I started pulling together summer clothes for our trip that's coming up on Friday. A week long Caribbean cruise with an extra day on each end at my parent's. Packing in advance is new for me—usually it's all about the night before. This night before though is Christmas Eve at my brother's, a long-standing family tradition, and I want to make sure we can hang and have fun without frantic scrambling looming over my head.
But, back to the story at hand. I've got limited time before I need to crash and don't want to blow my blog streak.
So. I pulled out my only pair of shorts, not short shorts, but cute down-to-my-knee shorts. Sadly, (honestly, it was much more than sad) when I tried to pull them up, they didn't quite make it. I pulled and squeezed and got them to where they generally should be, but could barely tug the zipper half way. I've been feeling lately like I've gained weight, but with jeans and t-shirts, one can mask quite a lot. There was no getting around this. Shorts so tight I couldn't bend or sit. I looked in the mirror and almost had to laugh at how awful I looked. Especially five days away from being on the beach in a bikini. Old feelings crept into my head. Honestly, they'd been lurking in corners all day. That I'm fat. That I'm a loser. That nothing will fit me. That I can't control myself. I spent the morning trying on dresses with Iz, pulling vintage out of my closet, waiting to see, or really more expecting to see what I couldn't pull off any more. This was familiar old behavior. Berating myself for clothes not fitting, for loss of control. Usually, at that point, I'd spin out of control, weep for hours, beat myself up and then proceed to wear too tight clothes for days as punishment. Nice, right?
But, I didn't do that today. In fact, I recently went through my drawers and got rid of all the clothes I wear when I'm skinny. I say that as if there's a huge differential, but it's either one size or another. Skinny clothes are size 6. Fat clothes are size 8. Small shirts prove I'm good. Medium? Loser. And to be honest, when I'm wearing size 6 comfortably, I'm not in a good place psychologically. I don't notice I'm doing it, but I stop eating. I'm very good at not being hungry. Years of anorexia trained me to not feel the pangs. And when I'm thinner I'm sick more, tired more, my temper is shorter, I get injured more often.
This time I sat and thought about why I'm gaining weight, instead of freaking out uncontrollably (ok, I did do that for 10 minutes or so) and realized it's because, for the first time in more years than I can remember, I've loosened up about what I eat. I've rediscovered butter. Damn, it's good. I've had chocolate cake and it's amazing. Half and half in iced coffee is sublime. Fresh whipped cream? Sigh of delight. I've been eating real ice cream at night—small cones with chocolate ice cream, with peanuts on top and chocolate inside the cones. Heaven. On. Earth.
And it's ok. This time I can see that I've gone overboard, but I can get it back under control without pain and suffering and endless recriminations. I never thought I'd see this day. How nice it is to be nice to myself.