I happened to walk by a bag on the floor and picked it up. Discovering that it was the pair of the size 6 jeans I got on clearance ages ago, I held them up. They look really tiny, I thought to myself, frowning. But I put them on anyway to see how far I was from a comfortable zip up.
Last time I attempted this, there was a near pass out situation of stuffing and sucking. It wasn't pretty. So, step one was getting them on my legs which in my head and in real life are larger thanks to my years of dancing ballet when I was a youngster, and now spin. I love my legs; they are super shapely. But as I have mentioned before, are not "skinny jean" friendly. Surprisingly they went on rather easily. I expected them to be tighter around my calves. Okay, all the way up, I thought. Okay, that wasn't a heinous experience, but can I zip them? To my amazement I could button and zip them without pain, laying down, twisting or sucking. (Come on, you know what I am talking about. ;)
So now I am here to say, I have gone from a 16 to a 6 in jeans and there is no way I could have done it would spark. But now that I am thinking about it...why I am so surprised, I don't know. I have been shrinking my 8s in the dryer best I can for a while. (BTW, always by low rise and when you lose weight, they shrink the best in the dryer because the rise doesn't get all funky and get all mom jean looking.) But the idea of saying I wear a 6 in pants, jeans, skirts is quite unfathomable in may ways. It is a long way from the plus size stores and departments I always shopped in before this past year. It is a long way from my status as the fat sister (although I still own that title, thanks to the model looking one I have). It is a long way from the person I had grown accustomed to calling "Melissa".
So who is this new Melissa? Well, I am working to figure that one out. Parts of me are very much the same. And parts of me are reconciling that inside with the outside. Seriously, why can't I accept that those jeans looked like my size instead of seeing them as too small when I held them up? Some days I struggle to feel good enough, not worthy of certain things. It is rare for me, but I am human and it happens. This week has been full of those moments.
It has been really hard this week because I had to make a decision to leave teaching. CA education sucks, and it is not getting better. My district laid off another 43 this week, with no recalls slated. That means that the sub pool will be bigger and I only average 5 days a month as it is. My varied work history can't get me a permanent contract. My 4 degrees, including 3 credentials and a M. Ed. in Digital Teaching and Learning can't get me a contract. My love of teaching can't get me a contract. And my 5 days a month can't pay my bills, let alone when they cut me again to give all the laid off teachers priority over me. So, maybe someday CA will get their act together enough and need teachers again. But right now, a girl's got to eat and pay her bills. And I got a random offer to run a new vet's office and be their tech girl, with benefits. (I have a really unusual and varied background.) So that is where I will go. Who knows where this door with this new body (in progress) will take me. It didn't make me cry any less on Monday when I saw the kids I had in my class last year and thought about how that was probably the last time I would see them and teach them. :( But life goes on, and so will I. I always have. I am stronger than this. If I survived everything that has been thrown my way so far, from unexpected death to illness and back again, I can handle a rather disappointing temporary shift in my career calling. And hey, I still have my size 6 to smile about! Absolutely nothing can take that away from me or stop me from progressing further!