The complexities of body image and wearing a slinky dress anyway
Body image disorders are a trip, I tell you. So lately, it’s not about my weight. It’s about the shape of my body.
The truth is, I’m small right now. In fact, my boyfriend has never seen me this small. So it’s not about my weight. It’s about my knock-knees, and the sort of square shape of my hips, how big my belly is, how my arms jiggle. It’s about what bulges and what sags. It’s always about not being pretty enough.
It’s not that I’m not beautiful, or that I don’t know that I am. It’s complicated. It’s more about obsessing and worrying. It’s more about focusing on the aspects of my body that are not photoshop perfect.
I know I’m not the only one. And I also know that “perfect” is just a bill of goods we have collectively been sold. But it doesn’t stop me from thinking about it. Sometimes obsessively.
We are going to Florida next week. So there’s wearing the bikini. And I bought a new dress to wear on the beach and it’s what you might call “slinky.” And I keep thinking “did I make a mistake? Should I buy a different dress? Is my body not perfect enough for the one I bought?”
Sometimes, when I am disconnected from something, it doesn’t occur to me as “painful” but it affects my life to a greater extent than I am aware of. For example, when I used to have a personal trainer years ago, he would give me fitness tests from time to time, and ask me to rate my pain/discomfort level from 1-10. As I got into better shape, my levels rose. When I was out of shape, I was so disconnected from my body that I was almost numb to the pain of living in that body. So even though in reality it was easier to do the exercise as time went on, it registered as more painful because I was actually living in my body.
I have a similar experience with my body image disorders. Over the years, the more accepting and loving I am of my body, the more my disorders are right there in my face.
So I may be less numb to my fears and my judgements, but at the same time, I’m more likely to wear what I want to wear. There was a time I would never wear a bikini in public. And I would have opted for a more loose-fitting dress.
But now I wear what I want. And I love it. And if I worry about how big my thighs are…well, moments pass.