator; but she can‘t bring me that. I’ll just have to just wait until it passes. Cautiously I peer out from behind the curtain to see if the friendly voice is nearby. I don‘t want to have to explain anything… I see her busy with another client and sneak out of the cabin. I quickly and discreetly hang the clothes back.
As I make to leave, I see some colourful pants. COLORFUL PANTS!? Well, I suppose I could just try them on.
The pair in my hand is covered in a small, geometric pattern, like something you would find on a tie, but the legs are so narrow that you would probably fit in them. OK, that was a size 38. Cautiously I find a pair in my size, but even in size 42 the legs aren’t much wider, it’s hopeless! Stefan, you asked me why I always wear jeans, why I neglect my lower body. It‘s simple, denim is pretty tight, it means you can‘t see the horrible orange peel skin – I think we‘re doing oranges an injustice; we should call it broccoli or cauliflower skin. It‘s simple, right?
And, you know what? I can rub in as many special creams as I like, it just doesn‘t get any better…
Whenever I‘m heartbroken, I look at pictures on the Internet, people have the same disease at an advanced stage, it‘s called Elefantitis; I feel almost like Elle Macpherson.
I become curious and start to look through the other stands. In the meantime, I now have 5 different pairs of pants hanging from my arm; a reassuring dark blue is amongst them. And off I go again towards the changing room. This time without the heatwave. „Oh, wonderful, you‘ve found something else! If you need anything, please just ask!“
I need some peace and quiet to start with. Ok, this time as a take my shoes off I‘m not thinking about the bacteria which are poised, ready to attack, no, I’m thinking about the wonderful pants, and hoping that maybe one pair will fit, and I imagine how surprised you will be when you see me in a pair like that…
The unbelievable happened, two of them fit me! One of the pairs makes me look very colourful, unusually colourful, I don‘t like it, or do I? The other has a white background, with a colourful paisley pattern, even more unlikely, especially since it is so bright, and it‘s too tight at the knee. But I love the pattern. What do I do now? If I buy the pants, and I don‘t wear them, they will join the other corpses in my wardrobe! Actually, I had planned on only buying something which I really needed, the 75th handbag, for example. I‘m not buying colourful pants! Ever.
The jeans are ok actually, and apart from you, dear Stefan, nobody else ever notices what I wear, right? „Is everything okay?“ Yeah, everything‘s ok. The paisley pattern is really nice, but they are such bright pants, they instantly make me look even fatter, and anyway they‘re too tight around the knees. But maybe I could sew on my beloved grosgrain ribbon, and widen them a bit where they need it? „Should I bring you a different size?“
Oh how I would love to ask her to bring me a size 36… The owner of the voice (you can own voices, can‘t you??) actually peeks a look in my cabin. I hate that!!!!! „Oh, that looks really good, perhaps a little too tight around the knees, but the fabric will stretch a bit“ Yes, yes, of course. „Yes, I‘ll take the pants“ God, what did I just say??? Am I completely stupid?
Just to get rid of this woman, who is only trying to do her job, I buy a pair of pants, which are definitely destined to become a wardrobe corpse! Well, I can bring them back tomorrow. I pay and leave.
Later, when I get home, I put the pants with my other purchases, books (which always fit), and I really must admit that I think they are beautiful. I try them on again, yes, they are beautiful, but they’re just not for me, I will take them back tomorrow. I watch the evening news, and as the presenter announces the weather for Sunday, I almost faint! Today is Saturday, it’s 20:15pm, and tomorrow is Sunday, I can‘t take my pants back, I will only be back in Germany in July!!!
I pack the pants in my suitcase, with the intention of letting them secretly disappear in the wardrobe.
About three weeks later I find the pants in the wardrobe, I had actually already forgotten about them. Ok, let‘s see, they‘re still too tight around the knee. I decide sew on a grosgrain ribbon, it looks really good. Just as I am trying the altered pants on, my husband comes into the room. „Have you lost weight?“ I can take the mickey out of people too… But he assures me that the pants look really great, that they make me look slimmer, and at that I‘m always the most beautiful in his eyes anyway…
So, now I own a pair of colourful pants. I have worn them several times, and I feel really comfortable. My girlfriends have also mentioned my weight loss, or is it because of the pants? Even some men have commented on the pants – unbelievable. A pair of colourful pants can change your life. Believe me Stefan, I never would have thought it!
And today, for the meeting, perhaps I‘ll wear the new pants, which aren‘t really new anymore. I hope to see you there!
See you, Isabella
Since then two years have gone by, mother passed away earlier this year, and I have, thanks to a diet powder, lost several kilos. I will never be a slim as I was, but in return I have relatively few wrinkles on my face, as long as I have slept well. I also have several colourful pants in the wardrobe that I wear from time to time.
Thank you, my dear, dear friend Stefan!