Since I can already tell, perhaps I should warn you – this is going to be one of those posts…one that skips around a bit and touches on everything from organizing my house to airing out body image struggles. Now that last bit is something I’ve written about here before but haven’t updated on in quite some time, and today feels like the day for it. So here goes.
In the grand scheme of things, body image and self-talk have improved. When I have bad days, or rather, bad moments, I’m able to be more gracious with myself and talk through them in a more kind and compassionate way. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t let the supposed opinions of others still creep in from time to time. This mostly relates to my belly and the fact that I’m still convinced that I could look pregnant just about any given day and that other people must see and wonder about that, too, but oh, well. I think you all know by now that if I had news like that to share, I would.
The times that I have struggled the most with feeling dissatisfied have been on several teaching nights when I’ve pulled out old dress pants, assuming I could wear them again.
The first time this happened I was all WTH is going on here? My jeans fit. I feel pretty good most days AND I’ve been doing the work of the consistent yoga and meditation practices which typically helps keep these monsters at bay. So why do these pants make me feel like this (never mind why my pants have any power at all….)?! And then it struck me: I have not bought new dress pants since Harrison was a baby. And even then, just a pair or two, which means that ALL the rest of my professional wardrobe exists from the days of pre-childbirth, and in some cases, even pre-married life!
How had I not realized this before? Because my adjunct life has been so spotty, taking several full semesters off, and even half of the semesters that I have taught in the last 5+ years have actually been while I was pregnant, so I was wearing maternity stuff anyway, not trying to fit into pants that once hung on hips that hadn’t yet carried a baby (or four).
So why the heck have I kept them? Two reasons, I suppose. For one thing, who wants to buy new pants when you have a closet full of perfectly decent ones? For a second, who doesn’t delude themselves into thinking Oh, sure – those will totally fit again someday! ?
But the time came, today, when I said enough. After a second pair of pants tried last week to sabotage all of my progress, I realized it was time to quit hanging on to pants and meet myself (and my hips) where I am now. This morning I went through my closets and pulled out all the pants with those pretty littles 6s on them and said, Nope. Maybe I’ll fit in that size again someday, but there is nothing wrong with my shape or size as it stands now, and I will set some money aside so I can find pants that actually reflect that feeling and belief. Numbers on tags be damned.
I came up with a stack big enough, including skirts and few tops and – gasp – the dress I wore to my undergraduate graduation, to fill up an entire jumbo diaper box with stuff. My plan is to take it all to the Career Closet at the YWCA so other women can have access to the same goods I had when my full-time career required such garb, and it is my sincere hope that they feel as confidant wearing those clothes as I once did.
As for me, well, this work continues. I don’t want my pants to rule my perception of self, and I’m making strides there. Cutting ties to what once was is a positive action for me. Because there is nothing – nothing – wrong with this body and what it and I have done together. I will strive to cover it in pieces that help me honor instead of doubt that. And if it means freeing up some space in closets, well all the better.