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Closet Issues...

I do not own a scale.

Never have.

Probably never will.

It's probably been well over a year since I have stepped on a scale. It's just never a good experience so it's not one I make a point to search out.

One morning, while visiting Western Nebraska at the end of June, my mom was talking about her joyful surprise over the result of her morning weigh in. Feeling good about the amount of walking I've been doing this summer, and the resulting increased comfort of the waistbands of many of my pants, I decided to step on her scale for a quick check. My heart sunk as I looked down at the little digital numbers that popped up on the display.

204.7 lbs.

My weight has only tipped into the 200s three other times during my life. Two of those times I was pregnant. I knew I had packed on a few extra pounds over the course of the past year, feeling less comfortable in many of my favorite clothes as the school year drew to a close, but seeing just how many was, honestly, shocking. I can't say for certain what was more depressing as I stood there staring down at my current weight: seeing the reality of just how much I had gained OR knowing how hard I would have to work to drop that number to one I'd rather see on the display.

I've struggled with holding a positive self image for a long, LONG time. I've rarely appreciated my body for what it has/can do, always focusing on all the ways it's less than ideal. I've blamed my body for a lot of negative situations/outcomes in my life. A failed fitness/yoga based business. A lack of physical intimacy in my marriage over the past year. The feeling of not quite fitting in with my cycling/yoga/coaching acquaintances. I blame a lot on my body.

My struggle is not unique. I know I'm not alone in dealing with body insecurity. I also know I'm not alone in hoping I can work to change my relationship with my body in a way that in turn helps my daughters to grow up and go into the world more confident and loving of their own beings. I'm am inspired by the number of ladies out there sharing their own stories of body image struggles on the interwebs, and the movement that is building among women who are increasingly refusing to allow our completely out-of-whack societal views of what a happy/sexy/worthy woman "should" look like to keep them from living a complete, engaging, satisfying and happy life.

Once upon a time, when I was teaching fitness/yoga classes for a living, I regularly wore a size 12. Size 12 is the smallest size I've ever worn in my post high school athlete years. It's my feel-better-about-my-body size. It's my comfortable in a bikini size. It's my I-look-damn-hot-in-this dress-and-high-heels size. It's also a body size that's practically impossible for me to maintain without HOURS of time most days of the week to devote to fitness and a close, close eye on what goes in my mouth. As much as I would like to return to that size of body, I just don't have the drive/energy/time available to devote to that venture at this point in my life. I will continue walking (almost) daily with my dogs because it does us all good, physically and mentally, to get out and move and breath some fresh air. I will continue to find time to practice yoga asanas because it helps me move with more comfort and grace. I will continue to search out ways to keep my body strong, because I like to do things, like yard work and building with my growing collection of power tools, that require strength.

There's nothing as frustrating, when you're already feeling down about your body, as heading to your closet to get dressed in the morning and not being able to come even close to buttoning the pants you'd like to wear. Knowing there's no realistic reason I'd suddenly have the time/energy/desire to drop the 30+ pounds required to fit into all those clothes I've been keeping in my closet for "some day", I'd decided that my closet needed a bit of purging. So today I created this pile of extra hangers clearing out what no longer fit...

(The fact that my closet rod suddenly decided to start bowing abnormally low last week, helped to move this little task to the top of the do-to list since I had removed everything to fix the sag.)

I expected this little exercise in purging to feel good. Empowering. Freeing. In reality I sat looking at the pile that I had created and cried. I cried and texted my husband.
 "Fixed the closet rod. Went through my clothes. Sitting here looking through tears at the stack of things I've gotten too fat to wear. I know it's silly, but it still disappoints me that I can't seem to keep this body as healthy and trim as I would like."
My favorite cargo capris. The sexy red strapless dress that I bought for that wedding that I wore with white high heeled wedges. Those cute cropped summer jeans. All headed to someone else's closet. I felt defeated.

I still feel a bit that way here at day's end. I still need to deal with getting the pile out of the house.

Obviously I still have some issues to work through over the contents of my closet...and those numbers that currently show up on the scale. I guess one should not expect one closet cleaning to heal years, and years of negative self talk.

A work in progress I am.



MS said…
I think the key here is in the first big paragraph, and in your next post: You love walking with the dogs. It makes you feel good. Look at the magic you've created in your yard. Then you stepped on a fucking scale and it shifted your whole perspective!! That one little action. Can you tell I'm pissed?? I'm using the eff word!! Believe me, I understand 100% what a struggle this is, so I'm swearing to get us both through it. This requires more conversation than a blog comment. Hugs.

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