Today I am doing a little thinking out loud. I’m sharing with you an experience that happened several weeks ago. It was one of those little things that made a big impression in my mind.
I went looking around a secondhand clothing store. I came across a really cute red and black plaid skirt that looked perfect for our upcoming Christmas service. In fact, I found two of the same skirts, side by side. What are the chances of that in a secondhand store? Well, they weren’t exactly the same- they were two different sizes, both one size apart. Oddly, the cheaper one was the smaller one. Maybe it was slightly older? Who knows.
I thought to myself, Can I fit in the smaller one? I think I can. I’ve worn that size many times before. So instead of taking both of them into the dressing room, I only took one of them. The smaller and cheaper one. I even brought a crop top back with me to try on with the skirt. I never wear crop tops, but hey, why not see what it looks like? As I pictured myself in the outfit, I felt for certain it would be a good look.
In the dressing room, I stripped down and put the top on. Ooo this is a little tight. That’s okay, I thought, it’s just to see what the skirt looks like. Next the skirt. I pulled the skirt up and went to button it- Um, this is a little harder than I thought. Suck in. Button. Try to breathe. Realize that if I tried to sit down I may suffocate.Look at myself. See the little bit of flesh poking out from in-between the skirt and shirt.
Okay. So this is not cute. Not cute at all.
You see, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been in this situation. Over the last few years I’ve been lucky to have awesome friends who give me their hand-me-downs. It’s been a while since I’ve faced the horrible lighting of a dressing room to remind me that I do indeed have cellulite and kind of a lot of it.
The thoughts came flooding in- Since when could I not fit in this size? Have I gained that much weight? What am I going to do? I’ve been baking too much. Too many easily accessible containers of food at home. Too little movement- why don’t I walk more?
I quickly left the dressing room and told Terry I was ready to go. He asked why I didn’t get the skirt. I blankly replied “I’m not that size anymore.” He asked why didn’t I get the other one. I replied honestly, “I’m feeling a little deflated”. End of conversation. On the drive home I began to think about how I could get back to that size- Less snacking. More diligent with using My Fitness Pal. Don’t stay in the house so long. Fruit and veggies, not baked goods. More time in the gym….
Luckily, I snapped out this train of thought pretty quickly. It went home with me and lasted about an hour. But then I realized I had to try one of my freshly baked peppermint mocha cookies, obviously.
Reflecting on my thoughts, I realized how much energy I was NOT willing to put into trying to lose weight. Heck, I don’t need to lose weight! All my clothes fit and I’m well within a healthy weight. I look back and see how I had it wrong when I told Terry “I’m not that size anymore.” I am not any size. I am not a size. I wear a size. In fact, I wear many different sizes, depending on the brand.
Do I think this was a brief moment of falling back into disordered thoughts? Maybe. But more than that, I think it was a pretty common thought process that a lot of women take part in. I think it was the idea that pervades media messages saying “smaller is better” or “weight gain equates to a lack of self control”.
There’s a very specific kind of evil out there waiting to steal our attention and diminish our confidence so that we won’t be successful. By giving into those ideas of needing to lose unnecessary weight or needing to eat cleaner when we already have a healthy diet, is letting that evil steal our ability to focus on things that matter and move towards our real goals. We are allowing ourselves to be chained to a unrealistic image. An image that we will likely never achieve, but may make us miss out on a million different things trying to achieve it. So yeah, I had the thoughts. I let a bad dressing room experience intrude on 2 hours of my day it didn’t deserve. I shouldn’t have given it 5 minutes, much less 2 hours.
So listen, no more crying in the dressing room. It doesn’t deserve our tears and it sure doesn’t deserve our attention once you step outside the door.