When I was smaller, I used to love shopping for clothes. I could always find my size and nearly everything I tried on looked pretty great (if I do say so myself). I remember the thrill of realizing that I needed an extra-small, something that had never happened to me before. Not only that but aren’t the clearance racks always full of too-cute, adorable, size 2s?
Now that I am struggling with my weight again, I once again have to battle what I like to call the Fitting Room Nightmare. It’s not the room itself that I hate (although granted they are usually much too small, with bad lighting, and not enough hooks to hang all your stuff on). It’s the actual trying on of the clothes that I despise.
When you’re not exactly a size 4, (let’s say you happen to be more like a size 14) and have junk not only in the trunk but upstairs too, it can be very frustrating to dress your body. Some fabric is much too clingy, some cuts make you look bigger than you are, other styles just look so much cuter on the hanger or on much smaller or taller girls.
I had such an experience this evening and it’s left me feeling frustrated, disappointed and a little down on myself (although I am trying really hard to stay positive!) My wardrobe has been in dire need of a facelift for some time now but my husband and I have been pinching pennies like crazy to try to pay down some debt. Now that I finally have a few extra dollars in my bank account (and the warmer weather has finally arrived!) I decided that it’s time to pick up some cute and fresh pieces for spring.
Now granted, I live in a fairly small city with one fairly small shopping centre and the selection of women’s clothing is generally terrible. There are about four or five stores that I can check out, that might have something. If I’m lucky. And if I do find something that I like, and it actually fits, chances are it won’t be on the sale rack. Because heaven forbid, I not only find something I like, but also get a deal!
Tonight, I tried on heaps of clothes. I even branched out and tried some styles that I haven’t tried before (palazzo pants anyone?) I decided to have an open-mind and just try. So I dressed, and undressed, and dressed again, and undressed, and dressed again, and undressed…. you get the idea. It was exhausting, I became increasingly frustrated as nothing I tried on looked halfway decent, and not only that, but all that dressing and undressing did some weird and not-so-wonderful things to my hair! Yuck.
After nearly three hours of searching tirelessly, I came out with one pair of grey chinos and a pair of workout pants (maybe the fact that I found workout pants is a sign? I will just live in them for the next two months, workout all the time, and by summer I might be able to find something more suitable to wear). Haha, no worries, I am only joking.
This experience has been pretty frustrating. It’s very hard to maintain self-confidence and a positive body image when it’s so difficult to find something that looks semi-decent on my body. Naturally, I start being hard on myself – wondering if I’ve been working out enough, questioning whether or not there are more changes I could make to my diet. Then I think of all the cute, size 6 clothes I have packed away in my basement (because they no longer fit), and well… you can see where this is going.
But the lesson is, I have been here before. I’ve been though the Fitting Room Nightmare many, many times (I can even recall at least one time when I was reduced to tears). And I survived. What I have to realize is that there’s more to this experience than just a body that’s hard to dress. Maybe the timing was off, maybe I need to save more money (man, decent clothes are pricey!), maybe I am just being too hard on myself. What I am trying to say is that although I want to sit down right now, feel sorry for myself, and dwell in overall feelings of crummy-ness, I’m not going to let that happen.
I am going to stay positive. I am going to stay focussed on the small changes I have made and remember that they are having a positive effect, even if I haven’t seen a big physical one yet. And most of all, I am not going to let a couple crummy hours in a fitting room (or a small mountain of clothes), dictate how I feel about my body or myself. I’ve got my eye on the prize and I’m only looking up.