My husband and I went to a holiday cocktail party the other day. One of the dresses I currently own probably would have worked, but most of the people we were mingling with were upper level management type folks. Since the hubs is looking for a new job with said peeps, we decided to go dress hunting to see if we could find a more sophisticated looking cocktail dress.
I say we because, I will tell you, I am not a girly girl. I can put on mascara, but not without scratching my eye at least once. I don’t even own lipstick. I have to hunt down my cherry flavored chapstick if I want to give my lips color. So with my husband home and my girlfriends all at work, he came with me for moral support. I don’t do shopping. I especially don’t do pretty dress shopping for a fancy, but not too elegant, cocktail party at whiskey distillery. The whiskey, by the way, was really good!
Some of the dresses I tried on were a bit more flattering to a woman’s curves than I was use to. We started half-joking about wearing a body suit of some sort underneath to flatten out the lingering loose skin and not-a-six-pack abs that I have. Once we found a few dresses we both liked we looked for body flattering under garments.
Now here is my disclaimer. I am not what anyone, myself included, would consider overweight, fat, chunky, or any other unflattering description that women use to describe themselves. I workout, not regularly, but often. I eat healthy, but I also enjoy the food and the company I’m with when I eat. I don’t overeat and I don’t do sugar or a ton of fiber-free carbs. Am I as toned as I would like to be? No, but I also don’t workout as regularly as I should to be that toned. Do I still have some flabby areas? Yes. But, again, I have a body that I am comfortable with. I don’t struggle with body image. I’m strong enough to pick up all of my kids, in shape enough to run (okay, jog) a 5k, and I can keep up with the 5 little rascals who run around my house every afternoon.
The first undergarment I tried on was like super tiny panties. My loose skin / tiny amount of flab hung over like a muffin top that would make Martha Stewart’s pastries green. The second one I tried on was like wearing granny-panties underwear that came all the way up to the bottom of my bra. It squished everything out the leg holes. So the third one that I attempted to wear was like a swimsuit that had legs attached. Now imagine it was a swimsuit that was 5 sizes too small. I could barely get the darn thing on, and I’m really not even sure I even had it on correctly. I couldn’t grab enough of the fabric to try and wrestle it around to what I thought might be the correct position.
These undergarments made me cry. Ugly cry. I began to doubt myself and the “shape” that I was in. These undergarments accentuated everything society deems a flaw on the female form. Then, I got angry. I was angry at myself for doubting my comfortableness with my body, and I was angry at society for allowing women to live with the pressure of needing to have a “perfect” body. I have had 3 children and I enjoy food and I refuse, REFUSE!!, to be judged for that.
Let me tell you right here, right now, that you are perfect! You don’t need pounds of makeup to be pretty. Accentuate that beauty that you already have. You don’t need to lose tens or hundreds of pounds to have a perfect body. You are already perfect. And maybe you should lose some for health reasons, but those should be the only reasons. Please, please!, do not let society dictate to you what you think your body should or should not be. It’s not their body, it’s yours for you to do with what you want. Granted, everything we do do to our bodies has consequences, but those consequences are ours, and not for society to dictate.
It took me many minutes before I was ready to checkout with my husband. Once I was able to stop angry crying and tell him what was rolling around in my head, his words were kind and supportive. One of the many reasons I love him so much. They were along the lines of “I know you’ve struggled with the way you’ve viewed your belly in the past, and you’ve worked hard to not let it bother you, but I think this attitude is the healthiest of all”
There are many things to be judged on, but not this. This ceaseless judgement by society about the way we look says a lot about the way we view ourselves individually. I see you, and I will not judge you for the way you look, but for the way you treat others. You are awesome and loved for you!
P.S. For those of you that are looking for determination to make a difference in your health, I strongly recommend Betty Rocker. I love her workout videos, she always has a modification for those of us that can’t always do the move. I also love her encouragement, and the few recipes of hers that I have tried. And, I was not paid to say any of this, she really is awesome in my opinion!