Empty Style

When she was five, she wore a purple polka dot bikini, prompting her best friend’s grandpa to christen her Miss America. At a doctor’s appointment, she soon learned of a thing called “fat” and how it made others mean and ashamed. It was a word used to describe her, and she never wore a bikini again. Instead she wore leggings and colorful tunics or shapeless dresses procured from garage sales.  She was a majorette who marched in her small town’s centennial parade wearing white shorts that were too big in the hips and went down to her knees, while her fellow twirlers lifted their knees in time with their skinny mid-thighs bare and proud.

When she was 10, she owned just a few articles of clothing that fit: a pair of jeans, black shorts, and a homemade denim skirt that was quickly going out of fashion. She was able to rotate four tops she had in order to make different outfits. She was still called fat, but now she was also called poor. What she sh0uld have been called was neglected.

When she was 17, she secured her first job and soon, her first credit card. Gone were the teenage years of wearing men’s surf shirts and jeans as she was able to patronize retail establishments with clothes that fit her fat, shameful, poor, neglected body.  She found boot cut jeans, a lace shirt she later wore to a Madonna concert, a purple v-neck top with bell sleeves that she wore until it unraveled.  Soon she bought her first pantsuit- black and pinstriped- and it was in that suit she secured her first professional job and launched her career.

When she was 30, her frame had lost nearly 100 pounds and a size 8 fit her like a dream. She indulged in beautiful wrap dresses, vintage-inspired dresses, a sumptuous purple blazer, and knee high brown leather boots that laced up the front. No longer was she seen as that shameful, ugly, mean thing called “fat” that she learned about from the pediatrician all those years ago. Instead others saw her as a competent, attractive, desirable, well-dressed professional woman, who flitted down the halls of the company turning all of the men’s heads and little else. Her rare style may have beckoned to them, but inside she was still full of walls made from bricks of shame, neglect, and ugliness. The men ran into this wall on the regular, and so she spent her time alone, adorned with style but without the love, companionship, and connections that enrich a life and fill it with joy.

(In response to Daily Prompt: Stylish )

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