I'm wondering if I accidentally hit upon a healing exercise today. Time was, a sentence like that would have been far too mawkish for me to type, but feeling a little as if I may have crossed something off my list of 'issues', so thought I'd pin this down before it tries to turn to smoke and mirrors.
Actually, mirrors feature quite heavily. For this afternoon in a fit of tidying, I actually got around to a job that has been on my mind for a few days: sorting my wardrobe.
For me, recovered memories = weight loss.
In part, the anxiety , panic and nausea caused this; however, if I'm honest, as I was with my T last week, I do limit my food and though I really don't remember trying to limit volume, I certainly was very finicky as a kid, plus underweight enough for my gp to have me 'pop on the scales' whenever I went for eczema cream or somesuch. My T's take is that it having no control even into my teens, I controlled what I put in my mouth. Maybe. Not sure I've given him quite enough fodder to draw the first implicit conclusion (if I'm honest, it does make me paranoid that he may have put out feelers or googled my dad, who was a mental health pro. Damn my attachment to my own name!).
Anyway. I haven't been stick-thin since my twenties; being so again has made it so I'm freaked out by what's in the mirror every morning as I get ready for work. Mum's helpful comment: the weight loss makes you look ten years younger. My take: more like 15 years, back to when I was dating my sexually abusive ex. Hence panic at my own reflection.
I still had the odd suit or dress from my 'thin' days; wore one to the opera last night, dissociated slightly all eve to cope, I think. And I have a couple of things I've bought out of desperation for workwear over the last few months. But I'd held on to the thought that this would pass, I would get back to normal and though thin has been nice to briefly visit, I'd probs get back to overweight once I could eat again.
So the mere act of deciding to sort through my wardrobe, see what of my old, thin clothes I could wear and move my ridiculously swamping 'fat' clothes into the spare room is a positive step; it's an admission that this isn't going to vanish overnight, that the memories are real, but also that even as I heal, I needn't necessarily gain a tonne of weight which as I told my T, I needed in order to be invisible. I'm not binning the fat clothes, but then I'd never binned all my thin clothes, either...
Anyway. I tried everything on, fat thin and in between, and this is what I have discovered:
- my 'fat' clothes are foolishly large. Clown-like. How did I do that to myself? I know why, now. And suddenly that makes me sad
- I can do up the waist on my 'thin' clothes, but it's tight on some skirts etc. (used to have a 21 inch waist at the same age). I'm blaming drink. That is a whole different topic, but climbing my agenda now
- ALL my jackets make me look like a little girl raiding her mother's wardrobe. I might wear a much larger cup size (which I've deleted here, as I'm not sure about the rules against numbers, even though admitting those details actually made me feel like I was facing realities about myself), but my back size is smaller than back in my youth
- my bum and thighs are smaller than they were even when the smallest thing on the rack used to swamp me
- stuff I bought two, three, even one month ago is now too large to realistically wear
- I bagged up stuff that fitted but I did not like. 'It fits' is no longer good enough. 'I like' matters
The other thing I noticed, while in between try ons is this:
I can see my transverse obliques and quads as I step in and out of clothes. I have taken up running, yoga and resistance work. I am strong. I have muscle.
AND... I'm not the same as I was when in my teens, when targeted by three rapists in a row. I am a different shape. I am a good shape. I have muscles and I use them and that feels good.
This body that I am feeding not entirely adequately, though very healthily, is not bad. I'm not loving the notice that it gets from others, but I'm getting a bit more used to having the power in some of the rooms I enter. I am loving the way that when the running gets hard all I need is to think about using my power muscles, engaging my abs to stabilise and the flow descends so that keeping going is inevitable.
And I'm loving not feeling disgusted when I do buy clothes, how shop assistants are nice, how now I'm not buying the average dress size, there's always my size on the sales rack and I can choose nice clothes, rather than just camouflage. Which is a good thing, now that my wardrobe has a few lonely items trying to huddle together for warmth. I'm never going to love shopping, but at least it's now easy. Who knows, maybe I can even think about a personal style (at least until I have to rescue my 'fat' clothes back from the spare room!)
So, yes. No longer frightened of my body. Well, I am frightened when I see how some people react to it, but yep, I can look in the mirror now.
And that's a REALLY big deal. Because not even big girl me could face that too easily.
Oooooh, and, just from reading this through, there's another thing. I like the strength. The strength needs adequate food. Therefore, I do need to think about how much/little I am eating. I do not want to hurt the strong. Hey, I want to be doing half marathons soon!