I decided going to buy clothes that fit me better would help me feel better. I figured it would be similar to the process of setting a broken arm – it sucks, I don’t want to get bigger clothes, but walking around feeling like shit because nothing fits me right is not swell, either. Sometimes, though, you have to just stop wearing pajamas and put on your big girl pants (or shorts, or dress…)
I went to Old Navy first, and I found tons of adorable dresses. Everything was 60% off, so I thought I was going to make out like a bandit. I had armfuls of clothes – dresses and workout clothes. As I tried on the dresses, the looks ranged from stuffed sausage with spare tire accent to billow-y garbage bag flowing gently among amorphous lumps. Neither were the summer looks I was striving for. I ended up so frustrated; I left.
I went to Target. They had a massive clearance section, and new armfuls were grabbed and taken to the fitting room, and I got to see full mirrored reflections of oddly fitting dresses, but I did find 3 that fit, flattered, and didn’t resemble oddly patterned tablecloths. Seriously, why are all clothes rocking these bizarre LulaRoe-esque designs anymore? Am I the only one that seriously does not dig looking like I’m wearing the remnants of an elementary school talent show backdrop?! Then, I tried Walmart, even though I despise Walmart. No dice. Between bizarre cuts and patterns, sports bras that seemed to be more interested in showing sweet straps as opposed to supporting my… boobs? I abandoned my cart and left.
My friend called me and said we should go to Kohls. I was determined to end this misery and get some goddamn clothes. I combed through the most confusing clearance racks ever – I mean, there truly is no need to match the size on the hanger with the size on the outfit, right? We went into the fitting room, and I treated her to a barrage of what the fuck, because seriously, I don’t know why I can’t find clothes that fit me right. XL is too big, Large is too small? I walked out in one leopard print/zippered number, and ranted loudly enough for the store to hear me about me looking like a zippered sausage attempting to go to a swingers club. I also found a lovely blue and white patterned dress that seemed to point the eyes directly to my spare tire, while somehow mottling any reference to my lumps, my lumps, my lovely lady lumps. I’m sure most women want a dress that hugs the midsection while being lumpy and loose on their chest. It’s hot. Ultimately, I found a few workout clothes and a dress that I liked. I felt like Frodo coming to Mordor in my quest.
I pushed too far by trying to find a bathing suit, and my frustration level went from “kill me” to nuclear. WHY can’t bathing suits just match? Like, can’t we just have a top, and a bottom? I finally found one top and one bottom that kind of matched. “Oh finally, I have a cute pink top…but the bottoms… I could either get shorts that are 3 sizes too big, or a thong 4 sizes too small. I didn’t think the pink top is actually going to cover my boobs either. Because, you know, XL size women have A cups and should totally wear princess cut balconette with a demi-cut” or whatever the fuck it is. I threw down the suits and huffed over to find underwear, because I love underwear.
That’s when my cart started zapping me. My cart was literally giving me some sort of bizarre, painful electric shock. I took it as a sign from the universe that my cute dress and workout outfits were unnecessary, and that my struggles were because maybe I just don’t need to get clothes. I don’t know. I pushed the cart away and left Kohls. This is the second store I’ve abandoned, if you are keeping track.
Then, I went to another Target. This time, I was just looking for sunblock and beach stuff, because I was taking the kids down with my parents for a few days. I loaded my cart with the necessities, went to self- checkout (because I don’t like people) and reached into my purse to pay. I realized I didn’t have my wallet. I was so embarrassed; I had a whole bunch of stuff, and literally no way to pay for it (unless they accept purse trash and tampons). I left. I realized I just am not meant to shop right now. My friend was laughing at me as I’m sitting in my car ranting at my own ineptitude. She didn’t know about the two prior abandoned carts, so I’m filling her in, and racing out of the parking lot before someone comes out to remind me to finish purchasing my stuff. This is why we can’t have nice things, I yelled to no one in particular.
Honestly, though, it’s funny the way it all happened. I feel like I was being sent a message. When I started writing, it was with a focus of learning/practicing love – genuine love. Love that depends on a certain physique is the very definition of conditional love. It’s easy to love under optimal conditions, but if things aren’t going your way, etc. withholding love or setting ultimatums really isn’t love. (Water continues to be wet, FYI) Tearing myself apart every time I look in the reflection, or as I am choking on my meal while I force it back in the toilet is not love. I know that I am beautiful when I believe I am beautiful. My shoulders come back, my jaw squares and a soft smile rests on my lips. This is a lovely contrast to my hunched back, as I struggle to look anywhere but someone’s face. I can rock either of those looks whether I am wearing Grinchmas pants or a cute new dress from Target.
In all my cart abandoning antics, I realized a simple truth I keep missing. It honestly doesn’t matter if I have a spare tire or if I look like a sausage, because if I treat myself like I am ugly/am ugly to myself, I’m only going to be miserable. Miserable is a similar look to zipper-y leopard print sausage. I don’t recommend it. If I work with my body and my mind, I am already better. Am I happy with my appearance right now? No, I am not. Yet, every day is a new day to make better or worse choices. I read, “The Buddha has said that your karma can change in an instant. The moment you decide to change it. No one can understand the vastness of karma, which can extend lifetimes before, nor can anyone understand the ripples that a good choice can make in changing your karma.” Alan Watts had explained that to truly be whole – to stop living in the pain of duality – you must embrace and love your gods and devils – which exist in the pantheon of your mind, body, and heart. The only way to overcome your demons is to love them, not hate them.
When I started this, I was vomiting blood. I may have been happier with my appearance, but I suspect my internal organs weren’t happy with me. There is nothing worse than fighting with yourself, because no matter the outcome, you lose. I remember when I first started speaking openly about bulimia, I was so ashamed. I was ashamed at how fat I was and for what I was doing to myself. After a year of being honest, I feel as though I have lost weight – a lot of embarrassment and shame. It’s a coping skill I chose many years ago, and I have only recently (in the grand scheme of things) started to address. I’m tired of fighting, shaming, and guilting myself. None of those are love. What is love is saying, authentically, “I’m struggling with bulimia again. It’s hard, because every time I want to eat, I feel the urge to vomit, and sometimes I succumb to that. I’m not allowing myself to feel guilty and let that chain reaction start. I’m trying to eat less and move more, because water is still wet.”
I suspect, if I can love myself as much as I hate myself, the weight may come off naturally. Hell, I suspect I’ll find many more benefits than a smaller spare tire.