This is something that interests and haunts me. The compliment. In 2001, I had had a rough year. Wendell had lost his job, then lost his next job and the next. He was selling cars, a desperate move designed to tide us over until he got a "real" job. Our relationship was a wreck. There was yelling and hurt feelings once I even threw something at him.
We were in marriage therapy and I was deeply depressed. That year, everything that could go wrong had. After I had Anson, Mom took me shopping and bought me a few clothes to fit my new bulgy figure. She talked me into buying a shirt that was black with large flowers on it. She gave me a "shell" to wear beneath in it and raved about how great I looked in it.
Every time I saw it, I thought of my grandma. Although I love my grandma dearly, I didn't want to copy style ideas from someone more that 50 years my senior. But Wendell loved the shirt, too. He raved about it and pretended that I was sexy when I wore it.
My weight climbed 13 lbs after Anson was born, so that by the time he turned one, I had ballooned to my all time highest weight.
My memory is a bit fuzzy on the details, but it was around then that I was invited to a baby shower of a woman I really cared about. And she had everything that I didn't. After several years of marriage and work, she was expecting her first baby, while I already had two. She had a beautiful roomy house with a view, money in the bank, and a tiny figure. Even pregnant, she was gorgeous.
I nervously stood on her front porch wearing my grandma style black shirt. I had a reused gift bag with a cheap outfit that had cost only $5 and I'd still had to use my credit card to get it. We were so far in the hole at that point, what difference did $5 make?
When my friend opened the door, she greeted me heartily, inviting me into her beautiful home. With the slightest look of disgust crossing her face so briefly that I was surely the only one who saw it, she looked me up and down and declared, "You look great!"