Usually, in the summer, I'm a vision of vintage madness. It seems the brighter, the splashier, the more flowers in op art patterns, the better. After collecting for a few years I've learned I'm attracted to Hawaiin bark cloth dresses from the 60s and I wear them with great enthusiasm.
This summer though, I've reverted to black. Shapeless sundresses that hang from my shoulders. I have hangers of these boring, run-of-the-mill standards that have become my uniform.
I realized today, it's because I'm not comfortable in my skin. The surgery threw me off. My body, that I generally know so well, is different. Aside from the carb-packing weight I gained post-transplant, I'm still swollen. My lowest incision, just above my pubic bone, is puffy and distended. Not in an unhealthy way, but it's apparent something went on there. Plus 3 weeks of no yoga and the subsequent tip toeing back to where I was is making me want to hide.
Years ago, when I was anorexic, I did the same thing. As much as I could I faded into the background.
Then today, as I was walking through the west village, I saw a dress on a mannequin in a store window. Sleeveless, A-line, carnation pink at the top with the brightest of magenta flowers extending up from raspberry at the bottom. I went in. It looked small but I tried it on anyway.
It fit. It was me. The old over-the-top me. I bought it to wear to a wedding this weekend. And then went home, left my brown skirt and black tank on the bed, and put on a mustard and olive sun dress, sprinkles with white hibiscus blooms.
I feel self-conscious. Not at all at ease. But it's time to be me again.