I have a confession.
Since I stopped working in an office, I almost never get dressed.
Starting to go to the gym at least got me out of my pajamas. But now, I only get out of my yoga pants and t-shirt when I have to go somewhere other than the gym. I even sleep in the damn things. When I do get dressed, my kids ask me where I’m going.
I’ve had this post on my mind for a few days, and have really struggled to write it. I think that means that I’ve touched a raw nerve. It’s really difficult to talk about myself in respect to femininity.
I’m not talking about a difficulty with gender identity. I have no problem identifying as a woman. I just have a hard time thinking about it. In fact, a lot of my past self-hatred has come from being incredibly uncomfortable with having large breasts or a rounded belly or full hips–things that announce to anyone looking at me that, yes, I am a girl.
I loved being pregnant. I wasn’t sick. I felt fabulous. But, I got this weird, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever anyone would start to wax all Mother Earth-y on me about the awesomeness of being a woman. I didn’t want anyone I didn’t know to fawn over me or touch me. I didn’t nurse my children for very long, because I couldn’t stand it. I can’t even put into words why. It was too–much. It made me physically miserable almost to the point of being ill.
I’m full of contradictions. I like people to notice me, to read what I write or appreciate my work. I have a competitive nature, although it’s mostly turned inward, and I don’t want to fade into the background in most ways. Except I do want to, physically.
I was happy to be a girl growing up. But, I did not want my body to change. I didn’t dream of having boobs. I most certainly didn’t want my period. I was nearly 15 when it started, and I did not have a single Dear God, It’s Me, Margaret moment. Not a single one.
I love clothes. I have an entire room of gorgeous vintage dresses. But none of them fit me. Most wouldn’t fit on one leg. I buy them knowing that someone else will love them.
I’m uncomfortable wearing clothes that draw attention to my body. I have a hard time knowing, when someone says that I look nice, whether they are being sincere. That leaves me feeling unsettled.
So, while I have a good eye for fashion (I’ve worked as a stylist for a photographer and I own a vintage clothing store), I do not ever apply it to myself. I’m great at putting together outfits for my daughters. For anyone. But, it seems, that dressing myself forces me to spend too much time looking at myself.
I’m realizing that this is one of my mountains. If I’m going to heal from decades of self-hatred, I have to get over my inability to look at myself. I have to stop being afraid to be a girl.
In fact, I just have to stop being afraid to see myself. I have very few pictures of myself. I’m always behind the camera. In the last few weeks, I’ve asked Kevin to take a few pictures of me to post here–roller skating and bowling. But they are difficult for me to look at. I skim past them quickly when I come across them. Not because I hate how fat I am, or I think I’m particularly ugly or find myself grotesque in someway. I’m capable of understanding that when other people see me, they don’t go running the other way. I just really don’t like to see myself. It discomforts me. I’ve developed this huge chasm between my interior self and my exterior self and seeing pictures of myself is too weird.
This is going to sound strange, but the first step to bridging the gap is to get rid of a lot of clothes. My goal this week is to pack up everything I own that doesn’t fit me and give it to someone who can wear it. That isn’t going to leave me with a lot. But it will leave me with an idea of what I have.
I’m easing into this. Next week’s goal will be to get dressed.
I have an idea brewing. Some sort of photographic project. Not an OOTD thing. Something else. I’m not sure. I’ll keep you posted.
I will be incredibly happy if someone posts that they get where I’m coming from. Am I alone in this weird self-disconnect thing?