Fat versus Wrinkles

Notes from Alexis:
We had been reading a book about “Options” when thinking and solving problems. I cannot find the actual name of the book; although I can find a book called “Stock Market Options Master” (which I actually do with stocks). I guess “Options” has always been a part of my life.

4-8-83

Dearest Lex,

Well I have been practicing “Options” like mad and it is just so good and so easy that I can hardly believe it. I have always said “The easy way is always best,” but I didn’t believe it. Let me give you a long, long play by play, for instance.

We got an invitation to Uncle B’s & Aunt B’s 25th anniversary reception & family luncheon. I was instantly mad. So putting “Options” into operation I began asking all the questions.
I was mad because I didn’t have anything to wear, and I would have to either go shopping (more mad) or make it myself, and I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm.

Why? Well, because I’m fat. So why does this make me mad? Are you ready for this? Because I don’t know what size I am. It is so funny. I was going to order some blouses and I didn’t know what size I am. For forty years I knew, but for the past ten, I have been gaining weight and I don’t know, and I am all at sea. I just felt paralyzed to even buy patterns or go to the store and try on clothes. And of course I have no style, right? That may be true but I do have sense, so with “Options” in one hand and sense in the other, I began working on the problem.

It seemed to me the sensible thing to do would be to go to the Ladies Apparel and try on used clothes. In the first place I trust them because of your experience and I like used clothes best.  So I went in to try on clothes and I had already come to some clear-cut ideas: 1) No belt line, so this meant sheath style or princess (2) dark colors as anything white looks bigger and (3) no true bright colors. It seems to me that all these synthetic dyes are so brilliant they hurt my eyes. S. came over in a red pant suit and I tell you it was so bright I could not look at her, and here is how she seemed to me–two feet tall and four feet wide and she said she had lost 18 lbs!!

So anyway with my three ideas in mind I tried on clothes, I quickly found out I wasn’t 14 or 18 so that left 16, and sure enough that was it. I found a deep plum, a brown and a black/eggshell stripe in the right styles and all three cost $16 so I was satisfied with price. Also those styles don’t show bulges.

So now more “Options.”
When you are young you have two choices–fat or thin. When you are old you have two choices–fat or wrinkled. I have chosen fat over wrinkles. Did you ever see a fat lady with a bad complexion? Why is that do you suppose? Also I found I don’t care about fat anywhere except on stomach. So what to do about it? I could exercise, God forbid, or wear a girdle or hide. Which do you think I chose? (Hide)

One of the side benefits of the whole thing is that I hadn’t known about before “Options” is that I love princess and sheath. I was always geared for fat and didn’t even know it. And another thing–I was thin when I needed to be thin, to attract men (remember those babies) and fat when I need to not have wrinkles. Now I don’t mind a few wrinkles for I feel laugh lines show character, but not all over wrinkles, don’t you know.

Now for my second “Options:”
When Dad asked me to come have lunch with him I was instantly angry. So I “Optioned” it out and here it is; This was the first time in twenty-six years he had asked me to lunch, and the few times I had asked him, he had been a pain in the a–.I was busy and couldn’t think of anywhere to go and so on and so forth, but basically mad.

What I came up with was–EXPECTATIONS. I think, Lex, most of us (and you in particular) spoil our lives with expectations. We think, or want, or expect something, and when we don’t get it we are devastated. I wanted a compact (makeup) when I was six and was mad when I got it at sixteen. I wanted to go to lunch with Dad for twenty years and gave up on him, and when he asked I was mad.
By “Optioning” his side and mine I was able to see it better. He could see that your moving had left a big gap in my life. He knew we always had lunch and he was trying to fill up the hole. So he gets points for trying, but what he didn’t understand was that lunch was just something we did to have a place to talk, and of course Dad doesn’t talk about anything except what he can see–weather, daily routine, etc.

So I stopped being mad because what the h—! I could re-arrange my schedule and lunch is lunch right? It was a nice, pleasant encounter at the Black Kettle and we both get points for being civilized people.

And therein lies the lecture. It just is not reasonable to expect other people or events to be on our timetable. If we expect people and events to be or do what we want, when we want, we are asking for trouble.

So what do we do, have no expectations at all? No I don’t think so, for after all expectations are FUN! But I believe we have to jump on every bit of anger and disappointment, and hate, and question it literally to death. Once you’ve asked all the questions (and answered them) you will find deep down there inside somewhere, there are some good things that you would never have found (go back to fat vs. wrinkles) the peanut, so to speak, where you are able to toss out the shell without a qualm.

One of the things that has come out of this last week for me is rather startling in a way. I am nearly 50 years old and there is no doubt that my years are limited (actually I always thought they were limited and am surprised to have lived so long). According to actuarial tables I have 26 more years to live, so without a crystal ball we’ll accept that I am 2/3 of the way home, and all of a sudden I realize I can do as I damn well please. Now of course, I have nearly always done as I please, within whatever narrow confines I found myself, but now I don’t feel obliged to do something unless I want to, and by golly I don’t feel guilty or feel I have to apologize. I’m over the hump and it’s downhill all the way. Curious about words. When we say ‘downhill all the way’ and mean money or skiing or running, it means good, but when we talk about age it is bad. Well this is the Downhill Skid and I intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Well, spring started two days ago and if you think this is a weather report you are wrong. It is a squirrel report, and a taking off long johns report. I was so thrilled to see squirrelly. I worried he had not survived the winter. He sunned himself a bit then peered right in the house, so I took him out some nuts. Also saw a pair of mountain blue birds so that is a sure sign of spring.

Well, sweetie I have a lot of things to do so will stop for now.

Love, Mom

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One comment on “Fat versus Wrinkles

  1. Marianne says:

    Lexie! I absolutely LOVE this. Your mom hit the nail right on the head!!! Wish I would have known her better…

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