Wearing a much too tight sundress and cursing the inventor of panty hose, I awkwardly make my way up to the buffet table. It's my cousins bridal shower, and there is the typical patrons .. my aunts, cousins, and of course the friends of the bride who are chatting amongst themselves and calling the brownie they are eating "evil" and chiding themselves saying "I've been so good.. I need to fit into that dress...I'll have to do two Zumba sessions to wear this off" Truthfully, I've seen mosquitoes bigger than her.
As I reach for a finger sandwich and a scoop of my mom's potato salad, I hear it.. the unmistakable sound of two biddies in the corner, holding their cups of fruit punch with chunks of sherbert floating in it, looking down their noses over their bi-focals - gossiping. My ears perk as I hear my name, and then the words said in a low pitiful tone "She has really let herself go..." and then the sound of disapproval and disgust "tsk, tsk, tsk." I look casually over my shoulder to see if they were in fact talking about me, or if it was just paranoia... and as they see me gaze in their direction, they coyly shift towards each other, adverting their eyes, and start commenting on how Aunt Ethel's jello mold is SO delicious.
The ladle I was spooning the potato salad onto my plate suddenly feels heavy, and I flop the contents back into the bowl. My in-expertly applied mascara runs into my eyes and burns, and I suddenly feel flush. I skip the macaroni salads and load my plate up with garden salad and a spritz of balsamic vinegar. After the lunch is over, I smile as my elderly Aunts boney hands clamp on to mine as she says "So, when will be be going to your wedding Dear?" I didn't have the energy to remind her she's already been to one of my weddings.
By the end of the day I have made close and intimate friends with my Aunt Dee's mini cheesecakes, despite the fact they are made with jello pudding and canned cherry pie filling and a vanilla cookie wafer. Not really culinary genius at its best, but I manage to put away a plate of them. I should have just had what I really wanted, a scoop of my mom's potato salad.
Let myself go. Hrrmph. Driving home, I pull over in a parking lot and peel off my panty hose that has now left red and raw marks around my waist. Let myself go. If I had really let myself go, I wouldn't have bothered wearing this stupid dress, or caked on this ridiculous makeup. If I had really let myself go, I would have let myself go have fun today instead of putting up with a room of miserable biddies. If I had let myself go - I'd let myself go dancing, go kayaking, go hiking, just... go. If I had let myself go, I would let myself go to work less, and go out and play more. In reality, I haven't let myself GO at all... In fact, I have actually felt quite restricted.
Once home, I kicked off my shoes (AH!!!!) and put on a pair of baggy jeans and a sweatshirt. Whistling for Lexi, I grab the leash from the hook and meet her outside. She bounces around me eager to go on our adventure, but soon realizes I am holding a leash in my hand. She walks over, sits down, and waits for me to fasten it clasp. It's a spring day, the remaining snow patches shrink away as the warm sun wakes up the crocuses and daffodils. Lexi tugs at her leash in anticipation, and dampens her excitement as I gently correct her and make her walk properly.
We finally get to the edge of the trail, and Lexi knows what comes next. I make her sit, and she quivers and almost wiggles out of her skin. As she feels my hand search for the latch of the leash, she lifts up on her hind legs like a loaded spring. Her muscles tense like an Olympian waiting for the starting gun. On your mark... get set... and as she hears the click of the leash - she bolts off - GO! A hundred miles an hour, she literally leaves me in the dust, and she tears down the trail. Part of me gets anxious and wants to call her back... the other part of me is thrilled to see her bound off with such pure joy. I start walking down the trail with her leash in my hand and see her bounding through the woods like a gazelle. Games of chase have been negotiated with the chipmunks and squirrels. Effortlessly she bounds over half toppled trees. Unbeknownst to me, I am suddenly part of a game of hide and go seek... Lexi bounds out of sight, then out of no where, leaps back onto the trail behind me and races past me like a rocket. Suddenly, she does an about face about 20 feet ahead of me and play-bows... The smile on her face makes me laugh out loud... seeing my approval of her crazy antics, she about faces and skitters around the corner after a wayward squirrel.
I stop in my tracks and see the empty leash in my hand... talk about letting yourself go. I think I'm going to let myself go more often.
Paradise is here, Paradise is now... Paradise is letting yourself go...