“This body doesn’t feel like my body.”
I had a thought the other week about my body that brought me some peace, so I wanted to share.
The thought was: it’s going to take a while (months? a year? years?) to feel like this is my body…for the body I have now to feel like me.
- lower belly stretched-out-ness
- boobs that sag and remind me more of tube socks than my breasts (I’m still confused as to what kind of swimsuit will work now…I just ordered one with underwire to see if it’ll do)
- structure of my ribs being wider
- different mid back fat distribution that leaves a crease where two pockets of fat come together
Most of my life was spent with a body that didn’t have those things, so this body is new. I’m not used to seeing it in photos or dressing it. This is the first time in my life I’ve experienced stores not having my size in stores. Recently at Madewell I needed a bigger size of shorts than they carried and when I asked the sales associate for it and was told they didn’t carry it I said, “well, crap. That sucks. I would’ve bought them.” And then, because I was annoyed, I decided not to order them online because I was pissed off I couldn’t try them on before buying them. But then I realized that it makes sense that demand for that size online would lead to them putting extended clothing sizes in stores, right? And some stores have done this…including Madewell making efforts to offer extended sizes, which is great.
The same thing happened when shopping for a sports bra recently (well, not that recently lol with covid-19 life). The circumference (I really hate the word “girth”, so we’re using circumference) of my ribs is bigger than the bra I was interested in so again I said to the sales associate, “well, crap. That sucks. I would’ve bought it.”
I can’t control stores not having my size. But I can and have controlled certain spaces. For instance, I’ve created a home for my family and this blog which doesn’t think poorly of you or me when we take care of ourselves and don’t have one of the values we pursue be “have an aesthetically pleasing form” or “become smaller”.
A question on my mind often (relating to body and non-body topics) is: how gracefully do you let go of things that aren’t meant for you? Some of you may be thinking, ummm, not gracefully at all because our culture hates fat…and I hear you on that. It’s frustrating to not be able to buy clothes at the stores I’m used to buying stuff at. But I believe to my core that my body is a good body. One that I care for and care about and it is not the thing that needs to change.
A comment on an instagram post of Fiona’s recently said (or here is a paraphrased version of what I got from it), “body image healing is a relational process, not a linear one.” I imagine some of you have experiences being in relationships with people you find difficult but who you’ve decided you love and want to care for regardless. It made me think about how perhaps that’s how it is to be in our body sometimes…difficult, but you’ve decide you will care for it regardless.
Even as my worth and okayness is found less and less in my body size, the body changing takes getting used to. If I dyed my hair blonde, it would take some getting used to. As my body changes shape, it takes some getting used to. I don’t believe that it taking time to get used to something means that thing is bad, I’m just learning to expect to need the time to adjust.
Caring for your body is almost like taking care of something, but being detached from the outcome, or being detached from certain outcomes.
Outcome I’m detached from: size my body ends up.
Outcomes I’m after: modeling to my children a woman who cares for her body even as it has fat on it / being an intuitive eater and all the ease and peace that come along with that. Ultimately, I’m not willing to do anything that will make it harder for my daughters to be in their natural body size and, it’s my opinion, that me not being in and caring for my natural body size would make it harder for them to be okay being in their natural body. One’s natural body size = the body one ends up with when she takes care of herself.
I have the expectation of letting my body size evolve as I care for my health. I just realized that it’s gonna take a while for this body to feel like mine and that’s okay.
What do you think? What have you found is hard about this for you?