I am a size 14 in pants. You know when I was last a 14? College.
My second year of college my parents came up in the spring for my birthday. We had dinner and then went to the mall. They hadn't bought me a gift and my Mom decided that they'd buy me some jeans. At that point I felt fat. I didn't want to buy jeans because I didn't want to see the size 18 tag. I didn't want to buy jeans because I didn't want to have to chose from the 2 styles when the 'regular' section had 40. I just didn't want to.
But ultimately my Mom and sister pulled me into a couple of stores. I believe they picked out some styles and sent me into the dressing room. I was shocked when I came out in a size 14 jean that I felt good in. (This is where I'm choosing not to remember that they were the "paperbag" cinched style waist. I am also choosing not to remember that they were tapered leg and likely made me look like an upside down triangle.)
When they left for the day, my room mate and dorm mates convinced me to to to a party. A party where I met a boy and kissed him. Nothing came of it. But to me, the smaller sized jeans that I felt good in, were both a protective sheild and a power booster. The the jeans took on a life of their own to make me more outgoing and protect me from hurt should something go wrong from the outgoingness (is that a word).
I hadn't thought about that day in a long time. But Friday I was bound and determined to add to my collection of 3 pair of work pants. I spent time going from sales floor to dressing room in multiple stores in search of my goal. At Target I pulled a 14 off the rack and thought there is no way my hiney is going to fit in those. But sure enough, they did. And I sat and wondered how long it's been since I fit into a 14. I almost cried there in the dressing room. The flashes of that day in college when I was 18 going on 19 flooded my brain. And now 23 years later I'm back there, if only in the size of my jeans.