In my bedroom, I have a dress hanging on the back of the door to the bathroom. I have loved this dress from the moment I saw it, 5 months ago in the front display of a New York & Company. I saw it and immediately thought This is the dress that I will to wear to Daniel's graduation. My mom bought the dress as a Christmas present and I asked her to buy it a size down, with the intent to diet and exercise my way into looking flawless in it. I tried it on almost as soon as I unwrapped it and was pleased that it already fit, though I noticed a couple areas that needed some work. I came up with a seemingly foolproof New Year's resolution - every evening I'd make a list of things I wanted to do the next day (go the gym, clean the bathroom, etc.). If I accomplished everything on the list, I'd get a dollar. At the end of each month, I'd collect my money and spend it on whatever I wanted. I was basically giving myself an allowance! I daydreamed of shopping for shoes, splurging on a pedicure, laser hair removal, something that would turn me into the perfect wife for my doctor husband. I wanted to reinvent myself and become comfortable with the new persona in time for residency because things were going to be different once Daniel started wearing that long white coat.
And then it was January 1.
I stuck to my resolution for about 36 hours. Daniel was gone for days for interviews. Matthew got sick. It was too cold to leave the apartment. All of these little things piled up and overwhelmed me. I saw the dress multiple times a day. I felt little twinges of failure multiple times a day. If I couldn't complete a daily list of tasks, how was I supposed to figure out how to pay off loans or teach Matthew how to sign or succeed at my church calling?! I read over a few weeks of journal entries and realized I wasn't happy. I was letting the dress/the fantasy of perfection ruin my life. I can't get rid of my stretch marks or go more than a week without eating Chick-fil-A or not love Andrew McMahon. So I had to say goodbye to perfect Jenn. That doesn't mean I'm giving up on bettering myself, I'm just learning to love myself for who I am now. I'm taking baby steps to get to where I want to be, but I'm enjoying the journey too.
I tried the dress on today. It zipped up easily and I put on some heels and Daniel whistled when he saw me. Things will be different when he starts residency. But that doesn't mean we have to completely change who we are.
The dress doesn't hold the power it once did. It's not going to make me perfect. It's not going to be the foundation of a successful residency.
Although I am looking forward to calling Daniel Dr. Lindsay.