Back in Bloomington #3

Scars, both emotional and physical, begin to heal with time.

This is a promise that I hold to be true.

Mustn’t we all?

If we don’t, then we can’t make it through the pain, or the puss, or the stitches, or the staples.

We try to ignore that we were inflicted with the incision wound (be it with a scalpel, an inanimate object, or an unkind word) but when we look down, or up, or inside, the wound is there. . .
but it is beginning to heal.

Growing up, I always thought that one special day I would find out why God had made me the way I was (physically).

I would find out why God had made me with huge feet (size twelve by 6th grade, now a solid 13), taller than most boys and until the latter half of my senior year in high school, flat chested.

While it didn’t seem fair, I knew that God had a purpose for everything He did.

So whenever I was called Lurch everyday as I took my tray up after lunch in the cafeteria during Junior High (hell must be a lot like Jr. High, right? I heard you all say yes as you were reading this, thank you for the affirmation), I said in my head “God made you this way for a reason, one day, when He reveals it, they will all be sorry, really sorry”. In fact if someone got too close as I was taking my tray up, they would probably be able to hear it coming through my gritted teeth.

I kept waiting. . .and waiting. . .and waiting for this big reveal.

I imagined numerous times posing in front of the bathroom mirror with full makeup and slicked back hair, that it was going to be me as a high-fashion model (and maybe although too old, I’m still holding out hope for this one. . . 🙂 ).

In fact, while we were living in Chicago, my dear friend Lindsay was with Elite Model Management. This meant I was able to peruse the other models with Elite when she wanted to show me new pictures in her portfolio. I noticed that I had the same measurements as the Plus-Size models. Lindsay and I figured I should see about doing Plus -Size modeling. I went in and spoke with an agent at Elite, had my polaroids taken, the whole bit. Then he had to discuss with the other agents about my marketability. I waited for the phone call, all the while thinking, “Is this it God? This is why I am 6 feet tall?”

It wasn’t.

I got a call from Stephen the agent, and he shared with me that while my measurements were indeed the same as the other plus-size models they represented, I did not look “plus” enough. I looked too small.

Lindsay and I during our time in Chicago!

WHAT?!?!?!?

My whole life, I am told I am too tall, too big, too me, to do things, and then the one thing I should be fit for, I am TOO SMALL ?

Needless to say, Nate had a night class, I had probably a little too much of a bottle of white wine, an entire loaf of french bread, and watched Georgia Rule a HORRIBLE Jane Fonda/Lindsay Lohan film while I intermittently muttered things at God about this highly ironic turn of events.

But. . .
I got over it.

I must have been slightly masochistic about the whole situation, because when the Bridal Show was happening at The Merchandise Mart (this is where tons of dress designers come in for an expo of sorts) Lindsay suggested I try freelance modeling. She said that the Designers were always disappointed because the normal fashion models didn’t have “Womanly” bodies (I wasn’t flat chested anymore).

I figured this wouldn’t be the big reveal of why God had designed me the way He had, but might be a little “pick me up” to get  me to the big reveal whenever it was coming.
Just a nice little self esteem boost along the way.

Well. . .we got there, and Lindsay basically became my agent. She was already booked through Elite with Jessica McClintock for the whole weekend but she knew not all the designers came with models.

Three different designers had me try on dresses, only to have them not even go over my hips.

The fourth designer had me try on a free flowing wedding dress. After some adjusting of the chestal region, I sucked in my breath, zipped it up, and triumphantly threw back the fitting room curtain! Everyone was overjoyed, until. . .”We also need you to model the prom-wear” the designer calmly and cheerfully said as she handed me a mermaid style satin red gown.

I began to furiously pray.

“Maybe it will be stretchy, maybe it isn’t as tight as it looks, maybe it will fit. . “

Optimist that I am/was, I took a go at it. When it was apparent that I couldn’t breathe and I hadn’t even attempted to pull the zipper up, I decided to raise my white (or red as it were) flag.

I went to take the dress off, and I was stuck. Absolutely, irrevocably, stuck. With my arms straight up in the air and my control top tights showing, the dress had situated itself in my middle region, in a way that my left eye could peek out of the arm hole, but that was all of my face that was left uncovered. Looking like an Amazonian Cycloptic Lobster I gingerly began to call “Lindsay, Lindsay, could you come here for a moment?”

She obliged.

I shimmied, I shook, I jumped, I twisted.

Lindsay tugged, she pulled.

We prayed.

And eventually, by the grace of God, the dress came off, unscathed.

