Our Bodies are Changing...

Today at Gather, the consignment shop where I work, a woman came in and spent a half-hour perusing the racks. She was very thorough, filing through all of the racks-- small, medium, and large. She diligently sorted through the sale rack. In the end, she took only one dress into the dressing room. It's a dress I've been eyeing for months-- a long silk multi-patterned v-neck with bell sleeves. It's a dress that would not suit my body, but I was excited for it to belong to someone.

The woman went into the dressing room and came out to where I was standing. She stood in the entryway to the dressing rooms shyly. "Does this work?" She asked me. She looked stunning. The fitted patchwork of patterns hung perfectly on her body.

"I can't tell," she said, "because my body is changing with...." Here she hesitated. "My body is changing as I get older," she said. Then she pointed to her belly, the part of her body that many women in midlife struggle with. It struck me that she didn't say menopause, though we both knew that this was what she was referring to.

"I get it," I said, "My body is changing too and you really look wonderful in that dress."

Another customer in the dressing room next to the woman's echoed my praises and the decision was made. We chatted as I rang up her purchase and she told me that she was buying this dress to wear to her son's wedding. The original wedding has been during COVID and she had not been able to go-- just the bride and groom did the ceremony in a national park on top of a mountain. Her daughter-in-law's dress had the same colors as the dress she was purchasing and she was excited about that.

We talked a bit more about how shopping for her has changed because her body is so different now. I get it. Most women my age get it. No matter what we do, how we eat, or exercise, changes happen.

The problem is not that our bodies are changing, it is that the changes are unwelcome. Being young, maintaining that young body status quo is what is expected of us, regardless of our age. But that's crazy. We're done with our reproductive years. Our bodies are getting more comfortable, more relaxed, parallelling the path many of us are on in other areas of our lives. At this stage in life, we deserve a little relaxation and comfort.

Seeing this beautiful woman doubt herself so much made me angry. She was beautiful. The