Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moody Clothes

Recently, I went through my closet in search of items that would fit. I suppose the biggest reason for my big serach is that Colorado has decided to act as though it's summer. After a weeks of days in the 60s, it's now in the 90s. The long sleeved shirts I've been clinging to during the last few months are not doing me any favors these days.

As I was gaining weight during the last SEVERAL years, I've had to buy new clothes as different occasions came up. An ex's fancy Christmas Dinner? Why, yes, I'll buy an outfit just for that. Need new pants for work? Yup...I'll buy a couple of those. And somewhere in the mix, I became that woman who wears elastic-waisted pants and skirts and never NEVER tucks in her shirt.

Alright, I still don't usually tuck in my shirt.

BUT I recently realized that I don't have a lot of items that fit me very well. My jeans (other than one pair) have gotten dumpy looking on me again. And skirts that I used to love are...well...too big to even pin.

What I found was two huge stacks of clothes that I had tucked away in a Rubbermaid container and a vacuum sealed bag. When I moved into my new place a year and a half ago, I remembered the determination that I had to fit in these clothes again.

My first thought was: I am so glad that I hung onto them.

See, although I don't have a whole new wardrobe, I do have MANY shirts that I haven't been able to wear in about 5 years. As I tried on each shirt or pants, I found myself getting so excited...twirling around in front of the mirror - surprised that I am actually that small again.

I followed a typical thinking pattern where I tried to remember when the last time I wore that particular piece of clothing. For some things, I remembered when I bought them...but there were a few pieces that I remembered who I was with when I wore them.

Five years ago, when all of these items fit, I had moved to Colorado, started dating this guy that I thought was the man I was going to marry, and entered into a new job that came with a company car and an important sounding title. I had made it.

Only I hadn't.

My new boss was a sexist pig who at one time told me I had to take notes because I was the person without a penis. My new boss was the jerk who told me that I needed to buy men's clothing for our conferences because our group needed to match and since I was the only female in the nation in that position, I should have to conform. Because I had SO many father-figure issues, I silently did what he told me to do. He told me that I was incompetant. He told me I didn't belong. He outwardly shunned me at meetings, encouraging participants of conferences to mock me. And still I took it.

The wonderful guy that I was dating? He morphed into a man who was much more concerned about his own happiness than mine. Here was a guy who lived 15 minutes away from me, but couldn't keep plans that we had made even when I hadn't seen him in a couple of weeks. This guy told me, after being hospitalized for signifcant swelling in my brain following a car accident, that I was just too fat for him. I had not changed my size at all since we had started dating...and I was CRUSHED that my worst fears were true - that my dad was right, that fat people are disgusting, and that I was just too big to be loved.

The way that I felt when I last donned these clothes? Crushed, depressed, worthless, and disgusting. I remembered thinking that I was clearly a failure at everything. I didn't have any new friends in Colorado either. So I failed at making friends, I failed in relationships, I failed at work, and I failed at being a decent human being. I hated myself and began the deep spiral downward of depression and struggled. I created a physical and mental buffers that eliminated the chance that people could hurt me as badly again.

And when I remembered all of that, I stopped my swirling in front of the mirror. The smile faded from my face, and I found that I was so sad for the woman I was.

Through positive reviews from the bosses that I've had since then, the listening ears of my friends, family, and therapist, and a LOT of hard work, I've overcome a lot of those feelings. But they still creep back.

I know that my boss was a jerk - not some all-knowing man. I know that the ex had issues of his own and that it was easier to blame our failing relationship on me rather than look inward to himself.

I know those things. I do.

But it's weird. It's weird wearing these clothes and being in a different place, mentally. It's weird having a mindset other than shame while wearing them.

And I don't know how to deal with that yet.

I've hung on to this post for a few days in a hope to process these feelings...and what has surfaced is that when I was in this size before, I didn't actually deal with the feelings. I ate through them and I buried them because I just needed to get through it. I had to keep working until I found another job. I had to keep functioning. Now? Now I have time. I have time to be mad, sad, to grieve and to be frustrated.

I think that's what it's going to take...going through the real emotions to get past them. Not because I want to fit in smaller clothes. But because I want to BE healthier - mentally, physically, and spiritually.

And honestly, I can't be considered healthy if clothes are dictating my feelings...I'm mean, that's just nuts.


POD said...

Such a great post...compelling writing. I felt as if I was starting a book that I was not going to be able to put down. Then you stopped writing.
But I'm okay. I'm glad you held onto the post for a few days. (I have so many of those posts I'm holding on to.)
Thank goodness we have the power to change how we feel.
Have a great weekend.
Thanks for the writing.

Bonnie said...

It sounds like you have come a long way since the horrible time of 5 years ago. You're doing great. As hard as it may seem, you need to let go of the past and look towards the future by taking it one day at a time. You have helped me so much during my own adventure with your wonderful posts and encouraging comments on my blog. Keep up the great work.

Slackey said...

Thanks for sharing what you've been through. I'm sorry to hear you were treated that way, and that you just took it. Also, way to go on working on your thoughts and feelings about it all. Keep moving forward- you can do it, and yay for smaller clothes!! :)