Dukan Day five: 6 lbs lost.
Dukan Day Six: 1.5 lbs gained.
Dukan Day Seven: no change.I went to a garden show at the weekend. For the past four years I've been attending this wonderful festival of everything floral with my mother and sister. I had invited my mother and sister to stay for the weekend and thus spent much more than Dr. Dukan's suggested twenty minutes engaged in serious house-cleaning exercises after work on Friday. Unfortunately pushing my mother's wheelchair and walking for eight hours straight at a time meant I was unable to do any exercise except gentle stretching on Sunday. Ah, well...
This year my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law came to the show, too. They came on a tour but in today's era of mobile connectivity we were able to meet without much of a problem.
Saturday began with a delightful total of six pounds lost - almost half a stone in four days! It definitely made choosing something to wear easier: a dress that hadn't fit a week ago now draped elegantly over my stomach and hips. My surprise at the fit was re-doubled by my surprise at the pleasure I felt to get into this dress again. I have an overflowing wardrobe composed of various different-sized outfits, all of which have fitted me at various times, for various occasions. I suppose I could have re-cycled them but some have sentimental value and so I held on to them, no longer pretending I would fit into them but unable to part with them, either.
When we moved to Dublin I re-cycled some of these clothes, resolutely determined to 'de-clutter my life', succumbing to the contemporary oracular mantra. To my enduring regret, I recycled a favourite outfit that I had worn during my first pregnancy. It's irreplaceable: a portfolio piece made by a final-year fashion student in the National College of Art and Design. I loved it and wore it on nights out during that extraordinary summer I was pregnant for the first time. It drew much comment from our friends and anyone who saw it. Looking back, I wonder if this was another exercise in concealment: 'Look at what I'm wearing! Not my bump!'
I miss this so much. One friend called it a 'clown suit' - it was batik-ed sand-grey fabric, with irregular splotches of vibrant colour, in a wide tunic and pants, with the sleeves and legs open at the outer seams. Instead of being cut along straight lines, the seam edges were cut like a sine wave with each peak held together by bright plastic buttons. I had no worries about fitting into it even at nine months, because the waistline was tied with a cord and the pants were extremely generous. Wearing it, I felt fun and sexy and content. It was peekaboo; it was boogaloo; it remained outrageous however much I proclaimed its suitability and practicality as maternity wear. I wore it with pride, reclaiming my carefree 'student' persona, while living out the reality of marriage and embryonic parenthood.
Years later, looking for something generous and unforgiving to wear for work, I discovered that the designer had returned to Ireland and her range of clothes were available to buy locally. Overjoyed, I bought a cream skirt, asymmetrical top and wrap immediately. Since then, I have periodically bought other pieces from the range but I believed nothing could give me quite the same pleasure as that original costume, until last February. After a fall, I was crocked: unable to put on tights, boots or underwear without a circus performer's contortions. I gazed upon my chock-full wardrobe and wondered what on earth I could possibly wear to work that wouldn't involve chaotically painful experimentation?
... This time there are no funky buttons just warm glass beads; the seams are curved not in a sine wave but in an hour-glass shape; the fabric is woollen and woven instead of cotton and batiked. But the compliments, the contentment and the comfort are there, just like before. What goes around comes around... just shifted a little. What is truly remarkable, now, is the reconciliation I feel wearing this, what I hope is a developing rapprochement between how I see myself inside and how I am seen outside, the moi and the mirror, image and reflection.
And the colour is no longer tentative grey but salmon pink.
We Irish have a story about the salmon, of course...