Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Memoir of a Plus Sized Child

I don’t know why memories pop into my mind like they do. They’re usually memories I’d rather forget but instead they insist on rearing their ugly heads from time to time, usually in the middle of the night when I’m trying to get some much needed sleep. My philosophy is that I remember so much because I tend to associate emotions with everything. I feel. I felt. And so I remember.

Last night, a memory popped up that I couldn’t even believe I remembered and I’m not really sure why it was still tucked away in a dusty box in my brain—except that there were feelings associated with it. And then I understood.

I was a school-age girl at the time, probably in second or third grade. My mom took me and my siblings shopping for new clothes because we were starting to outgrow the ones we had. We did this every year, but somehow this is my very first memory of it and I remember many more shopping trips after this one.

We were at Sears. I can still picture it. We walked in the entrance, the Photography studio was to the left and the children’s clothes were farther up to the right. The store smelled of rubber and there was a yellow glow from the overhead lights. The floor was light tan with flecks of color.

My mom and I looked through the little girl’s clothes. I probably tried some on. They didn’t fit. I remember my mom asking a store clerk if they had any larger clothes for girls, never in a way that made me feel badly about myself because I’m sure she was sensitive to how I must have felt, but I didn’t want to be near when she asked. And Sears did—they actually had a plus size section for girls.

The memory is hazy here. I don’t remember if these clothes fit me or not. I remember being anxious that there would never, ever be any clothes that would fit my ever growing body. What would I wear? There would be something, my mom would assure me. It was the first time of many, many times that I would have this kind of experience while shopping.

I remember eventually shopping in the misses section, so while other little girls were wearing the clothes that all little girls want to wear, I was wearing the “youngest” looking misses clothes that I could find—instead, often looking like I was dressed as a mother. Well, except for the time that I got to wear a junior’s size mini-skirt from a trendy store at the jealousy of my older sister who was begging my mom for clothes from this store. However, since I was a little girl, the light pink striped mini-skirt came to below my knees and fit me like a regular skirt. I felt special in that skirt.

I looked it up and Sears still has a plus size section for little girls. And while it makes me sad for the young girl who will most likely struggle with her weight for her entire life, it makes me happy that maybe she will be able to find a dress that makes her feel pretty. So she doesn’t feel like she stands out even more than she already does. So that she doesn’t have to worry about whether she will find clothes that fit her, but can just be a child without a care in the world.

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