I can't fit into a size large skirt at Zara.
I know because i tried one on on Wednesday.
I was out with my girlfriend Joy and we'd just had lunch and were discussing the date I had that evening and what I'd be wearing and she was saying I should show off my figure and maybe wear some heels. And i was lamenting the fact she didn't think converse appropriate and did I really need to wear my bangs down? And as all this was happening we were wandering in and out of stores, running errands, browsing in that way that's mostly a side-eye-sort-of-thing when we happened upon a mini skirt in Zara. It was feminine and structured--the right balance of sexy and sweet.
And so we both declared it totally date-night-appropriate.
But when I tried it on it was tight in that way that is unforgiving and unkind and totally unwearable. And it was a size large.
I ended up wearing jeans and wedges and white lace top with a blazer. And I felt totally great.
And so that was that.
But there's this nagging thought: I'm so very close to the body I've always wanted--a body that is healthy and very, very normal--and I can't find into a size large skirt at Zara. And so what. the. hell, you know?
I read an article in Cosmopolitan (the esteemed woman's journal) a few months back about how the three worst words a woman can say to a man are such: I feel fat. And i'm gonna level with you. I read that and though: Genius. That is genius. Spot on.
The reasoning being that (1) men like to feel like problem solvers. Men do not like to feel helpless. And those three words speak to a problem that they just can't solve. (2) It plants this sort of thought in their head that you may in fact be fat or with less than perfect thighs or breasts or whatever it is you lambasted with your unkind words and (3) it gets the men feeling self-concious and insecure about their own bodies (and if there is anything I've learned after dating a good many men over a good few years now--men might just be more insecure than women, so it's best not to encourage that).
Number two is something I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about over the last few years. When we say I feel fat, that's fat talk. And fat talk is insidious and destructive. The one thing that I'd encourage anyone who wants to drastically and subversively change their life for the better is to eliminate fat talk. That's it. Don't engage in it, don't encourage it, and if you can, call others on it: Hey, that's fat talk, enough of that. Or Don't speak that way--this is me looking out for you. Fat talk is absolutely everywhere. And one of the things I began to notice is that when my best girlfriends would talk about having gained weight or their unhappiness with this-or-that-body-part--as soon as they called my attention to it, they planted an idea and I would then see what they were talking about. Oh yes, there's that extra weight. Let me make this very clear: I did not see it, until they pointed it out to me. And even then, who knows if I actually saw it or I just thought i saw it. And these are women I love and adore.
Such is the power of suggestion.
The most salient point of the article, I thought, was the suggestion that very often the bits and parts of our body we dislike the most, men absolutely adore. And if they've spent all night loving and caring for those bits and parts and we wake up and rip them to shreds--it makes men feel as if they're staring into a fun house mirror. makes them feel as if they can't trust their own eyes. Because that thing--the body--they think so beautiful we've just laid to waste with a few unkind words.
I am, for the most part, really proud of my body. But I am even more proud of how I got to this body. I never count calories. I eat full-fat everything. I mostly order the hamburger. And when I say I have as many lattes as I want over the course of a day, I actually mean that. I have them with full fat milk and a little bit of coconut oil. Yes! I add coconut oil! I can imagine diet experts/addicts the country over shaking their heads: extra fat, extra calories. But coconut oil is incredibly good for us--it helps with cholesterol levels and nutrient absorption, it aides in the reduction of belly fat, is an anti-inflammatory.
I was out with a guy a few months back and somehow the discussion turned to weight loss and we each described how we'd once been bigger and he said to me, But don't you miss those times when you just way overindulge--those times when there is absolutely no restraint? Nope, I said. Because if I feel the need to eat that way, I do. I refuse to live my life as if a sort of vigilance must be kept. Because how exhausting. How utterly exhausting. (And I'm having a hard enough time not crawling into bed at any given moment).
And so here I am with a body I quite like and I can't fit into a size large skirt at Zara. And a sort of fun house mirror erupts before me.
And I'm not sure what to do about it today other than walk away. And say, that's not today's worry. That uncertainty, that question, that distorted image will not govern me right now. I'll simply recognize that something's a bit askew and walk away.