Dress Shopping—A Journey of Self-Love


I braved another dress shopping expedition. The higher up in size you go, the less of a selection you can expect on the racks, and the less likely the clothes are to be creatively or imaginatively designed. Nevertheless, I looked the full-length, florescent-lit mirror in the eye, and I challenged it to present to me the horrors of my average, slightly overweight, regular-looking self.

It was not as terrible as I thought.

The reason is that I love myself—my sense of adventure, my awesome attitude, my fearlessness and my ability to open my heart and let other worthy individuals in. I do have four-babies-worth of stretch marks, and a bit of cellulite, with about twenty more pounds around my middle than I carried in my 30’s.

Those are the facts on the ground, no lies.

I also have self-acceptance—hard earned and fought for. I am more than a vessel of skin and fat, bones and muscles. I am a life, a spirit, a mind, a soul, a fully-realized human being, and if the size 12 zipped up with difficulty, and the size 14 only comes in black, I pay it no mind. Into the black dress I go, and off to match a pair of bright red embroidered boots, because you can’t make me dress like I’m in mourning. I won’t weep, like you think I should, over a hard-working body that is a tad larger today than it was yesterday.

I wonder why we women beat ourselves to exhaustion over our appearance, when for the life of me, I couldn’t even tell you how that matters. I choose my friends based on the bottomlessness of the compassion in their great big hearts, and the wattage of light that shines from their souls and out through their eyes. I could not care less about your love handles, your arm wattles or your cottage cheese thighs. You live, you breathe, you laugh, you sing, you play, you cry, you read, you rejoice, and that is the sum of your beautiful parts.

Mine too.

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Mirel Adler is an Orthodox Jewish writer and Clinical Social Worker who lives in a small vibrant community in South Jersey with her 4 opinionated biological children and an assortment of chosen family members. She has a therapy practice which services Lakewood and Cherry Hill, specializing in helping families communicate well. Mirel actually has a husband who loves to cook, which frees her up to get into no end of adventures! Mirel writes and reads her original poetry as a spoken word artist who frequently performs at open mic events in South Jersey and Philadelphia.