No, this isn’t my actual closet. But wouldn’t it be pretty if it were?

profundity: noun.

1. intellectual depth, 2. the quality or state of being profound or deep

I have a confession.  I – originally a very girly girl – have been walking around for some time looking awful.  Not because I don’t have the slightest clue what is flattering or cute.  But because, for so long now, I just haven’t cared.  I have this syndrome some chubby girls get in which I tend to procrastinate buying clothing out of the  desire to buy them “after I lose some weight”.  Intellectually, I’m aware this isn’t a good attitude.  I’m just saying it happens.  Some of us visualize the ideal “me” we want to be and don’t want to acknowledge the needs of the current “me” we are.

I did something shocking in recent weeks.  Shocking and so unlike myself that the word “profundity” comes to mind.

I threw out my entire wardrobe and bought a new one.

It was the realization that someone might get desperate enough to nominate me for What Not to Wear that made me realize I needed a change.  Although not extreme in the kooky or sleazy sense, I’ve looked tired for ages and in dire need of new duds.  But my illness earlier this year forced my hand.  I had been hearing people tell me it looked like I was losing weight, but thought it was maybe 5 or 6 pounds.  Turns out, it was 34.  And, following the death of my father in May, I lost even more.  My clothes – which were limited in quantity to begin with – were falling off of me.   (I’m still thankful it was just my BFF with me when I had that embarrassing tankini malfunction, but that’s a story I refuse to ever tell you.)

So, with a goal of mix and match separates and adding some color to my style, I headed out with a couple of friends and a 30% off the entire store coupon from Kohls– including sales/clearance.  In the spirit of What Not to Wear – though without the $5,000 budget and designer clothing stores – I shopped from the skin up.

I was shocked to discover stress had eaten two entire dress sizes off of me in the months preceding and just following Callum’s diagnosis and the death of my father.  Typically, stress adds weight to me — which is how I got chubby to begin with.  (Peanut butter fudge is a most efficient caloric source, you know.)  But that was before Callum.  Worry for one’s child is a whole different kind of stress.  One I never imagined back in my single days when I thought I had problems.  The loss of my daddy just magnified it.

Instead of gaining weight, it just melted off.  And, though ready for the runway I’m decidedly not, shopping was a lot more fun than 40 pounds ago.  I like the clothes out this season so much more than a couple of years ago.  And I realized it was time for a cool change. I picked things I liked, with fun colors, and bold prints.  I chose dressier clothes, so that I wouldn’t be as tempted to schlep around.

I bought a whole new closet.  And, since I’d done all that, I went and had my hair colored and highlighted. Then I pulled out my rarely-used-of-late makeup brushes and makeup and dusted them off.  And now I know a little how those folks on WNTW feel when they return for their “reveal”.  People were thrilled to pieces.  My coworkers got excited.  My boss was beside herself.  And my little girl, who I confess has rarely seen her own mama dress up, was mesmerized and told me I looked beautiful.  Another “layer of understanding” if ever there were one.

No, not all mothers of autistic children are sloppy dressers.  Many look fabulous.  It wasn’t autism’s fault.  It certainly wasn’t my son’s fault.  Autism didn’t make me stop trying.  I did that.  That’s on me.  I avoided shopping and stopped looking cute long before my son came along, so the only cause for blame is my own rather listless reaction to stress.  Yes, of course there are medical labels for such phenomenon.  But, I’m too busy to go seek one.  And the end result is the same regardless.  As with our children, call it what you want.  The question is always, “What are you going to do about it?”.

I, for one, am going to do better.  Not because I view looking well as a noble characteristic — but because I see it as a necessary one.  I cannot just fall apart or walk around looking as if I might.  I have to enjoy my life – or I won’t be able to enjoy him as much as he deserves.  I, like female shoppers in dark parking lots, have to look the part of someone who could take on the world.  Because I really do have to take on a world.


So, there you have it.  My new clothes.  My new return to feeling girly.  My new determination to not forget myself again.  I never thought the clothes hanging in my closet were symbolic in any way.  But they are.  And, though my new assets are depreciating ones, I’d still say they are a heck of an investment.

