Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Dressing and Liking and Living with Me

A few months ago, I was surprised to hear that Brynna told someone that she wished I wouldn't diet. Because she liked me the way I was. This didn't surprise me because my daughter said she liked me. She does. That's pretty factual (for the next few years, at least). But because she used to point out every diet plan on the TV like, "See? Huh? Huh? Whaddaya think?"

I let it go.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I said something about how my diet wasn't going particularly well and she said, "Good. I don't want you to lose weight. I like you the way you are." She looked so worried, I felt like I had to address the issue.

See, the thing is that I don't talk about weight much. I don't want my girls to walk away with the same issues (see fat = bad) as I have. And since I have a really hard time talking about it without being down on myself, I tend to avoid the issue altogether.

But when it came down to it, it was something we had to discuss. After going and back and forth for a while so I could figure out what she was thinking, I said this:
I believe that every person's body has a size and shape it wants to be. And you don't have to be that shape. You can work really hard and be a different shape, but if you eat healthy and get a normal, healthy amount of exercise, you're going to be the size and shape you're going to be. People are always trying to change that, but I don't see the point. Everyone's different and that's a good thing. My body is never going to be tiny. It's not going to be movie star little. I'm never going to be skinny. That's who I am. And I'm okay with that. I like my body a little bigger and a little squishier than everyone else's. My problem here is not that I want to be smaller to fit someone's ideal of what's pretty. My problem is that I have not been eating healthy or exercising very much and I am unhappy with certain things. I'm unhappy with my energy level and the way my clothes feel. I am trying to lose a little weight because that's what I think will make me feel better, not because I feel like my body is somehow bad the way it is.
She liked that answer. She was happy with that answer. And I was happy that I was able to say something I wasn't sure I believed. I want to believe all those things, but I struggle, you know. I struggle with liking myself and the way I look. Because I read magazines and I watch TV and I know how I'm supposed to look.

But the last few days, I've realized that I really do believe that more than I thought. I'm going to meet Neil Gaiman tomorrow. Me and about 1000 total strangers, but still. I want to look nice. There aren't even posed pictures allowed, so I don't know why I care, but I do.

I've been analyzing everything in my wardrobe and I finally settled on something. Going through this has really driven home that I don't like my clothes. I've experimented over the years, and especially since becoming a single person, with a lot of different styles. I tend toward the simple. Jeans. Solid tee. In the winter this will involve a sweater. In the summer, capris. I tend toward this because I like easy. And because I feel like you can't screw it up.

I don't want to be the person who makes a big deal of getting dressed in the morning. I don't want to waste my life worrying about what I'm wearing. But I also don't want to be the person whose wardrobe is determined entirely by ease.

I want to look at myself in the mirror and see me. Smiling, vivacious, funny, geeky, annoyingly optimistic me. I don't want to see the list of flaws I scan down to make sure that everything is appropriately draped in extra yardage. I don't want to see the person I think I should be. I don't want to see a big red forehead tattoo reading FAILURE.

In other words, I want to be okay. I want to be okay right now. Not 20 lbs from now or 50 lbs from now. I still want to get in better shape. I want to cook more and exercise more. I want to do those things because I think they will make me feel better. I also think they will make me smaller, because experience tells me they will. But that's not the point.

I want to like me. Because I want to raise girls who like themselves. And because it's so freaking tiring when you have to constantly listen to your biggest critic.


Suze said...

That's beautiful.
Hugs :)

Sharon Rickard said...

Your beautiful inside and out and I think you are marvelous!