I’d known him back when. Back when I wore snappy little suits with matching heels and lipstick. Back when I applied mascara and eye-shadow. Back when I fiddled with my long blonde hair until it was perfect.
Yes, I knew him back when. He looked exactly the same, maybe better. As we stood there, beaming at the unlikely coincidence outside Starbucks, I didn’t have to wonder how I looked.
Reflected in his Ray Ban sunglasses, I saw a woman whose oversized t-shirt tried to hide her unbuttoned shorts because even though she’d lost six pounds, she still had twelve to go.
Instead of taking time to pop in her contacts, she’d grabbed her crooked, smudged glasses and barely ran a brush through wet hair before her girlfriend picked her up. The only things matching on this woman were her unshaven legs.
I wanted to run away from him.
On the way home, I enlightened my friend. He and I had worked together for two years in Chicago. Even though he wasn’t an old boyfriend, seeing what his eyes saw made me feel… well, unsexy–no–downright frumpy.
Where had my mojo gone? I looked at my friend in horror as the revelation hit.
As she turned into my driveway, I was still babbling. With a pained look, my friend interrupted, “You have bagworms.”
Bagworms? Yes I had baggage, but bagworms? A new buzzword?
Literally not. My friend noticed the miniature pinecones dangling like Christmas ornaments on our pine tree. My husband and I had marveled all summer how exquisite they were. My friend recognized them instead as insidious larvae sacs teeming with eat-and-destroy bagworms ready to proliferate.
I had to act fast, so with my husband still out of town on his business trip, I pushed the “easy” button and hired three neighbor kids to remove the hordes of bagworms before they sucked the life from the tree.
This done, I returned to my own bagworms.
Lazy habits creep up like extra pounds. First it’s wearing sporty workout clothes in public; then, it’s listening to my husband say how good I look without makeup; then, when I don’t have time to dry my hair, I can always put it in a ponytail, right?
There’s no “easy” button for personal bagworms. Oprah won’t swoop in and carry me off to a fantasy makeover. Nor can I sit at my desk and rewrite the last few years.
Losing a few pounds and exercising are good first steps. The next step involves fighting the inertia of not caring. It involves picking up the phone and cashing in on those dance classes my husband promised to attend if I scheduled them. It involves taking a few extra minutes and coordinating an outfit.
It also involves replacing the full-length mirror I broke a few years back. If you don’t look, you don’t see. And I want to see my bagworms… to eradicate them before they suck the life out of me.
Goodbye bagworms! ~ JD here.