I have a story to tell you.
I have two friends who love to shop at Clothes Mentor resale shop. Every time I see either one of them, I comment on their gorgeous outfits and it never fails: Clothes Mentor. Three dollars.
Monday night after our Hip Hop class, we sat down in the booth at a restaurant we go to after class and a bright blue gift bag was sitting on the table in front of me. Gifts from the Clothes Mentor! They were thinking of me.
As I took the tops out of the bag and held them up one at a time, I started getting very anxious. These tops were tiny. I am not tiny. "Calm down", I thought. "You never know what is going to fit you." These tops were also super cute. I really wanted them to fit.
I slid out of the booth and took my favorite one, a black Rock & Roll Cowgirl hoodie adorned with silver crosses and other rockin' bling, to the bathroom to try it on. I pulled my sweaty t-shirt off and pulled the hoodie over my head. I tugged at the bottom hem. I fussed with the buttons on the front opening as I glanced up at the mirror. "Oh my God I look awful." I felt stuffed into this shirt like sausage, every bump and roll showing.
Then the Monster woke up.
"You suck! What kind of role model are you? You can't even fit into this shirt. Who are you to talk about fitness? Who are you to talk about anything? You suck, you suck, and oh yeah did I mention you suck! You had better get your act together. Time to get SERIOUS."
I walked out of the bathroom with tears in my eyes. I felt like a failure and a fraud. A little part of me wanted to scream at my friends. "How could you do this to me? Why would you get me clothes that are too small?" But thank God I knew they hadn't done anything to me. This was my Monster to own.
As I sat there in my tight shirt feeling like a phony sausage, I was trying to process what the heck was happening. I rarely had self esteem meltdowns like this anymore, especially about my body. Where had this come from? What was happening?
As I drove home, I kept trying to process what I was experiencing. I could still hear Monster going on and on about how I am too lenient with myself and what I eat, once a fat girl always a fat girl, blah blah blah. When I got home, I tried on the other two shirts. Both too tight.
But as I stood there looking in the mirror, a thought came over me. Tight clothes are a trigger. Tight clothes are a TRIGGER for me. I remembered what it was like to be overweight but want to fit into cute clothes so badly. I remembered dressing room meltdowns. I remembered my sixth grade chubby self. I remembered being made fun of. I remembered trying to cover up and hide. I remembered doing that at age 25, then 30, then 35, then 40.
I looked at the shirts. I looked at myself again in the mirror. Maybe I wasn't too big, maybe the shirts were just too small? Maybe this didn't mean anything about me. Maybe Monster was wrong.
Then I remembered my identity. I am good enough just the way I am. I am a beautiful woman right now, at any size.I do not have to be perfect to be good enough. I do not have to be perfect to be accepted. I am not my body weight. I am not the number on the scale. I am not my clothing size. I am so much more than that.
I am in this process with you. And I want you to know that every woman I know is in this process with you. Don't make the mistake of thinking that when women reach a certain size, they don't know the Monster. They do. Everyone has to be allowed to process their triggers to find deeper healing. I believe the beauty of this process is there is always deeper healing, which means greater freedom. If someone tells you they feel fat and crappy that day, they might actually feel fat and crappy. Even if you don't think they are either of those things.
I found real victory in this experience. First, I didn't blame anyone else for my meltdown. Second, it didn't last very long (maybe an hour!). In the past, I would have used the excuse of Monster yelling insults at me to go on a monster food binge for days, maybe even weeks. But I didn't. I recognized what I was experiencing (a monster trigger) and worked my way through it authentically. And last, I realized that I hardly listen to the Monster at all anymore. It's just a nasty liar.
And about those cute tops. I found the same awesome rock and roll hoodie in my size on the internet. So instead of holding onto a false belief that I have to fix me so I can wear it, I'm just gonna order a size that fits. And look out, 'cause I am going to strut my stuff when I get it!