This past weekend I did a bit of clothes shopping that taught me that despite all the weight I've lost I'm nowhere close to being over my body issues.
It all started when I innocently decided to venture into the dress department at Nordstroms. With the change of seasons once again came the realization that the clothes I own for the current season don't fit as they are too big. Yes! Thiss is a good reason to have to buy new clothes. I won't dispute you on that point. However, it still doesn't make me love the process of acquiring new clothes.
Truth be told, I hate clothes shopping. Despite the fact that I've lost all this weight and all signs point to me not putting a majority of it back anytime soon, I still have this vision in my mind of the heavier me. Regardless of the numerous times I see a slimmer reflection in the mirror there is a big part of me that is still convinced that it's not real and thus I see no need for new clothes.... that is until I put on the clothes I have and see them hanging (literally) from my body.
So there I was at Nordstrom's in the dress department. (For some reason I decided if I was getting new clothes I would try getting some clothes that I don't normally wear to work - like dresses.) On this particular trip I was with Rachel, whom I was happy to have along because I wanted a second opinion and I knew if I was going to be dress shopping I wanted to make sure I wasn't diluting myself. If there is anyone in my life who will give me a honest opinion, it's Rachel... I just wasn't expecting brutally honest!
After putting on this grey and light blue knit dress I pranced out of the dressing room as I was quite happy about the way it looked on me. I modeled the dressed and asked Rachel what she thought. Rachel loved it! After discussing the important stuff, like what shoes to wear with the dress, as I was about to make my way back to my dressing room to try on the next dress I had picked out Rachel said, "Do you own a pair of Spanx?"
I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and shot Rachel a horrified look that screamed, "Did you seriously just ask me if I own a pair of Spanx in front of EVERYONE in this dressing room area?"
"You know... Spanx to 'smooth out and suck in' tummy and backend" Rachel continued as she waved her hands around her stomach and hips.
"Yes, I know even though I've lost a lot of weight I'm still fat! No need to remind me. And yes, I was planning on wearing control top hose with the dress," I said as I quickly made my way back to my room.
For the remainder of our time at Nordstroms I was distant. There was no denying Rachel's question had upset me. Not learning from the Nordstroms experience, Rachel and I made our way to Macy's to look at what dresses they had there. (I was on a roll so I figured "Why Not?!" surely she had learned from our Nordstrom's incident.) While trying to decide between two sizes on a dress at Macy's, Rachel says to me, "Remember, if you get that size you can't gain any weight."
"Gain weight? I wasn't planning on it," I said.
Once again, I quickly made my way back to my dressing room so I could change my clothes and get the hell out of there. We would make one more stop to look at winter coats before we parted ways... and that was an experience all in of itself.
So, why bring up any of this on this blog?
The main reason I bring this up has to do with the fact that ever since this happen, last Sunday, it has bothered me to no end. Since then, every time I go to eat I hear Rachel telling me "I can't gain weight". And I'm not talking about eating crap food. I'm talking about even when I'm eating foods that are clearly healthy. This particular shopping trip has reinforced the fear that has stopped me from obtaining clothes that fit the thinner me.... the fear of gaining back all the weight.
Furthermore, the fact that I can't stop thinking about Rachel's comments bother me as well. The other night I was watching the movie Pretty Women. I can't quote the line Julia Roberts said that stuck out to me exactly, but it was something to the effect of, "The bad stuff is easier to believe." Ain't it the truth!!! Have you ever noticed that it's easier to believe the bad thing people say about you than it is the good things? Also, why is it that people are so quick to point out our flaws - too fat or skinny, not intelligent, bitchy, too nice, etc. - than to say good things about others? Ever since my shopping trip with Rachel I've been down on myself. For some reason all I can think about are Rachel's criticisms. Then I have to shake that thought out of my head... at least until the next time I go to eat something. Isn't it crazy how much others impressions of us can have on our self esteem?
Currently, I'm at the point in my book where I'm starting to write about why I made a conscious effort to lose weight and the journey I took (and still take) with that process. When you're in the process of looking back on things like this it often brings-up a lot of strong emotions that once existed in your day-to-day life. My writing buddy Dee Dee takes what she call the "Ernest Hemingway approach" to managing these emotions and drinks Whiskey when she write. I on the other hand choose not to drink and just feel those feeling all over again. I don't believe this to be a bad approach, but there is a price to pay for taking such an approach and when incidences, like what happened Sunday, rear their ugly head it just exacerbate the emotions I'm already feeling.
Lastly, I'd like to impress upon those reading this post to filter themselves. Having a verbal filters is a good thing to have!!! Rachel's comments were not expected from her... that's just the way she is and I have learned to react accordingly with that knowledge in mind; however, I feel she could have expressed her "helpful reminders" at a different time. A department store fitting room were there were obviously people around wasn't the time or place.
A lot of those who have heard me rant about this shopping trip have understood where I am coming from. They feel similar woos. I appreciate their sympathetic ear and kind words as they've attempted to help me feel better.
I will snap out of the body image trap I am currently in; it's just a matter of time. As for acquiring a pair of Spanx... I'm not sure, but I have to admit I am intrigued to know what all the fuss is about and may have to invest in a pair ... for "research purposes," of course!