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I love when someone tells me, “There’s a story behind it.” I love listening to stories. I also love telling them…especially funny ones. Today’s story involves me, my youngest daughter, and a small (hot) dressing room inside a place called Wicked Wally’s. Don’t get too excited over the name…it’s just the Halloween version of a local party store that opens every October to sell costumes. Honest.
My boo-tiful friend, Chris, loves a good Halloween party and invited my husband and me to her annual event. Costumes are a must for this party. Don’t even think of showing up without one. She won’t let you in. So, two days before the party, I figured I needed to get serious about what the hubby and I would be sporting this year.
The shopping experience was as frightful as her party décor…I assure you. I convinced my daughter that it would be a quick trip into the store. I headed for the clearance racks first. Surely something would work for less than $20 an outfit? Surely. I grabbed two matching Nascar racing outfits and two bowling shirts for starters (One size fits ALL? Or even MOST? Who made that up? Seriously.) Then, as my daughter rolled around on the ground saying that she was hungry, tired, and had to pee, I stepped over her to grab a couple of cute retro shirts just in case the other outfits didn’t work out.
There were dressing rooms in the back and a sweet lady that took the costumes out of the packages and handed them to me. The matching bowling shirts were a bust. I looked like a bouncer in my scratchy, stiff shirt. Wanna itch all night? No thanks. I handed them back to the nice lady and she gave me the one-piece racing outfit. I felt a little confined in the onesie-style romper. It was a snug fit, so I couldn’t imagine that my husband would enjoy getting his outfit on (the exact same, one size fits everyone, outfit). Right.
The lady then handed me the groovy shirts. I was feeling pretty confident that the hippie style shirt would work for me. How could it not? It looked so super fab on the pretty lady in the picture. Well, it was more fitted than I’d like. It took me awhile to get it in place. It was a criss-crossy top with a fabric band around the ole ribs and lots of ruffle layers down to the waist. Tie-dye. Cute. But, did I mention tight?
Once I got the shirt on, I realized that there wasn’t a stitch of spandex or elastic in that top. Not one stitch. The fabric band around my ribs did not allow for expansion for something as important as…let’s say…taking a breath. I don’t think I own a piece of clothing without some percentage of spandex, so THIS, I was NOT used to. My daughter was rolling on the ground under me still whining about random things and I…could not breathe. I didn’t completely panic at that point since I knew I would be able to breathe once I pulled that straightjacket off.
Important note…if you have an extremely difficult time getting a piece of clothing on…rest assured that you will NOT (I repeat…will NOT) get it off! I tried to pull the top off back over my head. Didn’t budge. I gathered myself and decided maybe I could just pull it down over my hips. Didn’t budge. Did. Not. Budge. I was stuck inside a small, now unbearably hot, dressing room with yards and yards of non-stretchy, tie-dye material adorning my rib cage. The fifteen minutes I spent trying to remove it felt like fifteen years. I tried to suck in my hips. Doesn’t work. I kept muttering to myself. Will. Not. Die. In. This. Store.
When I panic, the first thing I want to do is run. Fight or flight. That’s how we’re made. However, would that be kosher, I thought? I mean, would it really be acceptable for me to run out of this dressing room with only my shorts and bra on with this now highly detestable, despicable, vile, loathsome costume wrapped ever so tightly around my lungs? With my daughter running frantically behind me?! Prolly not. But, I was so close. Of course, my daughter was oblivious to my predicament and continued to belly-ache about her own issues. I’m now profusely sweating and breathing in short, shallow bursts. “Oh, this party better be fun!! It better be so incredibly much fun, I tell you!!” I mumbled to myself.
Of course, the kind lady is still waiting outside the door. “Is everything okay in there?” I replied, “Um, just…(inhale)…a (exhale)…moment (inhale)…ma’am (exhale).” Adrenaline is just amazing. It had built up enough that I just dug down deep and I pulled that sucker off in one solid yank over my head. I heard a thread pop. Maybe two. But, I looked that shirt over and couldn’t find an obvious tear so I felt okay about it. At that point, I was ready to buy it…and BURN it.
I gained some semblance of composure, wiped away the sweat, put my hair back in place, picked my daughter up off the floor, found a smile, removed the buggy-eyed-adrenaline-overdose look from my face, and handed the shirt back to the lady. With quivering lips, I said, “This didn’t really work out. But, thanks so much for your help. Um, where is your bathroom? My daughter needs to go.”
After the potty trip, I went down the pirate aisle and grabbed two plus-sized-super-stretchy-elastic-waisted-wonderfully-loose pirate costumes and I was OUT. OF. THERE. If the costumes were way too big, that was just a sacrifice that I was willing to make. Aaargh mateys! We were THE most comfortable pirates I have ever met on this side of the sunken treasure, I promise you. AND…we had a great time at the party! Thanks, Chris.
My point? There is always a story behind it…whatever “it” may be. My hubby and I showed up in our comfy, cozy pirate attire that night and no one had a clue what I had gone through to be there. Well…not until I shared my story with the gals. They giggled till their sides hurt. But, it makes me more empathetic to people in general. Everyone has a story behind their smile, their frown, their laugh, or their tears. It helps me to be more patient with others when I remember that. As for my dressing room disaster…we never know what a person has been through to get somewhere…wherever “somewhere” is for them. It’s true. We don’t.
In addition to my Halloween story, I want to share a neat little story with you from Lou Holtz. His tale is called, “You have to wait and see.” (Taken from his book, Winning Every Day). We shouldn’t miss out on blessings because they aren’t packaged the way we expect them. Most problems are blessings in disguise. Tragedies can be transformed into something positive simply by altering our perspective. Whenever we are tempted to judge a situation too hastily, it would be wise for us to remember this story:
John is a fellow who owned a valuable horse. One night, the horse ran off and all the neighbors were consoling him about his loss. John just replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We will have to wait and see.” Everyone was so shocked when the horse returned, accompanied by two beautiful wild stallions. All the neighbors said, “Oh, John, you are so lucky. You have three fine horses now!” But, John replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We will have to wait and see.”
The following day, John’s two sons were riding the new horses and both were thrown off, suffering broken legs. Everyone immediately cried, “Oh, John, that’s so terrible that both of your sons broke their legs.” John replied once again, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We will have to wait and see.” That week, war broke out and all the able young men in the village were summoned into military service. All of them, that is, except John’s sons. Their broken legs earned them deferments. Everyone declared, “Oh, John, that’s so good that your sons don’t have to go to war!” John just replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Like Lou Holtz said, “We can’t classify anything as good or bad until all the results are in.” Likewise, with the Halloween tale, we shouldn’t assume that we know what someone has or has not gone through. It’s impossible to know. We should be careful not to judge as we may not know the whole story. We should always remember to just wait and see.