Aspen Princess: Now this is a stretch
February 16, 2017
So the other day I bought a good-fitting bra for the first time ever. This is just another one of the big life lessons I've only recently figured out.
I was in Minnesota with Ryan's family for his cousin's wedding last week and I was talking to Mimi about what I thought were stretch marks.
"Look here, on my chest," I said, pulling my shirt down so she could see. "See those three lines? I thought they were creases at first from sleeping on it funny. But then they never went away!"
"No," she began, as Ryan's mom often does, with conviction. "Those are not stretch marks. It's because your bra doesn't fit right. You need one that separates you more."
It's true my body has changed a lot since I had the baby, but so has my attitude toward my body. Here are a few other things I wish I would have figured out a long time ago:
1) The shoe always fits.
For as long as I can remember, I thought the goal was to fit into the smallest possible clothes. As a result, my closet is like a damned clothing store, with jeans in virtually every size, from the five minutes I was a size 26 to those weeks I stubbornly refused to buy maternity clothes. But it occurred to me that maybe I don't have to walk around with my waistband tattooed into my flesh or wear pants that feel like sausage casings. Rather than spend half my life in a hot yoga studio to get rid of that muffin top, I can just buy a bigger size. Also, if you can't lose 5 pounds, I say gain 5 inches. A pair of nice, comfy platform shoes is all you need to bring the ol' silhouette back into proportion and the good news is, you can actually breathe.
2) Invest in a good bra.
Truth be told, I was always pretty small-chested. I'd bust out the big guns and wear a padded bra when I wanted the cleavage effect, and it never ceased to amaze me how stupid men really are. Sure, it's false advertising, but if all you want me for are my boobs, then you deserve what you get for being that superficial.
Then I had a baby, and even though I breast-fed for about 10 minutes, it was long enough to grow me a nice set of badoongas. (Yes, I just made that up.) I've never had boobs before, so I'm not going to pretend I don't like them or complain that they're too big. It's just not exactly what Playboy centerfold fantasies are made of, if I'm being honest. I knew I needed some help when the ol' squish-and-lift didn't result so much in sexy cleavage but creased chest skin. Enter my mother-in-law who loaded me into her Lincoln sedan and escorted me to a lingerie store at the Rosedale Mall where low and behold, I learned that I am now a proud 36C and they do make bras with a racerback to wear with a tank top. Gone was the indent from wires digging into my skin. No more too-tight straps or worse, straps that fall off my shoulder all the livelong day. Bye-bye, armpit fat bulge and what I thought were stretch marks. Hello fitted shirts and fully restored female ego: tits up, chin up.
3) Take care of your hair and skin.
It occurred to me recently that I'm never going to be skinny again, and I'm likely never going to be anywhere that warrants it (think: nightclubs, red carpets, modeling casting calls). These days, I'm more about face time than nighttime, and so I'm pretty sure the focus is going to be from the neck up. Despite what you see, I was not born with this hair. It takes a lot of maintenance to tame the Jew 'fro from a frizzy, wavy (and not in a good way) dishwater brown mess into what most of my WASP friends were born with: straight, blonde hair. Oh, no. I have to color, straighten and condition the piss out of my locks in order to get them to look like this, but when you're rocking yoga pants nine days out of 10, you at least better have good hair. I also got my first real facial a few months ago, and even though I almost passed out when she told me how much it cost (for laser, resurfacing, extractions and basically pouring battery acid on my skin to make it better) it was worth it. I mean, if I'm pushing 50 it might be time to deal with those zits that make me look like a teenager, and not in a good way.
4) Love your body, don't fight it.
There's this photo of me from when I was about 10 years old. We're on vacation in Florida, and I was wearing a navy blue Speedo with white stripes up the sides. I'm sitting in the grass with my mouth wide open, sort of staring off into space. It's not the most flattering photo, far from the ruddy-cheeked, freckle-dusted, wispy-haired photos I've seen of my girlfriends when they were young. But here's the thing: I still look the same. I still have the same round belly, the same short legs and strong thighs, the same delicate ankles and small feet. Jeans never quite fit me quite right. My dad once said, "You're a little thick through the midsection, honey." And he was right. My inseam is actually 6 inches smaller than my waist — technically, I am round.
At the end of the day, it's nothing a good pair of shoes, a laser facial and Rita at Queen B can't fix. And more importantly, I've finally accepted myself for who I am and for the first time in my life, I don't have any desire to change it.
The Princess is obsessed with baby shoes. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.