I walked out, again told a designer that “I’m sorry, it didn’t fit” and bid them adieu.

Lindsay had to leave for another appointment, but always the encourager she suggested I try a few more designers.


I went to a very high end Italian Design House and they gave me a beautiful (at least) $15,000 gown to try on. I was delusional enough to think that if they exclusively did wedding dresses, I might be in luck.

I didn’t have Lindsay this time.

What I did have was a thirty-plus pound dress that I had pulled over my head because God knows it wasn’t going to go over my hips.

Lo and behold, it wouldn’t zip.

Lo and behold, it is pretty hard to lift a thirty pound dress off of yourself, over your head when your arms are contorted just so.

I did a lot of praying that day. Only this time I literally found myself on my knees as I prayed, hoping that odd body contortions would help disperse the weight, making it easier for me to lift the dress above my head.

When I did, again, by the grace of God, get the dress off, I began my fifth defeated exit of the dressing room . I told the designer it didn’t fit, and in a thick Italian accent he repeatedly said “Just one, can’t we just get one that will fit her? Try them on and see if you can’t just get one.”

Really?

Are you kidding me?

You didn’t see me under the curtain making all those crazy movements?

So I gave it my best.

And none of the dresses fit.

A defeating/deflating/crushing day,
but. . .
I got over it.

Lindsay giving me a black cashmere Burberry scarf she had received at a fashion show didn’t hurt.


So skip a few years, and I am in a hospital birthing room. I have at least ten nurses around me, my midwife, and my husband.

I am standing, squatting on top of the hospital bed, COMPLETELY naked.
*to this day, neither Nate or I know how I got naked. Really. It just happened.


And all these nurses around me are abuzz, saying “Did you know she hasn’t had ANY pain medication!” and “Look at those hips, she was built for this” and “look at those feet, she has such a good strong base for giving birth”.

Inside I was sure that this was it.

This was to be the big reveal.

After two hours of pushing after a nineteen hour labor, squatting, standing, getting on all fours and some attempted hand maneuvers by my midwife, God spoke to me.


Clearly.

“This is not going to happen how you thought it would, you will have a C-Section”

You have to understand that I had never been more excited about anything in my life than having a completely natural child birth (OK, wedding night was pretty exciting, and as a result of that going well, I was found in an exciting place again, just different).

I had read tons of Ina May Gaskin, I had watched and made Nate watch The Business of Being Born, I had re-read The Red Tent the week before I gave birth.

I wanted to feel everything that my body had been made to do in the act of giving birth.

In that moment, it would have made sense for me to be angry, frustrated, and defeated.

But I wasn’t.

I looked over at Nate, and we looked at each other, God had told him the same thing.

My midwife came back in, after she had slipped out for a moment, where she was praying about the same thing.

I am so extremely thankful that God spoke to Nate and I before someone else attempted to make the decision for me.

 Midwife Lila & Eleonore

And so preparations were made, the Dr. was called, and during my last contraction as I sat on an operating table, I was given my first taste of drugs in the entire process andI won’t lie, people use them for a reason, it was nice.

A beautiful baby girl came out.

The incision that was made was stapled up.

Are you surprised that this wasn’t the big reveal about why I was made the way I am?

I was too, but. . .
I got over it.

There may never be any “BIG REVEAL”.

Because each day God is teaching me to see that it is what he chooses to do through me and in me, not my physicality and physical appearance that matter.

But ughhhhhh I am human, and I want the “BIG REVEAL”.

As I was taking a luxurious, relaxing bath tonight, I saw that my C-Section scar is healing and fading.
And inside the scars are healing and fading.
Scars of a Junior High Girls insecurities.
Scars of a Young Woman’s insecurities.
Scars of a First Time Mother’s insecurities.

They only fade with the growing knowledge that my Savior is my Healer.

And in time He will make all things new.

Even me.

But for now, He doesn’t get mad at me for crying in the bathtub as I mourn a birth experience that didn’t go the way I had planned it.

He is simply there.

Yep.

That’s what He does, and He does it well.

peace to you,
meredith


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2 thoughts on “Back in Bloomington #3

  1. Good post. Those days in Chicago…exciting, interesting, painful, horrible, exhilarating… I'm really glad you & I shared many of those experiences. It seems so distant now in so many ways. I really like hearing you tell the stories.And that's a good word about physical appearance/build. It's good for us to talk about that, as women. Lately I've discovered I think I have rosacea on my face, and I'm pretty bummed about that. I'll probably be fighting it for decades. But God's showing me how much it doesn't matter. I miss you. xoxo

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