Body Image : the Skinny Jeans
I remember sitting in my Santa Monica apartment on a floral-y orange duvet cover, there was a green tree decal sticker on the wall, vintage turquoise furniture and an ocean view. No seriously, I had glass sliding doors and I could see the Pacific Ocean from my bed.
I had probably just pressed the ignore button my phone from a 1-800 number that I knew was the credit card company calling. Again.
And there was a looming darkness in the corner of the room on the back of the bedroom door. They were a pair of dark denim flare jeans (way too flared) with a low rise cut and humongous pockets on the butt. They were my skinny jeans. And they didn't fit.
I was hustling hardcore working retail at a spandex company at the time. Spandex is a slippery slope. You know, they just stretch and stretch.
Amidst the stress of dollar bills, ocean views, dating in LA and working, the jeans no longer buttoned. So I placed them on the door for motivation. I read the book, 'Skinny Bitch' - remember that book? I was vegetarian for just about 2 weeks.
I worked out daily. Some times twice!
I ate "healthy" with major air quotes gesture. My idea of healthy was massive amounts of coffee, salad, a chicken breast, popcorn, and protein bars. And wine (that I probably bought on my credit card, eeek!).
And nothing changed.
The jeans stayed on the door.
I bought a magnet that read "Miracles happen. Keep the skinny jeans".
And I remember the motivation I felt in the first few weeks, but then it started to wane. It was like I would high five the skinny jeans and tell them I would see them soon. I would dance in the mornings, hey, more cardio! But after that, after those first few weeks, I started to feel heavy, both physically and emotionally. I started to feel annoyed. I started to get angry. I started to avoid my friends and stay home or go to more yoga. I started to disconnect from the things that mattered. I had a short fuse and I would seek validation by working overtime and avoiding my personal life.
And the jeans. I felt like they were mocking me. They felt like a reminder that I was no longer good enough. They felt expensive. They felt like the truth.
I love having goals. I do. Especially visual goals.
Yet with my body, with these jeans, it was reactive.
This goal was one set from a place of judgement. Self judgement. Body judgment.
Why do we keep the skinny jeans? Or that stack of clothes, the maybe one day clothes?
Do you have that stack?
In looking back into my 20's memory bank, I realize that I rarely met myself where I was in that exact moment. I was always pushing, hustling, forcing.... Self acceptance was scarce. And scary. Almost too real to process.
And my body was an all too easy target to pick apart.
What would have happened if I had taken those jeans to GoodWill? If that door were a blank slate or even an encouraging quote (you should see my house now)?
What could have happened if I would have looked at the bigger picture and noticed that there were other factors involved, like stress and lack of sleep and hello, the mental support of my mind with my body.
What if instead of the jeans as a goal, I had chosen health, self love and mind + body connection? The intentions, the language could have been different.
I would have been different.
I am different. Now.
Body image and goals. A slippery slope (like spandex). Can we shift our language, can we set goals in a space of connection and health, can we accept now?
As I approach the final weeks today in my pregnancy, I want to refer back to this note. I have the stacks of clothes in tupperware in my storage closet right now. The clothes I had pre-baby. And I will meet myself where I am at every day with a new language, a connection to health and a reminder of what my body is going through now and now and now.
There will be no jeans on the door. And perhaps there will be a shopping spree. I will keep you posted.
There will be way less judgment, more acceptance and body love.
Dear Body, I love you.