So I had to challenge myself the other day. “But Alicia, WHY would you challenge yourself??” you might be asking? And the answer is, because I like to sew.
How do those two link up? Well, let me give you a fun tidbit of backstory.
I have never ever ever ever been comfortable in my own body. I have never felt pretty, attractive, sexy, or any smattering of those words other people might apply. Honestly, when I look at my body in the mirror, the one word I have consistently used to describe how I feel about how I look has been disgusted.
Disgusted by my weight, disgusted by how I look, just disgusted with myself. And looking into the mirror, feeling that disgust, just sends me on a downward spiral of eating more, binging, or some other harmful habit that just makes the disgust deepen and linger longer. (Which, just a hint NOT HEALTHY!)
I have never been a fan of how clothing fits me, and I have always had a style that is unique to me. Bright loud colors, ugly patterns, you name it. But it is hard to buy clothing, because I have an awkward body shape, and trying on clothing makes me dissolve into fits of tears. Honestly, the last time I tried on pants, I did not buy anything and cried the entire way home.
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was younger, and I kind of hated it in the beginning. But as I aged and wisen-ed, I grew to love it. Making my own accessories, attempting pieces of clothing here and there. After a few years, I actually got kind of good at sewing.
Which brings me back to my challenge. I bought myself a dress form, and some shaping pads for it. When you buy a dress form, you are buying a generic body shape, that somehow has perfect dimensions. It has a flat stomach, perky boobs, and all those other things that I do NOT have! So, making clothing, or designing an outfit for yourself on it, is a bit hard if you do not have that perfect body.
Hence the shaping pads. I get to take these pads and stuff them under a skin tight body hugging stretchy dress thing, to try and make the dress form match my body.
Is anyone else seeing the problem here? I have to take this “perfect” body and change it into the body I am personally disgusted with. And that was so hard.
I would stuff the stomach section, then sit and stare at it, tears burning the backs of my eyes, trying not to feel shame. I would add the love handles, and then poke and prod them trying to make them miraculously flatten, like it would have an impact on my own body.
There was no impact.
By the time I was done stuffing (at least for now), I was nearly in tears. Because I had to use everything the shaping kit came with, and I am going to have to order some more.
Words that I have been called and labeled slithered into my mind, and I had to fight them off. And to be honest, I failed. Miserably.
I tucked the dress form that kind of looks like me away, walked away, and let myself fill with shame.
But this morning, when I took a gander at it again, I realized something. I see bodies that look like this all the time on other women, and yah know what I say when I look at those women? “Man, I wish I looked like that.”
Does it cure my disgust at looking at myself? Not really. Does it make me pause and try to figure out why I spend so much time hating a figure I envy on other people? Kind of.
My stomach is not flat, my right boob is smaller than the left boob, and I have thick thighs. And that is ok. It is hard to accept, and quite sincerely I am still battling to be ok with my shape and size. But I am hoping, in the long run, this challenge will have a positive impact on me.