May 16, 2012

One Thing I'm Afraid to Tell You

The beauty of classic and basic pieces that fit well is not lost on me; however, sometimes (or all the time) I am looking to enhance my outfit with multiple things rather than just letting it be. I forget the beauty and sexiness of a white button down, gray v-neck tee, or the perfect pair of skinnies.

While I didn't plan on this post becoming one of the "one thing I'm afraid to tell you" variety, (which you can view here, here, and here), I wanted to focus on simple outfits, but in thinking about why I wear certain outfits and not others, say a blazer and a blouse instead of a plain white tee, I realized that it maybe has something to do with my issues with self-image - it's easier to hide a few pounds when you have a blazer on!  I have a love-hate relationship with my curves, exercising (mostly hate), and with food and alcohol (always love). In the last three years, I've dealt with a great deal and grown from it all, but not without experiencing anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, helplessness, and hopelessness. Thanks to friends & family (most importantly) but also counseling and medication, I've made it through to be the most emotionally stable I've ever been and more at peace with what I am able to control and cannot change.

I'm still in the process of determining who I am and what I need to do to be me, which includes identifying the role of physical self-care in my daily life. I have been a competitive swimmer since age six, so dieting or taking control of my fitness routine was never an issue since I was swimming 7,500 yards a day with teams. But in college, without swimming and my mom's healthy cooking, I gained weight. It wasn't until after I graduated that I took the issue of losing that weight seriously. I cut out carbs and started running. I maintained this for a while; however, the past few years have seen fluctuations of anywhere from five to ten pounds. At the current moment, I'm 10 (maybe 12) pounds heavier than I was when the emotional roller coaster began three years ago. I've had to buy mostly all new clothes and while the clothes that I consigned or donated were not in line with what I wear now, it was still disheartening to let them go because of fit, rather than style. 

Now, most of you may think that I don't have self-image issues based upon the attention I likely bring to myself from wearing a baseball cap with heels or wearing a fuchsia blazer with red pants. However, much like every good person with an issue, I've created quite a defense mechanism to cover it up. Instead of it being, "I dislike my body, so I'll cover it up," I say, "I dislike my body, so I'll draw attention to the clothes I wear." I am not sitting here saying that I think I'm "fat." In general, I like my hourglass figure and the way I look in clothes. I'm reassured every day by everyone who loves me that I am a beautiful person...and I believe it, sincerely and completely. I have a great deal more confidence about my worth as a person, a partner, a daughter, and a friend than I did 10-12 pounds ago. And I'm thankful for that, regardless of how many meals out, pints of pistachio ice cream, or glasses of wine it took to get here. That being said, I know I can (and want to) gain more of an even keeled lifestyle in regards to my management of my diet, alcohol intake, exercising, social outings, and reflective time alone.

So, my goal is to, with time and commitment, gain more comfort in my body through finding more of the gray in my previous world of black and white. Yes, I can have a glass of red wine and a bite of dark chocolate. No, I do not need extra guacamole in my burrito bowl. Yes, I can say "no" to a dinner with friends if I need to recharge. No, I do not have to say "no" to a concert because of swim practice. Yes, I can wear two button downs (like I am right now) and not be hiding. No, I won't gauge my sense of self-esteem solely on my weight. I want to gain balance. I focused on my body, then my head and heart, and now me. Me, as a whole person.

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