Simple and whimsical daisies

I walked a few steps backwards to peer through the window of a boutique shop today. The three plush headless mannequins were dressed in a mismatch of patterned skirts and tops, with large tote bags, summery yellows and blues. There were equally intricate postcards in the forefront, leaning on an assortment of tiny cardboard boxes wrapped with carefully placed bows. I decided to go in and was greeted by the cool air and friendly hellos. It is a cramped space with a long clothing rack lined up from the entrance with clothes on hangers on both sides, all the way to the two makeshift curtain changing rooms at the opposite end. 

The clothing wasn't my style, too colorful, too short, too long, too fast fashion, but I liked the tactile sensation of the various textures of fabrics on my fingertips as I perused. I stopped to examine a clean white long-sleeved collared shirt with one pocket on the front, a slightly translucent linen, with sparsely placed embroidered white daises, a simple and whimsical look. I was led to the available changing room, where I pinched a plastic pin to close the curtain. The motion reminded me of clipping the pins on a bag of crackers in our snacks cabinet.

Contemplating the reflection in the mirror, I heard a woman crying behind the other curtained room beside me. Her mother was in there with her, giving her commands to try on this and that, and the young woman whimpered that she gained a lot of weight and looks awful and the mirror makes her look even worse, while her mother pleaded to try one more dress and then perhaps pants and a blouse will be good enough for whatever event they are shopping for. Her sobs sounded like an echo rising from a deep dark well and made me feel sad and sorry. I could see the shifting of the light in the tiny crack in between the two curtains pulled tightly between us. While I buttoned and unbuttoned the shirt, I kept waiting to hear the mother shower her with compliments to make her feel better but those never came. 

I liked the way I looked in the shirt and how light it felt on my body. I stepped back out into the store and a few women squeezed past to avoid the discomfort of the sobs from behind the curtain. The girl's mother came out and was talking to the tall thin and fashionable woman who works there, explaining the situation and asking for advice on what to have her try on next. At the register, the cashier folded the shirt and told me she was surprised it was still there. It is a size Large and later I wondered, maybe that has some correlation. I can still hear the pitiful sobs of the girl in the changing room and while I feel sorry for her, I also feel a new found appreciation for myself knowing my fluctuating waistline doesn't define my self worth. 

A friend recently told me that I looked happy and healthy in a photo I shared with her. In the photo, I am standing behind my bicycle with a big grin on my face. Initially I felt a little sad, reading too much into the word healthy, assuming it implies I've gained weight because I have. Then I thought of the desperation in the sobbing I heard today and how heart-wrenching it was. I too am human and self conscious and insecure, but the older I get the more I appreciate my body and love myself as a whole regardless of its size.

On my walk home, I spoke with my mom on the phone and told her about the scene in the boutique and she told me - why of course, what's important is that you love yourself no matter what change your body is going through. She said it so matter of fact. I wish I had believed that when I was younger, because I truly believe it now. You're only young once. I wore a favorite pair of pants this week and by the time I came home, I exhaled in relief when I unzipped them. I could always put myself on an exercise and diet regimen, but I don't see it as important to my current quality of life.


  1. I have struggled with my weight for quite some time. A big part of becoming an adult for me has been accepting my appearance, being comfortable with it.
    I wish I had learnt sooner to be happy with my body, to be grateful for it. So much agony could have been done away with.

    I hope the poor girl who's sobbing in this story gets to the above truth, and quick. But the conditioning is so rigid, it takes decades to undo it.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I completely agree and also hope she will learn this lesson sooner rather than later. I wish I had learned to be gentle with myself earlier too.



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