When you get weight-loss surgery, you lose weight very quickly, especially at first. At a certain point, you are losing something like a clothing size every month or month and a half, and it is dizzying and crazy and bizarre and it is hard for your head to catch up, but more practically speaking, it is really hard for your wardrobe to catch up. How the hell are you supposed to keep yourself covered up when everything is falling off you?
You wear things that are eight sizes too large, is what you do, you dig through your closet looking for the “skinny” clothes you kept around because you were hoping someday you’d fit into them again, and when you’re getting on the bus you step on the hem of the elastic waisted skirt that’s hanging around your hips and you yank it down, inadvertently pantsing yourself in front of a busload of commuters, which is among the not-brightest and shiniest moments of your entire life.
Sometimes, you have to go buy new pants, or a new skirt, or something, anything to cover your ass. Sometimes you’ll have to attend an event and need to spend a lot of money on an outfit and you know it won’t fit you within a couple of weeks, and it feels outrageous, wasteful, frustrating and that, there, is the hidden cost of weight-loss surgery. Forget the “possible nutritional deficiencies when you are 107 years old,” the clothing bill is the real place you get it stuck to you. Consider that carefully!
Seriously, though, it felt very important and like a big deal; it was
frustrating to find something to wear every day, and when I was still
in larger sizes, thrift stores weren’t much help (unless I wanted
Christmas sweaters and tapered mom jeans) and even on sale,
plus-size clothing is always fairly spendy, and I was pretty much
pennies-in-the-bank-account broke from not working while I was
recovering from surgery.
And then, someone wrote me an email. She said, I have recently lost a
lot of weight, and have a lot of nice clothes. I would so love to give
them to you. She sent them to me, with no charge and no obligation
whatsoever–a beautiful, beautiful pink fancy dress, a full-length red
coat, a strapless dress, a few wonderful blouses and tees–so many
clothes, and all of them lovely, and well-fitting through the course of
a few sizes, all of it got me through very specific occasions in which
I would have otherwise been screwed (i.e., the winter, a wedding, a job
interview) at a time when I was broke and would have otherwise been
wrapped in a sheet.
Her generosity was stunning and I have never forgotten her kindness and
how much she helped me with something that seems kind of silly to talk
about, but was actually a huge and worrisome issue.
And now I have a bin full of good clothes, sitting next to my closet.
Stuff that doesn’t fit me any more, but is good stuff, well-made, some
of it expensive, all of it things I am sad I can’t wear any more. I
still have that beautiful coat, which I clung to long after it stopped
fitting correctly. A semi-formal bronze dress. So many clothes. And
what I need to do, clearly, is pay it forward. I need to find someone
to send it to. I don’t want to just donate it to a thrift store where
it’ll get marked up and resold–I want to give it to someone who needs
It’s a coat, a bunch of dresses, some formal, some jackets I loved
wearing to work, all from sizes about 18 through about 10. Do you need a pink dress for
a wedding, in a size 12? Are you cold and need a beautiful wool coat,
in a size 18? Do you know someone who would like a green corduroy
blazer, a cute cropped velvet blazer, a sparkly sequined cocktail gown?
Or do you know of a charity that will give the clothes directly to the
women who need them? Drop me a line or a note in the comments, please.
And thanks again, Beth, if you’re still reading. I hope you know it meant the world to me.