FYI:  Later in the day that I published this post, I was contacted by a very nice lady affiliated with Kohl’s (and also has autism in her family) who wanted to wanted to offer my readers a discount they can use online.  It is a 10% off code that can be stacked with other department discounts.  You can use this code until October 24th.  UBLOGTEN

And, no – for you suspicious types, I am not affiliated with Kohl’s in any way myself, nor are they paying me for linking to them or sharing the code.  I just dig their stores and thought you guys might like the discount.  🙂

13 responses »

  1. Manic Mom says:

    Great post that I needed to read. I am at the point of feeling overwhelmed with Autism, with homeschooling and having Lupus. I do let myself be the last to get something new, or showered, to get dressed, but the first one to eat. I have packed on the weight and I know it’s because I have forgotten that I matter too. Without me in a healthy place how helpful can I really be? I need to make a change………

  2. I looooooove that closet! That’s my dream 🙂 you are right there are times where we just don’t care because of our situation. I was just like that. And even though I didn’t really blame it on my autistic son at the back of my mind he was the reason I didn’t care. But now I do. And we should all do. If we can’t take care of ourselves then ultimately we won’t be able to take care of our kids…love your posts.

  3. It sounds like you are welcoming the girly-girl back with open arms. As a girly tomboy, who occasionally “doesn’t care” because I’m a little chubbier than I would like, mad props to you!

  4. Becky Campos says:

    Thank you! I have been in that very situation lately. I was thinking of blaming it on being busy with our autistic daughters… but I can’t it’s me. THANK YOU! 🙂

  5. Patty says:

    I love this post for so many reasons! I can totally relate! I have put off getting new clothes for over a year now, because i keep waiting until the weight melts off (unfortunately, that is one part of the post I cannot relate to. Oh well). And I have been schlumpy for far too long. Stress adds to it.

    I have been trying to make small changes and they make a big difference. Thanks for the reminder that it is worth it to take care of myself!

  6. Lynne Pardi says:

    Good for you, Leigh!! I’m sorry the weight came off for the reasons it did, but so happy for you that you look and feel great now. There truly is a major connection between how we look (to ourselves) and how we feel; and, how we feel certainly affects our ability to function and get things done! “Looking the part” is very empowering! Heck, Clark Kent was nerdy and shy and tripped over his own feet until he put that cape & bodysuit on!! I plan to try hard to follow your example. I do the same thing you did– put off buying clothes “until I lose weight.” It’s a new season and time to hit the stores!

  7. When medication made me plonk on the pounds two years ago I spent more money than I actually had in nightwear alone! When my meds were changed the weight just melted away and so I wound up having to buy yet more clothing.

    I’m quite a girly girl who likes to wear flirty skirts with long boots and leggings. I like kooky sundresses and little wrap jackets. I like maxi skirts/dresses, anything retro-60’s/70’s and anything with an asymmetrical, floaty hem.

    I am also never seen in public without my black trilby, or my nice warm beanie in the winter.

    I don’t tend to do make-up though. Can’t be arsed lol!

    Where are the pictures? 😀

  8. tstarmom says:

    So glad you went on a shopping spree and splurged on yourself! Weight loss that just kind of happens is the best kind. (If you’re going to be sad and stressed, you might as well get skinny in the process!) 🙂 My appearance has been gradually going downhill for the past year and I can so relate to genuinely not caring and waiting to buy clothes until you lose a couple of lbs! But for the past couple of weeks I’ve found if I just do the little things – make up, going to sleep at a reasonable hour, clean hair, a 20 minute walk – I feel so much happier and capable. I’m taking a bio-medical approach with my son, who has apraxia, and it is proving to be more stressful than I ever imagined. I know I need to be 100% if I am going to make it out sane, so I’ve been taking the time to take care of myself as well. Great post – even though my son does not have autism, your words always hit home with me.

  9. Sara says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen!!! 🙂
    Kidding… but would love to see some before/after pics! I’m happy you did this for yourself – you needed it! it’s hard sometimes to remember to take care of ourselves. Have to remember to keep a little balance.

  10. Lisa says:

    Good for you!!!! We need some pictures! Hope you continue to enjoy your new wardrobe!

  11. Marlene says:

    Wow! How inspiring. I’ve been in a hate relationship with myself over the past few years as the weight has been piling on. With added stress I generally don’t gain, but this time, in this part of my life, it has happen. You’ve inspired me to rethink where I’m headed if I continue on this track.Despite the daily mounting stress of my Mom’s aging, illness and needed care, along with caring for my adult son with autism, I haven’t had many moments without stress lately, nor have I been able to take some ‘me’ time. But, after reading about your transformation, I am definitely going to renew my vigil on ‘taking care of myself, too’. Now, it’s time for me to think ‘girly’. Thank you for your new chapter and always hold that ‘girly’ thought.

  12. Kris says:

    So happy that you are taking care of yourself and feeling good about yourself. Something a lot of moms need to remember to do! Enjoy feeling pretty and girly. 😉

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