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Training for Baby: Little black dress

There is a little black dress sitting in my closet, and I'm not sure what to do with it.

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Kathy Hanrahan
Kathy Hanrahan

There is a little black dress sitting in my closet, and I’m not sure what to do with it.

I know I can fit into the size 9 dress now – and since I have lost even more weight it is probably too big for me! But when faced with an event or dinner where this dress would be perfect, I just can’t bring myself to try it on. I always end up shopping for something new.

Do you believe clothing holds memories or even bad luck?

My mom has blamed many a shirt on a bad day. She has even stopped wearing some outfits entirely because of the bad energy they seem to bring.

I never really believed that, but I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of that black dress or wear it!

The origin of the dress dates back to 2000. I got it for an awards ceremony in college. I wanted to look professional but trendy. It was my first true little black dress and it fit perfectly because I was so skinny from not eating for the past four years of high school.

Not long after that night, I gained the Freshman 15 and the dress became relegated to the closet at my mother’s house.

Seven years later, my boyfriend and I became engaged. I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. I knew I needed to lose some weight before the wedding so I vowed to go on a diet and work out at least three times a week.

Then, a few weeks later my grandmother was hospitalized. She was admitted to the hospital for unexplained seizures and ended up with a collapsed lung. We didn’t understand how that happened either!

I was living more than two hours away from my family and it was excruciating not to be there with them during this time.

The stress from worrying about my grandmother and my family sent me into a downward spiral. I wasn’t eating a lot. I wasn’t sleeping well. And I was in the midst of wedding planning, which can be stressful enough.

My emotions were on a wild ride. I ended up throwing myself into my diet and exercise. Working out on my treadmill became therapy for me. Sometimes, I would just walk and cry. For every tear, I walked faster and pushed harder.

This went on for about five months. Sometimes her prognosis was good, she appeared alert and even tried to talk despite her tracheotomy. Other times, she was in a comatose state.

During a weekend visit at my mother’s house in June 2007, we got the news that my grandmother was near the end. She had developed an infection in her stomach.

She died three days later.

Since I had only planned to visit for a day or two, I didn’t have a lot of clothing with me. I ended up searching through my old closet for something to wear to the funeral. That’s when I saw the little black dress.

I wasn’t sure how much weight I had lost in the past five months so I decided to try it on and see if it fit. To my surprise, it fit like a glove.

Now, four years later the little black dress sits in my closet. Not far from my heirloomed wedding gown – a dress my grandmother never got to see.

It is amazing to me how and why we lose weight. Sometimes, it is a conscious choice – like what I have done in the past nine months. Other times, it is our body reacting to what’s happening around us – my high school anxiety and my grandmother’s illness.

What should I do with this little black dress? Should I just pack it away and all the memories it brings with it? Or try to create new ones in it?

Kathy is a web producer, entertainment expert and concert photographer for WRAL.com. She has written a manuscript about her life as an entertainment reporter and pop culture. Learn more about Kathy on her website. On Wednesdays here on Go Ask Mom, she's chronicling her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband start a family.



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