In the lingerie department at Nordstrom a sales clerk brought me a couple of bras to try on. They were not the pretty bras that I wore in my 20s; they were the functional type. She left me in peace to try them on and make a decision on whether or not to purchase them. I looked in the mirror at my image and wondered how it all happened.
I already had the answer. It was aging. “After you reach 40…” my doctor had said, “the hormones change and your body responds…” Screw change – I’ve already had more than my share of it.
I always thought that your breasts got smaller as you aged. They aren’t needed anymore for feeding babies. Mine aren’t needed for *anything* anymore. I guess Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor. Rather than just letting them shrink away, she changes the breast glands to fat. Fluffy fat cells are taking over all of my body.
I lingered in the department, looking at the pajamas on the sales racks. The more I looked, the more depressed I got. I’ve been wearing my grandma’s flannel nightgown to bed for years now. It’s not real flattering, but they are comfortable and warm. The problem with Nordstrom’s pajamas section is that the pjs are either too sexy or too much like grandma’s old lady pjs.
While I want to shed the dumpy look, I can’t be wearing sexy pjs while in a house of raging boy hormones. I just wanted something soft and pretty. I finally selected a pink shirt that would go with the pajama pants that I have at home. It will do for now. By the time I checked out at the register tears were filling my eyes.
I took my bag of ugly bras and the pink shirt from the sales clerk, then I walked *briskly* out of the store, through the mall, and towards the parking lot. All around me were Christmas decorations and happy shoppers, strolling along as slowly as they possibly could. These people were what was between me and the safety of my van. I wanted to plow right through them and yell at them. MOVE IT. I wanted to call someone who would just listen.
As I tumbled out of the mall, I was greeted by the guy ringing his bell. I shot him a look that said, “don’t even ask” and retreated to my van. The holiday decorations oozed through the doors and spilled out into the parking lot. How would I come back to get presents for the boys? How was I going to get through this holiday season? Suddenly, sleeping through November and December seemed possible.
I searched for the number of Tom’s oldest sister. I dialed and waited. No answer. Think, search, dial, wait. I was not dialing Lisa, one of my best friends who moved too far away. There was no answer. You know it isn’t just anyone that you can call to complain about your swelling, painful breasts, ugly bras and boring pjs. I dialed again, and waited while pleading for her to please answer the phone.
“Hello,” she said. I talked and she listened. She said that she wished that she could do something. “You have,” I said, “you answered your phone and said hello to me.” That was all that I needed.
Really, sexy bras and pretty pjs aren’t that big of a deal. It’s not like I had these things when my husband was alive. It’s more about the feelings that rise to the top when I think that I am doing so well. It’s like bile in your throat just before you’re going to vomit. It’s overwhelming, but there is a solution – go to a quiet spot and let it come out.