It's 4:26am and I've already tried on a pair of jeans and made a pot of coffee. I woke up at 3:30. There are nights when I roll over and go back to sweet slumber. And there are nights when I roll over and this little voice in my head says, "Game on, sister." And I know there will be no more sleep for me...
Today, when I rolled over and had those 30 seconds to shut down my brain and drift back off – I, instead, thought about a pair of jeans. Yes. I said jeans. I am “thinker” and my thoughts are often random at this time of the early morning. So what popped in my mind was yesterday afternoon. I had dug out this particular pair of jeans, from the bottom of the pile in my closet, to see if Sophia wanted them. I haven't worn them in forever. I'd actually forgotten about them. She decided she didn't like the way they fit. So I shoved them back to the bottom of the pile and went over to my neighbor’s house to see her Christmas decorations.
As we sat and visited, we complained to each other about our daughters getting in to our closets and wearing our clothes and using our makeup. And thought of those jeans again.
I got those jeans in the winter of 2009. I had been training really hard, my diet was very clean and I had leaned out a bit. So I did what I always do when I'm feeling good about my body. I spent way too much money on a pair of jeans -- in the size that would represent my hard work. In the size that would haunt me when they began to feel a bit tight. And this usually happens at some point. My jeans don't generally allow for much wiggle room (literal wiggle room) in weight fluctuations.
Anyway, while I was laying in bed, wishing I could go back to sleep, I remembered those jeans. I reminisced with them.
The first time I wore them, I was hanging out with a friend. I remember this because it was a week day and I was wearing "real" clothes. This sticks in my mind because I pretty much wear workout clothes Monday through Friday. I was also wearing a tee-shirt I'd paid way too much for at a Cabi Party. The tee-shirt was a "buy something because it’s my friends party" peer pressure purchase. I recall thinking how much I overpaid for that dang shirt, but thinking the jeans were worth every penny. I felt good in those jeans.
I wore them to Thanksgiving at Mom's. When I walked in the house she said to me, "I think you're too thin, Lori." I disagreed. I said, "Strong girls are lean mom, not skinny." And I felt good in those jeans.
I wore them on my 40th birthday. I thought, I'm forty, and it doesn't bother me. Age is just a number. I felt good in those jeans.
And then I remembered the day I went to put on those jeans and they were saying some very mean things to me. Things like, "Lori, you've been eating crappy carbs." and "You've spent more time training others than yourself lately." And then they yelled "Time to dial it in, chunky monkey!" I looked in the mirror, wearing those jeans, and they mocked me. They made that terrible line across the back of my legs that resembled a sneer instead of a crease -- and made me feel like my thighs were wrapped in sausage casing instead of denim. I peeled them off my body. I glared at myself, and then glared at those jeans. I folded them up and shoved them to the bottom of the pile -- because, I no longer felt good in those jeans. And then, I began the journey towards denim salvation once again.
Is my entire self esteem wrapped up in a pair of jeans? No. But do I care? Yes. A lot. I consider my jeans a representation of my training and a good diet. They are a yardstick, so to speak. They tell me when I need to work a little harder and eat a little better. They are a gauge. And they are unforgiving. They tell me what I need to hear, whether I like it or not. They are blatantly honest. I can take them or leave them. But either way, they will not budge in their assessment of me.
So, did these jeans ever fit again? Of course. But by then the love affair with them was over and it was time to buy a new pair. Life keeps moving forward and sometimes we leave things behind that we once loved. And these new jeans? I feel good in these jeans.
But today at 3:30am, I rolled over and thought of those old jeans. And how they have stayed the same, but nothing else in my life has. I tiptoed to my closet and grabbed them. I just had to know... I slipped them on. I looked in the mirror. They brought me back to a different time. And I smiled. Those jeans smiled back. They told me I'm doing something right.
Will I put them back at the top of the pile? No. They will remain folded up memories. But for those two minutes this morning? You know what?
I felt good in those jeans.