Today, I went clothing shopping. It was needed. I had clothing, but I needed to get some more. Truly.
When I came home and was putting things away, I could not help but notice that there are clothes upon clothes in my closet that do NOT fit me. My mind keeps telling me that they will fit again soon. As soon as I lose so many pounds. As soon as I stop eating so much sugar. As soon as I start exercising more. And the list goes on. And on. And on.
I was scary skinny not so many years ago and I still struggle with my body image. As a result, I hold on to clothes that make me feel good and, on the slightest chance that I might have lost some weight, I try them on again and feel pretty crummy when they don’t fit. Most of my closet has these clothes as does my dresser.
So, today, as I put my new clothes away, it occurred to me that maybe I need to do another purge of the closet. Insert big sigh here. This means I will have to say goodbye to some really cute clothes, but it will also allow me to make room for me.
I have to recognize that my size doesn’t define me. My clothing doesn’t define me. My numbers don’t define me. I define me. My choices. My way of speaking. My mannerisms. Sure, what I wear helps me feel good about myself, but I am the same person whether I am wearing a peasant top or a business suit.
I used to wear business casual to work. Maybe sometimes more business than casual. I felt pretty and that I was able to be taken seriously. As a woman who perpetually looks about 5-10 years younger than I am, being taken seriously is important to me. So, I frequently dressed as professionally as possible. Most of my closet is full of dress clothes and suit jackets. And under my bed… There are a lot of heels.
Now, having accepted (somewhat) that my body has its own course, my clothes (and shoes) need to change. So, I intend to clean out my closet and sell or donate my old clothes to alleviate this need of mine to check my body’s growth based on sizes.
Let’s face it: our bodies change. I am not less of a person because I can’t fit in my clothes. That doesn’t make me a failure or one who has lost all control. It makes me human. Humans change. Our bodies change.
I know this may seem so obvious to some people, but to someone who has struggled with body image for 20 years, this is difficult. Beyond difficult. So, I have to challenge my thoughts on my body. My eating disorder brain wants me to join a gym. My realistic self says, “Some mornings it hurts to walk to the coffee maker. Do you think the treadmill will magically not hurt?” Been there. Done that.
So, the magic thing that needs to happen is acceptance. Right now, my body is like this. It may change. It may not. However, wishing to be smaller and that these other clothes still fit is making me miserable and keeping them (just in case) is taking up space that could be used for things that will make me feel better.
So, acceptance, it is.
Now, I clean my closet and my dresser.