If the shorts don’t fit, you must….

When I decided to share this blog with anyone & everyone, I realized there is some element of bravery in this adventure.  There is A LOT of bravery in sharing this post.  If you suffer from an eating disorder or are a survivor of an eating disorder, this may be triggering for you.

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6.10.17

We went swimming at Tristi’s today.  I felt so excited to put on my bathing suit.  I really like my bathing suit.  I like the story of how I came to have this bathing suit.  I felt so excited to go lie in the sun and – hopefully – get some color on my skin.  I pulled on a pair of running shorts over my bathing suit.  The shorts are every bit of 2 years old.  I talked to Todd about how they used to fit loose.  They did.  I have photographic proof!  Now, they are snug around my booty and my thighs, but I like that.  That was part of our discussion – that I like having a bigger booty and bigger thighs.  By no means is it all solid muscle, but there is a fair amount of muscle.  I squat, I lunge.  I do what Coach Aubrey tells me to do and I use weight.  I feel proud of my thighs and my booty.  There is power & strength there.  The shorts are satisfyingly snug, not uncomfortably snug.

After swimming, I dried off and attempted to put the shorts back on.  Tristi commented on how she thinks they are cute.  We had been talking about trading clothes earlier because as I am getting larger, she is shrinking, so she said she will take them if I’m ever ready to get rid of them.  Then, I couldn’t pull the shorts all the way up.  I couldn’t get them over my thighs.  They made a sound like the seams were tearing.  Okay, no shorts for the short ride home.  My brain went to a place that I would have preferred it not go.  Chubby.  Heavy.  Fat. 

While walking to the truck, CARRYING MY SHORTS I COULD NOT FIT ONTO MY BODY, I thought of giving them to Tristi.  Why not?  I need to stop wearing them.  They don’t fit me because I am chubby.  I am too big.  Tristi has gotten so tiny, and I know she needs shorts.

When we got home, I got ready to shower.  Chubby.  Heavy.  Pale.  My stomach is so big.  My thighs are fat, not strong.  I am pale all over.  My stomach is gross.  My waistline is GONE.  Chubby.  Pale.  Gross.  Ugly.  Those shorts must look awful over my chubby thighs.  They are short, which means my pale legs are exposed.  Pale.  I could already tell that I didn’t get any color today.  That’s not surprising.

I must disclose that this is very difficult to write.  I work every day to love this body.  I work every day to remind myself that I am so much more than this.  When others struggle with their own body image, I remind them of these things that I’m not always good at remembering for myself.  Every body is deserving of love and care.  But this belly has to go.  These things have to get toned.

I lose the fight against my skin tone every year, and every year I feel angry and frustrated that I am allergic to something in self-tanners (and this is the only thing I am allergic to, as far as I know).  The only time I’ve gotten and kept a respectable tan is when I used a tanning bed, which I won’t do anymore.  It’s so weird that I may see someone who is pale and my mind makes up all these reasons why it is okay for that person, but not for me (it is okay for that person, but not for me = that statement, alone, is a huge problem, that it’s not okay for my skin to be the way it is).  Sometimes I can go long periods of time without giving a fuck.  Yes, I am pale.  Whatever.  What-ev-er.

I don’t want to buy bigger clothes.  I have convinced myself that buying bigger clothes means accepting my body at this size and not trying – not working – to make it better (read: smaller).  Then I might accept it getting even bigger.  How long before it’s out of control?

As I wrote, I work every day to love this body.  I have had many long stretches of time during which loving this body went very well.  Part of the reason why I love my bathing suit so much is that I spent the time and energy to work up the courage to try on bikinis and buy one.  Earlier this year, I told myself my bikini days were over.  I told myself I needed to get a one-piece bathing suit this year.  More often than not, I do the work for my self-love.  I do the work to keep it afloat.  As you can see, there are times when I slip.  My self-love isn’t as reliable as I need it to be.  I am a work in progress.

Work in progress.

I feel tired of seeing clothes I like and almost immediately thinking, “I can’t wear that.”  I don’t seem to ever really have a solid, logical reason.

I can’t wear that because my skin is pale.

I can’t wear that because my arms are too skinny.

I can’t wear that because my stomach isn’t flat.

I can’t wear that because of my age.

Etc.

When I first learned about the magic that is positive self-talk, I also learned to ask myself if I would treat my best friend the same way I am treating myself in a given situation.  Would I tell my best friend that she can’t wear something she likes because she thinks her arms are too skinny?  No.  I would tell her that she should wear whatever she likes.  To Hell with what someone else might think.  Apparently, I have created imaginary rules in my head that only apply to me, and they make me look at myself through a filter that only I am using based on these imaginary rules I created (where I got the fodder for these rules is a whole other entry).  I’m not *less than* or *less worthy* because my skin is pale, my arms are skinny, my stomach isn’t flat.  There’s no reason for me not to wear what I like.

I know that I may find clothes I like, try them on and decide I don’t like them.  That’s not really where I am with this entry.  I’m talking about that initial admiration of an outfit or piece of clothing being immediately followed by my brain making up reasons why I just cannot even try to go anywhere near it because of….see above.

I’m not sure what kind of growth this may lead to, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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I’m researching blog topics and themes almost every day.  I love seeing the body positivity movement and reading others’ inspirational stories.  Last night, I read about how the body positivity movement doesn’t make space for thin women because thin women already have a space.  I know that’s true.

I reached out to a blogger/researcher, via Twitter, to ask her about body dysmorphia & body positivity.  That’s not to say that I suffer from or am a survivor of body dysmorphia, but I’m curious about that dynamic if we are talking about people who perceive their body a certain way that isn’t accurate, which could be a thin person perceiving his/her body as overweight; how does body positivity work in that situation?  Maybe it doesn’t?  Clearly, I need to do more leg work here.  I plan to reach out to others with my questions as I move through articles and blogs and Instagram posts.

I plan to continue to support the #bopo movement and see if I can claim a tiny place for myself there, not as a thin woman, but as a woman who struggles with body image.  That’s my personal work – being more positive about my body as the vessel that carries me and what I have to offer as a whole person, and not as what defines me as good/bad, worthy/not worthy.

I absolutely support others feeling more positive and open about their own bodies.  This life is short, and the filter through which you view yourself may be based on imaginary rules that nobody else is following because those rules are only in your head.  Wear the dress, wear the shorts, wear the low-cut shirt; dye your hair that beautiful shade of purple you have been admiring, pierce your nose, don’t shave your legs everyday, quit tweezing your eyebrows, commit to growing your hair long even when you hit that awkward phase in the growth process.  Ignore whatever aesthetic-related chore you saddle yourself with every day because you think you have to do it to please every person around you.

I know it’s easier said than done.  I KNOW that.  Try to grasp what it will feel like to go through that first full day after you – for example – pierce your nose and nothing bad happens.  Nobody makes fun, nobody laughs, you don’t burst into flames, the ground doesn’t open up to the let the Earth swallow you whole.  It’s more likely that someone will compliment it, comment on your courage or want to hear the whole story.  Another example: not tweezing your eyebrows will be different.  Nobody will comment on your courage or even want to hear the story.  The likely scenario here is that nobody says anything.  That first day turns into the first week turns into the first month and, pretty soon, you don’t know how long you’ve had your nose pierced; you don’t know how long you’ve been letting your eyebrows grow [mostly] wild.  Nothing bad happens.  You just keep being you, keep doing what you are meant to do with an extra hole in your nostril or with fuller eyebrows.  And it all goes back to that first day – the courage you mustered to get you through that first full day feels normal.  It might even feel comfortable.  Courage is courage, friends.  The more you exercise it, the more you have stockpiled.