So…in case you’re wondering (and I’m sure all three of you who read this have been waiting with bated breath just DYING to know how this turned out, ha ha) – I gave him the letter. I did it. I actually did it.
I had had a night of very little sleep when I wrote that post. I saved it, and rushed off to church (of COURSE I was late. If I show up anywhere early, assume aliens have taken possession of my body, and what you’re seeing isn’t me, but an imposter, and shoot me with a green laser gun before I take over the planet.)
After church, we sat on the couch and talked. Well…I tried to talk. I was too upset to say much. Finally, I told him, “I wrote you a letter. I don’t want to give it to you. It may be hard to read. Some of it isn’t very nice. But you need to understand it comes from a place where I am hurting. I hope you can read it in the spirit in which it is intended.”
He asked for the letter.
He read the letter while I cried.
Then he said, “I love you, and I want to talk about this. But first, let me change my shirt.”
And then he went to his closet and THREW THE MEAN SHIRTS AWAY. ALL OF THEM. Every last one.
And then we talked. Really talked.
I was stunned – still am, frankly – that he actually threw those shirts away. He must really love me. I’m overwhelmed by that. How can I mean so much to him?
He really is an amazing guy.
I walked around for the next week feeling like I had removed an eighty-pound backpack that I’d forgotten I was carrying. Drama is like that – it starts out as a flashy new bag, which is hip and cool and fun to show off as you twirl and strut. But as time goes on, it collects rocks and dirt and lead and concrete. It gets heavier and heavier, and for some reason, you keep carting it around like you’re doing it a favor. As if it benefits you in some way. It’s only when you eventually unload it that you realize how soul-suckingly bad it was for you, how much of a drain it was on your energy and your joy.
So I spent a full week feeling almost normal. And then things went sideways again (due to a visit with my folks…doesn’t visiting your parents always remind you of the ways you’ve failed them? I may write more about that later.) Suffice it to say I had plenty to talk about in my appointment with Dr. P this week.
One of the things I’ve been struggling with is accepting myself at a higher weight. I hate saying this, because I KNOW how lame, pathetic, and first-world-problemy it sounds. Really. I’d totally be rolling my eyes (and mentally slapping her) if anyone ELSE told me how hard it was for her now that she’s eaten her way out of a size zero and is ALL THE WAY up to a size two now. Boo freakin’ hoo, right?
But when it’s your own body? When the sign of success you previously had (BMI of 18, yeah!) has faded away? When your clothes are getting tighter? When no one gasps at how skinny you are anymore, and the one thing you used to be good at, the ONE AREA you could excel in, the ONLY area that anyone in society seems to value (and certainly the one that’s the most prized, yet least attainable, by you) is now an area where you’re not in the best 5%? Where you’re now just…normal? It kind of sucks. It feels like failure.
AND THAT’S STUPID.
Intellectually, I know I am not a fat monster. I can’t be. The numbers do not add up. Even if I looked 20 pounds heavier than I am, logic tells me I cannot possibly be a huge beast. But when I look in the mirror, my thighs are bulging out in all directions, and my stomach poofs out in an unflattering not-sure-if-she’s-pregnant bloat. Flesh hangs over the tightening waistband of my pants (hello, back fat. Who invited YOU, anyway?) Pants in the smallest size are uncomfortably snug and emphasize every flaw.
Ah, yes, the pants. I have clothes that have been hanging in my closet, unworn for several months, mocking me. You can’t wear me. I cut you sharply across the waist; I stretch in a most unflattering fashion across your thighs. I’m here to remind you that you will NEVER be good enough. You will never be perfect. What a shame that you lack the discipline to stick to your diet. How pathetic that you have so little control. I’m a prize you don’t deserve to have.
How ironic. Apparently, it wasn’t just my husband who had hurtful things in his closet.
So, during my session with Dr. P, we decided that I’d clean out my closet. I had mixed feelings about this. First and foremost (if you’re female and have ever struggled with your weight, you’ll guess this one) – “WHAT ABOUT WHEN I GET THIN AND CAN WEAR THEM AGAIN?” I know I’m trying to learn to accept myself at a healthy weight, but I’m not ready to say that I will never be 107 pounds again. And that’s OK – I’m not there now, but I’m not ready to let go of that quite yet. In the meantime, the pants don’t fit me well now, so why keep them when all they do is make me unhappy? And, as Dr. P reminded me, “if you do need that size later, you’ll want to buy new stuff anyway.” Good point.
And today I did it. I went to my closet and ruthlessly pulled out all the size 0 pants. I went through EVERYTHING (and I have a BIG closet, folks. As if I would live in a house with inadequate closet space. AS IF.) and bravely deposited in the Donations bag a grand total of…
<drum roll, please>
one skirt and two pairs of pants.
<cue sad trombone>
All that fuss for TWO FREAKING PAIRS OF PANTS?
(Wow. Drama much?)
I stared at my small offering in disbelief….Yup. Out of an entire wardrobe of “clothes I’m too fat for,” I had two – TWO – pairs of pants that are a bit snug to be flattering. And you know what? THEY NEVER ACTUALLY FIT ME WELL IN THE FIRST PLACE. The brown pants were too short in the rise <coughcoughcameltoecough> and the black pinstripe pair were flattering but were always gave me a bit of back fat. The skirt was skin-tight, but always had been, really, and I hadn’t worn it much because it was borderline inappropriate – a little too Jessica Rabbit for the office.
What’s amazing me about this is the power that these unworn pants had. I mean, I have like 10 pairs of other pants – that FIT – and I wasn’t enjoying them because I had two ill-fitting pairs in my closet? And WHY WAS I NOT BLAMING THE PANTS? I can’t possibly expect every pair of pants to fit well and be flattering. But…isn’t that what I’ve been doing?
The mean pants are in the donation sack, ready to leave my life completely tomorrow.
And, just like that, I have a closet full of pants that fit.
All my clothes fit.
That sort of feels…good? Wait, that’s not the word. More like “not a failure.”
I’ll take it. It’s not my usual style, but the cut is surprisingly comfortable, so I’ll try to work it into my wardrobe.