Megan over at Good with Cheese got me all excited for fall this morning so I shelled out $5.40 (HOLY SHIT) for a venti, nonfat, triple shot, three-pump, no-whip pumpkin spice latte* at Starbucks on the way to work. We’re getting free pizza for lunch today because it’s Rosh Hashanah**, and I was treated to lunch and dinner yesterday so my weekly allowance was burning a hole in my pocket and, well, hello delicious $5.40 cup of coffee. Welcome to my belly. And I have September Girls by Big Star in my head, which is an awesome improvement over the Foreigner/Phil Collins medley that was running through there yesterday. Things, as they say, are good.
So despite my boundless joy at the arrival of fall in Chicago, my upcoming weekend is not without stress. You see, I have a job interview on Tuesday. This is good news! This is my first post-graduation real job interview opportunity, and it’s going to be good experience even if I don’t get the job. But I don’t have a suit. Or at least, I don’t have a suit that fits me.
Some very brief history: a have this suit, see. My mother bought if for me. It’s the standard issue law student black three-piece suit, suitable for interviews, mock oral arguments, and networking events. When I bought it, it was a little tight across the back but I was planning to, and did, lose weight so that it fit just fine. For about a minute. Then I gained the weight back, the suit got too tight, and as a result took on this terrible significance. It became symbolic of my success as a legal professional, my success at weight loss, my value as a human being… if I could only fit into that fucking suit, the law journals would publish my articles, CALI awards would be mine for the asking, and job offers would rain down from the heavens.
So I lost weight, again, and fit back into the suit. For about a minute. Then came exams and the bar and the return of all not only the weight I’d lost to get back into the suit, but almost all the weight I’d lost on my last big Weight Watchers endeavor three years ago. I had a couple near-nervous breakdowns and finally some wonderful things happened involving my self-conception and a realization that I can just love this body instead of constantly torturing it into being something that it clearly does not want to be and I gave the suit away to a beautiful and dear friend who wears it well.
And then I got a job interview, which I knew was coming eventually, and now I just need to find a suit that fits my body instead of insisting that my body fit that damn suit. Which would be no problem except that I’m going to visit my family this weekend, thus requiring me to go suit shopping with my mother. Who bought me the talismanic size 12 success suit. Who put me on my first diet. Who is naturally petite and who never quite understood what to do with her smart, lovely, but incurably fat daughter.
I’m already a little nervous about going home because I plan to “come out as fat” (thanks to on-reserve!) and let my mom know that I am done with dieting, done with self-created and self-perpetuating disordered eating, and ready to enjoy my body instead of battling it. She loves me dearly, and I think she will be accepting of my decision if that’s what makes me happy. But then I’m asking her to put a financial stamp of approval on my decision and by my beloved fat body an interview suit.***
Also? We have totally opposite taste in clothing and she has spent my entire life trying to force me into outfits that she likes. I just keep having flashbacks to a particular shopping trip when I was about nine years old. We’d gone to Penny’s and all I wanted in the whole world were this pair of jeans with a roller skate appliqué, complete with actual laces, on the back pocket. All she kept picking out for me were these horrific plaid smocked-top, lace-trimmed dresses from the “husky” section. After an hour of this, I just started bawling in the dressing room because 1) omg husky????? and 2) Mom, I’m already having enough trouble at school because I’m fat. Are you really seriously going to dress me like a chubby Little House extra? Not only did we leave the store with no school clothes, the memory of that shopping trip haunted every other joint shopping venture we ever attempted. Eventually, the specter of my adult self reduced to tears in a Macy’s dressing room while my mother shoved kindergarten teacher smock dresses under the door at me so revolted us both that we just stopped clothes shopping together.
Until now, when forced by circumstances we must embark together to procure that most dreadful article of tailored modern clothing. Failure is just not an option, unless I want to cruise into my first professional lawyer job interview wearing a wrap dress, orange tights, and clogs. Which is really something I’d feel safer busting out after I get hired.
*I feel like such a heel saying this, but I’ve noticed that the Starbucksers seem to like it better when I speak Starbucks instead of fumbling my way through the order in standard English: “Ummm… I’ll have a large latte, but with skim milk, and an extra shot of espresso, and like half of that syrup stuff. Oh oh oh and no whipped cream.” Saying “venti, nonfat, triple shot, three-pump, no-whip pumpkin spice latte” might make me feel like a dingaling, but it’s certainly more efficient.
**Most of the senior partners here are semi-observant Jews, so us left-behind Gentiles usually get free pizza on high holidays as a consolation prize for not being one of the Chosen People.
***I’m just assuming she’s going to buy it, since that’s how she do, although I’m perfectly able and happy to buy it myself.