I should start out by saying it is my truth about becoming body positive. It would be pretty messed up (read: asshole-ish) of me to assume that my journey is the same as anyone else’s.
My problem is the expectation of how this journey would go. (Remember that saying about the root of all heartache?) I figured “becoming body positive” would be a magic wand that I would pick up and *poof* all my body image problems would just disappear.
Becoming body positive was suppose to be an upbeat version of “Blood Mary.” I would look in the mirror and say “I love myself” 3 to 30 times until I vibrant, happy woman appeared.
In reality I am finding the transition to be much slower. Every week there are successes and there are setbacks. One day I am feeling amazing in a dress I haven’t worn in almost a decade, and just a couple days later I’m looking at really shape-hugging sweater dress on my body in a dressing room and cringing. I am just as susceptible as anyone else to having my body positivity derailed by my own reflection, a picture at a bad angle, or even the negative words of others.
When I was staring at the mirror in the Kohl’s dressing room I had a choice to make. It was one of those moments where I had to consciously, and with severe effort, choose to challenge my negative self-talk. That stupid b*^ch in my head was saying some pretty nasty stuff, especially about the outline of my stomach. She said that I would never be able to wear a sweater dress, because sweater dresses are only for skinny, beautiful people. My body was not worthy according to her.
I made a stand. I closed my eyes and reminded myself that the dress is not the right shape for me. The dress is not worthy of me. Not the other way around.
I turned my back to the mirror and tried on another. I may not have felt as confident, and I had to take a deep breath, but I pushed forward. That is the beauty of this transition. I won’t learn how to reorder my thoughts into a more positive mind-frame if I am never challenged. To practice putting my negative voice in it’s place, I have to occasionally be put in a position to hear it.
This may not be a magic wand, but it is a magical time. Learning to see myself in a new light is like learning to see with new eyes. Like a newborn, it takes time to figure out how to focus right. I may go cross-eyed on occasion, but slowly I’ll be able to see the world the way I was meant to.
The next piece I tried on fit amazingly. My new sweater dress feels like it was made specifically for me. It is a dress worthy of my body. And that negative voice? She’s been put back to bed.