It was the first day I'd gotten out the heavier exercise dress. With the colder weather, I figured it would see a lot of use soon. Two days before, heading to see a show many friends were performing in, I figured on similar weather. I had a dress which needed minor mending, a floor length, shoulderless gown. Upon doing so, I carefully pulled it on, and laced myself in: no mean feat given the back lacing and no one to help me. But I quickly came to the conclusion that its fit at the waist would keep pulling it further from my shoulders, a wardrobe malfunction in the making. Crushed, I pulled out a different dress, a simple red frock which hit above the knee.
I'd come to an uneasy truce with my body. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. But here I was, riding up the hill that a few days before had prompted a man who'd taken a break from restoring a nearby house to express his awe that I was conquering the hill. "Every morning," I replied with the breath I could spare, as I pumped my fist in a moment of savored success. Today, passing that point, I nearly passed out when I stopped breathing for a moment to clear my ears of congestion. But I caught myself, and kept going.
That night, talking about what we were wearing, she looked at my little red number, and remarked that unlike me, she didn't have the body for a dress like that. Still stinging from the dress I couldn't pull off, I'd completely written myself off, personally devaluing my efforts.
Much like my ride, the dress wasn't as pretty as I wanted, but the odds anyone but me noticed my falter were almost none.
Step 83: keep a level head about you. Not every fault or flaw is a catastrophe.