Alternative title: I’m in the midst of a body image breakdown that has probably been triggered by my inability to read European sizes so have inadvertently stuck my leg into a pair of jeans (that were probably child’s size) and proclaimed myself a whale upon finding the waist band sitting just above the knee.
While the jeans were the trigger, they definitely weren’t the underlying cause. In fact, I’m pretty sure the jeans were probably just the scapegoat in this situation. As I stood in my underwear, in front of the full length changing room mirror, I got to see all my perceived imperfections highlighted by terrible lighting.
Highlighted further, by my own demons.
The jeans, it seems, weren’t the enemy…I was.
For weeks I’ve tried to be more body positive, I’ve tried to pick a feature of myself that I like everyday to focus on when the demons strike, but in that small cubicle it didn’t seem to matter that I actually quite liked my eye colour that day. Oh no, what seemed to matter was the size of my ass, the cellulite, the tree trunks I call legs, the stretch marks, the Acne outbreak…Man, the Acne!
In that moment no amount of positive vibes were breaking down the negativity.
In that moment I saw the ugliest part of me, and it wasn’t a physical thing.
In that moment I couldn’t stand to look at myself for a second longer without feeling repulsed.
I dressed in haste, passed the clothing items to the shop assistant with a “no, thank you” before rushing out of the shop. I told M I wasn’t interested in the items, that they didn’t fit or feel right…In reality, I didn’t feel right. I wanted to cry but instead I pulled on my big girl pants, took a few deep breaths and tried to focus on something else. The water fountain, the sign for the latest cosmetic crap, the kid screaming blue murder over his spilled juice. Anything and everything in that sensory overloaded shopping space that could possibly distract me.
“It’s going to be ok” my brain said.
“I’ve been trying so hard” I murmur, then rubbed my eyes and sniffled.
“You’ve also been under a lot of work pressure, we’ve had to miss exercise classes because of the long hours spent working, you’re recovering from cholera (not really), the food recently hasn’t been the most nutritious because of being ill and let’s not forget about the coffee situation. You’re probably picking fault with yourself because of the pressure…Seriously, we’re ok” my brain tried to reassure me.
I nod…I nod and acknowledge that I’ve not been taking good care of myself recently. I acknowledge that I’ll have days like this where hiding under a duvet and pretending the world doesn’t exist is preferable to being in a crowded shopping centre while having a body confidence crisis.
I acknowledge that I have stretch marks and cellulite.
Sometimes I guess you just have to stop, take a deep breath and say…
Or something to that effect.
So folks, how do you deal with body image demons? And what is it with the lighting in changing rooms?!