78. Sizing Up My Life

78. Sizing Up My Life

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Sizing Up My Life

To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections.

~Sandra Bierig

I went into the store with one intention — to upgrade my wardrobe. Not to a more expensive, name-brand label, but to the next size up. It was a big deal.

I was forty-five and had overcome an eating disorder. From age fourteen to my early twenties, I was anorexic and bulimic. It was what defined me. It was who I was.

During those years, being small, thin, and below a certain weight was my defense from rejection. I thought that if I couldn’t be flawless, like my beauty queen friend, I could at least be perfectly thin.

Then I married, became a mom, and realized love wasn’t dependent on how I looked. Though I didn’t fixate as much on losing weight, I still tried to keep things under control by running several miles each week.

By forty-five, my life was too hectic to manage work and parenting and the rest of my life, and I cut down on the running. Gradually, I gained weight.

It was a big deal for me, not because it sent me back to disordered eating, but because I chose to handle it differently. Instead of loathing my body when my clothes were too tight and starving to lose weight, I decided to get clothes which I felt comfortable and confident in for my new phase of life.

So I went to an upscale resale shop and found the “medium” section.

And I tried on lots of clothes.

I spent two hours inside that dressing room, looking in the mirrors. Instead of seeing a woman I didn’t want to be, I saw the reflection of someone who looked good in clothes that complemented her body.

For me, it was a first.

It was the first time I allowed myself to try on a different size.

It was the first time I allowed myself to try on a different size. The first time I didn’t wish to be smaller. The first time I chose to accept myself as I was and didn’t fixate on trying to change my body.

I spent more money than I probably should have that afternoon. When I came home, I laid my purchases on the couch. Before my husband made any comments about money or asked if I really needed what I bought, I looked him in the eye and asked for his attention.

“Honey,” I said, “I need you to listen.” With tears in my eyes, I told him what I bought and simply said, “This is a big deal. I am tired of not liking who I am when my clothes don’t fit. I want to feel good with how I am now. This was really hard for me.”

He looked at me and smiled. He asked me to model the purchases and give him a fashion show. He never asked how much I spent or what I was going to do with the too-small clothes in my closet.

He gave me the gift I had just given myself — acceptance of a body that years ago I would have rejected.

And the gift to be okay with who I am now.

It was a big deal.

~Brenda Lazzaro Yoder

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