It was 84 degrees yesterday. I know, I know, half of the country is still cold, still complaining, and it was gorgeous here. And I did what I always do when spring arrives here in the South. I stood in my closet and stared. Still damp from a shower and bundled in my robe, I gazed up at the very top shelf-the shelf that holds all of my shorts. Down here we don’t put things in the attic, we just rotate drawers or shelves, our winter is so short, it hardly makes sense to box things up. So I stood there for a good bit. My hand inadvertently went to my belly the way it did when I was pregnant. Only I am not pregnant. I am staring at that shelf wondering what is going to fit. It is an annual event, one that I dread. It fills me with shame and self-loathing every time. You would think I would have learned by now, would have made the changes-permanent ones, so that this wouldn’t happen year after year. But yet there I was.
I stared at those shorts and willed them to fit. And they did not. Or, they did, just not well. They felt tight in all the wrong places. And I wanted to cry.
So I did what I always do, and I went to the local Goodwill. I bought shorts and capris in sizes I gave away a year or so ago. Sizes I swore I would not wear again. I did what all of the magazines tell you to do and I got rid of all of my ‘fat’ clothes back then so that I would not slip back into them. I donated them to Goodwill. And yesterday, I bought them all back. My rationale for buying them back at Goodwill is that I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them, because I am going to lose the weight again. But who am I kidding? How much money have I spent buying the same sizes over and over again? (And by the way, I love Goodwill, and thrift shops).
My husband says I have body dysmorphic disorder, that I don’t look that bad and I see myself completely distorted. I don’t think so. I look at my legs and it is hard for me to see where my thighs end and my knees start. I sit on the porch and look down at my belly and I see a roll-a bonafide roll starting over my waistline. I go to the doctors and I see the scale, I hear them calculate my BMI and I know I am not fooling myself. I may not be obese, or morbidly so, but on a 5’ frame, I am not fit and healthy. Not even close.
Last week on Facebook a friend shared an article about women coming in all shapes and sizes and what shapes and sizes can wear a bikini (all of them). Her comment was that we should be accepting and loving of our bodies and feel powerful and beautiful and desirable and not be so hard on each other or ourselves. I loved it. I agree with it.
But she has had plastic surgery. Breast reduction, tummy tuck, lipo-the works. So it’s a bit hypocritical to me. I would love to have that luxury. I would love to alter what I cannot fix by myself with diet and the bit of exercise I fit in. Or the bit of exercise I can still do? I wanted to make the comment to her post that it must be easy to preach when you have had the benefit of the blade, but I bit my tongue, and it was reaaaaaallly hard.
Becoming Vivid writes ‘I do not accept my current body’ in her post My Descent into Mom Jeans, and I have said those words in my head every day since. Neither do I. I feel like I have accepted enough lately. Why do I have to swallow this too? Why do I have to battle my body and myself again. I accept that by 43 I have had 2 back surgeries and I have to be more careful than most. I accept that after the second, the nerve to my leg and foot did not heal, did not wake up and I will forever have a limp, and toes that don’t work and an ankle that I cannot control. I accept that while I have hidden my leg brace in the back of my closet, as I get older, I may need to wear it again. I accept that I lost part of my hearing after a car accident. I accept the two tiny incredibly annoying hearing aids that I now have to wear. I accept all of the things I cannot hear and all of the sounds that are distorted to me now-music, accents, whispers. Hell, I even accept that I am prematurely grey-that my hair is completely salt and pepper-mostly salt in some places.
So do I really have to accept cellulite and a muffin top? Do I really have to accept jeans that are too tight and shorts that don’t fit? Do I really have to accept that my body has no memory of the muscles I used to have? Why do I have to keep fighting myself year after year on this one? Can’t I get a pass-or at least a good plastic surgeon?