Literally. I was going to a gift exchange party yesterday evening and decided to see if I could fit into a pair of burgundy corduroys I bought a couple of years ago. I knew I was bigger than I’d been when I bought them, but I love the fabric and vibrant color, so I deluded myself into…maybe?
I told myself going in, I was not going to be upset or denigrating about my body if they didn’t fit. I’ve come a long way from attaching my self-worth to thinness. But old habits die hard, slow deaths and often require extra wacking with a shoe until their parts are disembodied all over the hardwood floor, much the same as those giant, flying Texas roaches.
In my closet, I pulled those soft, beautiful pants from their hanger and stepped into them. I couldn’t get them up over my hips/ass – not even close. I couldn’t even wrangle them up, pull the zipper up with a pair of pliers and pretend they fit. Getting those things up to my waist would have ended in second-degree corduroy skin burns and splitting seams. That’s cool; no big deal. I knew this might happen.
I hung the corduroys back up and opted for boring black leggings, but topped them with my favorite red velour top and colorful beads. The velour top was tighter around my hips and belly than I’d remembered. It’s all good. This is my body, and it is great, no matter it’s size fluctuations.
I felt droopy. I felt deflated and defeated and a little like crying. My body-positive messages were failing against other much less useful ones, like gaining weight is a failure and thin equals success. Here is where I habitually compound the negative messages by feeling guilty for letting them get in my head. So, then, on top of feeling a drop in self-worth, I also feel guilt, anger and confusion.
This time, I let the negative messages be. I told myself, Of course they’re there. They’ve been everywhere your whole life, and you wouldn’t be human if they didn’t get to you now and then. I acknowledged those thoughts, let them sit there and by this morning, they’ve gone away. Huh. How about that?
In retrospect, this wasn’t the best time of month to challenge my body positivity foundations. You have to know when you’re up for a challenge and when it’s better to lie low. This particular trying on of pants was an error in judgement on my part. But I learned something from it anyway. I learned the negative thoughts won’t kill me, and they’ll go away much quicker if I don’t layer shit on top of them. I learned I need to keep working toward improving my view of bodies, and I learned to leave challenges to another day when I’m not up to them. But, most of all, I learned…buy new pants.