Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never, Ever Letting the Monkey Off My Back

This is my favorite nightshirt.  Yes, it is kind of ridiculous and certainly isn't at all appealing to the opposite sex, but every time I see it, it makes me smile.  Why?  Because I've been wearing this monkey shirt since 1988 when I was 10 years old and in fifth grade.  

I still have fond memories of a Gap green and white striped jacket that I loved that my mom heartlessly disposed of just because it grew to look like it came out of Little Orphan Annie's rag bin.  When I look at pictures of a particularly lovely polka dot skirt I wore in high school, I feel like I'm looking at an old friend.  Don't even get me started on how attached I am to my own peculiar brand of socks (white anklets, very thin and soft like the ones you wore when you were four years old).  I can admit it:  I am weird about clothes.

Thankfully, I am also a great hater of clutter so I don't have gigantic black garbage bags of clothes of all sizes in my storage room.  I probably have less clothes than anyone I know, but still I hang on to old monkey nighty.  It may be threadbare and worn and still have stains from when I did paint-by-number in it in sixth grade, and the formerly very trendy puffy paint outline is now broken and cracked, but it's an old friend and I refuse to let it go.  Like I said, I'm weird.

When I was over 300 pounds, I used to dream of shopping at the Gap.  The last time I had fit in their clothes was in eighth grade, and even that was stretching it.  I hated Lane Bryant and The Avenue and hated their tell-tale bags and limited selection of clothes.  I'd pass store windows at the mall and think, "I can't wait to be able to walk in there and try that on."

This is from August of 2007 and it was my first Gap outfit.  Annie and I ran through a storm to get to the store because for some reason I had decided I just HAD to shop at a "regular" clothing store that night.  I practically cried in the dressing room when those pants fit me.  It felt like such an accomplishment that day, like a graduation or something.

Fast forward six months or so and I realized how much I missed Lane Bryant and The Avenue.  I felt so much more comfortable there, having worked my way up to a size 28 and then back down to a 14.  When I walked into the Gap, I felt like the fattest elephant in the room.  My old standby stores felt like home.

As the weight came off, I started complaining openly about how annoying it was to need new clothes.  People were shocked, telling me that it should feel great to get new cute things that actually fit.  I just missed my purple shirt, my grey sweatshirt, my old jeans.  Watching bag after bag of too-large clothing pile up just made me so sad.  It was absolutely ridiculous, but the feelings were real.

I've been in pretty much the same size now for the last year, a 14 or 16 at regular stores.  Last week, I ran into Lane Bryant to buy a bra (yes, the ladies are still plus-size, for better or for worse.  It saves me in traffic tickets, I suppose).  I found myself looking wistfully at all the cute clothes at Lane Bryant and even slipped into the dressing room to try a 14/16 W dress on.  It didn't fit, and part of me was disappointed.

There is a part of me that doesn't want to get any smaller because I don't want to get rid of clothes I am comfortable in.  I'm sure some of this is caused by Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which I'm going to write about another time, but part of it is that I know myself in certain outfits and not having them makes me feel weird and a little bit lost.  This has definitely been one of the weirdest things about losing 100 pounds.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one who struggles with it.  

One thing I know for sure.  I will have my monkey nighty even if I am a size 6.  It fit me when I was ten years old and then all the way up the scales, and it will fit me all the way back down.  


  1. The picture on the "monkey nighty" is also disturbingly sexual.

  2. what about the tongue out then? How do you explain that? No monkey gets that excited about a banana.

  3. Not even Jessica Marie?

  4. Oh god, I am so thankful I'm not the only one! I spent an hour a few weeks ago trying on clothes at Lane Bryant. The 14/16 was still too big but it felt good to be back where the clothes and people made sense. It was comforting, like being home...and that was scary!

  5. It is scary! We're both weirdos ;)