I had a pair of pants on yesterday. I bought them in July with high hopes. I mean, really, who believes I can seriously wear dresses for the rest of my life. Although my dresses are super comfy and leggings are as relaxed as clothing gets, I can’t wear a dress forever. Because let’s be real, I’m hiding in my dresses. Yes, they make me feel pretty, they are easy to wear, but ultimately, I’m hiding my changed figure. And I fear a fixed waistband and what it can tell me about fluctuations in weight.
But the clothing style I adopted in the past 10 months has been important. It has allowed me to redefine myself. It has allowed me to figure out how my look fits with my emerging personality. It has given me confidence in myself and has allowed me to focus my mind on more important parts of my recovery than how I look in a pair of jeans. I needed to get okay with who Rhonda is as a person without ED before I could be comfortable in a waistband and belt.
And now I’m there. I’m ready to wear pants. I know I am because yesterday, I just wanted to wear pants like everyone else. At the beginning of this summer, I loved my dresses, couldn’t imagine wearing anything else, now I stand in my closet and find myself wondering what it would feel like to walk out of the house in clothing with two hole openings at the bottom rather than one. I find myself wishing I had more longer shirts that I could wear with my leggings instead of having to don a dress all the time. But honestly, I don’t have many shirts. After my last therapy session in August, I mentioned to my therapist that I kind of missed wearing shorts. She encouraged me to buy some. I was all over that until I went home, stood in front of my closet and realized if I bought shorts I was going to have to buy shirts. I own a ton of cardigans, exercise shirts, and tunic tops, but just simple shirts to wear with shorts or jeans – none. None. I’m not lying either. I truly cleared away my entire wardrobe after Melrose. Even my old shirts fit differently than they had before. Shirts that had flowed around my hips suddenly fit snugly. Let’s face it – I widened out and I am completely okay with that. I’m not okay with wearing clothes that remind me of being sick. Hence, I only have waistless dresses, tunics, leggings, and cardigans to go over top. That is my wardrobe.
Implications of this fact: When our church did silage piles, I had to go to Walmart to find something to wear and then ended up just wearing my running tights instead. I almost wore one of Benj’s tank tops because I didn’t have any t-shirts to wear. I wanted to help my friend paint her house one afternoon, but I never offered my services because I didn’t have any paint clothes to wear. These are small issues, but they remind me that it’s time to evolve. This Rhonda is ready to give herself a waist again.
Yep, I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m not the skinniest anymore. I’ve got curves instead of straight lines. My arms have muscles instead of resembling twigs. I don’t get cold in 80 degree weather because I’ve got some meat on my bones and my heart pumps blood where it’s needed instead of conserving energy by ignoring my extremities. I understand that my happiness is not directly correlated to the number on the scale. I know that when life feels out of control, I go to God, not to the number of calories I’ve burned or the number I’ve eaten. I recognize how much I’ve been given and how close I was to throwing it all away. I know that when I die people will not be talking about how good I look in my coffin in my size 2 pair of jeans, but I pray they do talk about how my life glorified God.
I didn’t wear the pants yesterday. Why? A number of factors. I’ve healed by defining myself in my dresses, and so it’s hard to set them aside. Maybe it’s a nostalgic letting go of what has helped me survive and thrive the last 10 months. Maybe it’s because I truly do like my dresses and leggings because they really are the most comfortable thing to wear, and I want to be comfortable above anything. Maybe it’s because I stared just a second too long in the mirror, standing on my toilet so I could see in the mirror above our sinks. Maybe I am completely overthinking this and I just need to put the darn pair of pants on and walk out the door. It’s time to prove I have a waist. Confident, defined, comfortable in my body because, my friends, let’s face it, I look good.