Today I went to the mall to go clothes shopping for a little bit. This is generally something I’ve tended to avoid lately due to my increased feelings of body consciousness and my hyperawareness of others around me, for better or for worse.
I wandered around the store for a little while, picking up a few items here and there almost absentmindedly. I tried my best not to think about what size I was choosing, since logically I know that has virtually no effect on anything. After dithering around a bit examining some truly hideous items of clothing that were obviously on sale for that reason, attempting to prolong the inevitable, I made myself walk over to the fitting rooms and stand in line. I contemplated running away once again, but then it was my turn to hold out the items I’d selected to be counted and then shown to a dressing room. With a heavy sigh and a racing heart, I stepped into the tiny, closet-like space and shut the door behind me. A feeling of doom settled through my body.
But then something changed.
I put on one of the pieces I had picked out and looked at myself in the mirror. To my astonishment, I thought it looked alright.
So I took a picture. And did the same thing with the next item.
There were a couple things that I didn’t think looked very good, but I knew going into this that there were bound to be some extreme feelings of body consciousness. But here I’m presenting to you two entirely unedited, as-advertised photos from the heinously lit dressing room of the Forever 21 in the Burlington Mall.
True, I did have moments where I judged myself harshly. I tried on everything, but like I said, there were definitely a couple items where body dysmorphia reared its ugly head and reminded me that I was supposed to think of myself as a bloated, disgusting, ugly mess.
Yet I still talked back to that voice. I listened to it, contemplated what it had to say, and then told it to fuck off.
Because I think I look pretty damn good. And I even ended up buying the shirt on the right.
I had a bit of revelation while I was standing there feeling self conscious and so uncomfortable that I wished I could literally jump out of my skin and run far, far away.
Those extra pounds I’ve had to gain are my life. They are the difference between living and dying. They are my laughter, my smiles, my friends, my fears, my frustrations, my family, my writing, my movie watching, my shopping trips, my travels, my art, my anger, my late nights staying up crying, my determination, my courage, and so much more. They are me. And I am beautiful just the way I am.
So there, eating disorder.