Typically I don’t post things I haven’t resolved in some way. Even if I don’t have it figured out I will at least have it processed. But this one is something I’m still sitting in the middle of. It’s an every day battle. Something that I face from the moment I wake up until the moment I close my eyes.
Some days are much worse than others. On these days almost everything in my life points to it. Other days I can get away with minimal damage and sigh as I fall asleep, grateful for another day done.
I’m talking about the battle of my beauty.
This battle isn’t in a self-obsessive, vain, insecure kind of battle. This battle is a result of having my body change every single day. Have you ever had that happen? For about fifteen years I’ve looked about the same, felt the same, dressed the same, picked the same sizes. And now as my hand instinctually reaches for familiar clothes in the stores, I have to grimace as I put those clothes on and see them hang off my body.
Truthfully it freaks me out.
I’ve discussed why this is happening and how I know my beauty never has to be enough but sometimes it feels like each new day presents a different set of experiences. I have no familiar ground. I don’t have anything to look at, no past to draw from, nothing to recall from memory.
I don’t know how to be this new me.
I’m constantly asked if I’m loving this new look. Do I have a blast shopping? How am I doing it? etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to talk about it (obviously), and this has been such a blessing in my life. But I just have to admit how head-spinning it can be. It messes with my mind and my heart.
The other day I put on a swimsuit and made myself stand there for a full ten minutes looking in the mirror. My swimsuit was too big but I made myself just stand there. I’m not going to lie, it was a tiny bit awful. By the end of it I was more than relieved to change back into my normal clothes.
My normal clothes that are too big.
I realized this past weekend that aside from the practicality of not buying new clothes every couple of weeks, it has allowed me to still sort of hide behind a wall of safety. I know who I am in those clothes, I know the way I look in pictures, I know myself. So I did what every slightly-insane person does and tore through my closet to get rid of anything that was too big.
I threw all the clothes on the floor and felt a moment of triumph. I smiled to myself that I could get rid of them. Until the next morning. The next morning I looked at those clothes and thought well, maybe I should keep a few. Just in case. What if I need them? What am I going to wear?
I had a mini panic attack looking at the clothes on my floor. They represented everything I have been and know myself to be and accepted and liked and understood and fought for. Those clothes represent the girl who finally had to accept who she is and what she has to offer the world.
Those clothes helped me transform and settle into myself. And while this isn’t about just clothes and the way I look on the outside, I can’t help but feel like I’m losing my grip on past victories. I look in the mirror and don’t know who is looking back at me. I recognize blue eyes, my dad’s nose, a wide grin with a small dimple, a few freckles on my arm, and surgery scars. I know those things.
I don’t know my collarbones, the narrowness of my cheeks, my shoulder bone poking out, the tapering in at my waist leaving a gap between my arms and my body. The slope around my hips that, while still a curve, is sloping less now. My watch falls down my arm to a point that is almost ridiculous. I keep thinking about getting some links taken out but when push comes to shove I just can’t do it.
These are new things in my life. Things I’m not familiar with. My lack of understanding about them scares me. It scares me even more to know that more hollowness, gaps, and protruding bones are on their way. In a completely healthy way of course. But they are coming.
And while they don’t define who I am or what makes me laugh or what breaks my heart or what I’m passionate about or how I love, they make up parts of me that influence all of those other pieces. So I stand in dressing rooms vacillating between hope and despair as I’ve once again grabbed a size too big and my body is swallowed whole by a t-shirt I would have worn a few months ago.
So you see my friends, this journey is wonderful. But it’s also confusing and terrifying and one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced.
Spend a minute really imaging what it would be like to wake up in a new body that lacks the thing that has plagued you your entire life.
Imagine waking up free when all you can remember is slavery.
Imagine learning how to live as a free person.
so wake me up when it’s all over
when I’m wiser and I’m older
all this time I was finding myself
and I didn’t know I was lost