Monday, March 1, 2010

jeans hell

I'm a creature of habit. I wear just about the same thing every day, with slight variations. My winter uniform consists of jeans, t-shirts and turtlenecks. With coat/scarf/hat change ups (trust me, I have countless of each), no one realizes the basics stay relatively the same.

This winter I finally accepted that I'm never going to be crazy thin again, that holding on to my skinny pants was nothing but old-school anorexic behavior. I'd pull on pants that wouldn't make it past my thighs, berating myself for having lost so much control. Truth is, I never should have been that thin. Yes, my pants were loose and comfortable, my ribs stuck out more, I easily wore small shirts but that's not everything. I wasn't healthy. In fact, I was sick far more often than I am now. This is the first winter I've gone through in good shape, able to fight things off or recover well when a cold knocked me flat. So, I packed up 2 drawers of pants, donated them so a thinner person could be better dressed and have spent the past couple of months in the same 2 pairs of jeans and one pair of corduroys (washing them regularly of course).

This can't last forever. Eventually my pants will fall apart and I'll be left with nothing. Of course, it'll be spring, when my uniform switches to 1960s mod dresses and the jeans conundrum could wait for fall, but I decided to suck it up, not to mention in, and buy new pants.


Shopping for pants is a loaded minefield for me. Just confronting the size on the label is toxic. I used to bring in 2 sizes, so I could revel in my greatness when the smaller slipped on easily, or beat myself up when the larger size was better. This time I just opted for larger, praying they'd be ok. It was literally nerve-wracking, walking to the fitting room, terrified my go-to larger size wouldn't work for me anymore. I was at Old Navy, willing to fork over $19 for a pair of jeans—in retrospect I'm thinking spending more money would have confirmed my failure with my weight battle. Somehow not spending as much lessened the defeat.

They now name their jeans: diva, flirt, and sweetheart. Those names are code for skinny girl, barely holding on, and fat slob. I tried each, not sure where I'd fit in anymore. Just to date myself, last time I was in this situation, ultra low rise were all fashion. They don't have those anymore.

So. Diva first. It was almost like reliving the smaller size nightmare. Apparently, low rise doesn't work for me anymore. Flirts were ok. Sweethearts most comfortable.

Fuck (and I don't say that often here).


When did I graduate to old lady pants? Was polyester in my near future? Was I becoming an embarrassment to myself, trying to hold onto a look that didn't work anymore. What could I possibly wear instead? OH MY GOD! It was a total jean meltdown. I pulled the old "concentrate on your breathing" trick out of my bag and bought 3 pairs.

Yesterday I wore the sweathearts and even though they were fine, totally fine, perfectly fine, a pair of plain jeans for god's sake, I felt awful all day. Self-conscious. Uncomfortable. Middle-aged. I ended the day super cranky, wrapped up in anger, sniping at people in real life and in my head, who didn't deserve it.

Today I tried the flirts. The're better, intellectually. But physically? Tight-ish. Not lounge on the floor comfortable. Then again, not constricting blood flow.

I'm hoping, with multiple washings and some holes torn in the knees, these new pants will become comfortable old friends.

And that it'll be years before I have to go through my jeans drama again.


Christopher said...

I hate shopping for clothes and have been struggling all my life weight. I have found a size I think I can live with, now I just need to stay in it.

Charlotte Rains Dixon said...

Is it a weird female thing to be so conscious of how clothes make us feel? Even if I'm at home working I have to wear something that feels right, or I feel cloddish and dull and that affects my writing. By the way, I circumvent the whole jeans thing by wearing skirts all the time.

kathy said...

OK, You have made me quickly access my current uniform. I feel the need to sprint to my closet right now and grab hold of the skinny jeans residing way too long in my closet and burn them just for the sheer pleasure!!!

My uniform is due for a season change also!! :)

so happy to know there are others... Like me

Kathy D

Amy Oscar said...

Ugh. I wont even TRY ON a pair of jeans. Hated them in high school, hate them even more now that they dont fit. Im not fat. Im a comfortable size 10-12 - and after two pregnancies, that's fine with me.

I don't hate my body. I just hate jeans. I hate the way they feel on my body - stiff and unforgiving. I hate the way they look on my pear shape (and always have): Too tight or too loose.

Recently, my friend's husband started a tradition. He calls it "celebrate the belly." He pulls his beautiful 57 year old wife to his hip and hugs her close. Places his hands on her round belly and recites it over and over.

I love him. I love how he loves her "as is" - I love my husband for this, too. My husband says, "What stretch marks? You have stretch marks?" My husband says, "But I love the way you feel in my arms." My husband says, "I love how your body has changed through the years."

I love my body too. But I really hate jeans.

LPC said...

Jeans are like an emotional barometer for many of us. I have had people write me emails, talking only about jeans and their emotional response to denim. One thing that I find works well is buying Levis 501s. The old button front style. They are so determinedly man-shaped that many of my denim buttons aren't triggered.

Anonymous said...

I have battled with my weight my whole life. I have found all of my diaries dating back to when I was 10- almost every page is about my ups and downs- struggles and triumphs with my weight.

So in 2007- I took a journey for about two years and lost a little over 90 pounds. Now, March , 2010- I have gained some back. I can't wear the jeans from last winter- don't want to but new ones. I want to do better, be better, look like all the pretty thin women in my town.

I recently told a friend at my lowest weight- I was still heavier than most!!!! I was a size 12. I felt good at that- I am now straddling between a 14 and 16. Jeans are my truth so most of the time I avoid them just like my scale.

This winter has made me weary. I am eating like a bear in hibernation, exercisng less and using my boss as the excuse for it all. But Dammit I know I can do it...and choose not to each time I make a wrong food choice.

One thing I do know Elissa is that your "fat" jean wouldn't come over my calf even at my ideal weight. So cherish yourself, be happy and keep communicating! I will let you know if I go into Old Navy someday to get a pair of jeans- I always feel like a "fat imposter" in there. WOw- I guess you hit a chord with me...yet again! Soon we will meet and chat live! Janie

Jennifer said...

Oh God! I have Old Navy sweethearts. But was unaware of the coding till just now. FUUUUUUCK! ;-)