In the past when I went to button my pants under the fluorescent lights of whichever store’s dressing room I was in, my stomach would knot as I would go to pull them up over my knees. I knew as they didn’t button that for some reason my worth was tied up in these damn pair of pants and whatever size the label read. I knew a lot of reasons why and still, I was always left confused as to how something so minute could cause me to feel so horribly. My face would sting and I’d always, always walk out of that dressing room feeling a little bit less than when I walked in. Unless of course the pants just pulled up perfectly and the label had the size that wouldn’t cause a knot in my stomach, then I would walk out feeling okay with my worth being tied up in the size of my pants.
Today, I had an entirely different experience in the dressing room. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to go out into the world and shop, between being unemployed and the current pandemic there wasn’t a lot of room to justify it. I have recently become employed again (very, very exciting) and have a reason to buy some new clothes. My sweats, disguised as “lounge wear” and soft knits, can no longer carry me as they have the past ten months or so. And so I went, on a mission to find some new, respectable, work clothes for my new, adult job. Setting out with an image of the pant I wanted in my head, I began my journey. How hard could it be to find a light weight, cropped, wide leg, possibly wool trouser that looked great and fit into my budget? It’s always a longer journey for a perfect pant than I think it will be.
Anyways, off on my journey, my pants exploration was going nowhere. With jean trends these days doing anything other than flattering my body, and stores carrying all of the latest trends, I was a bit S.O.L. in the shopping department on this fine day. It was hard not to laugh at myself as I pulled up pant after pant, each one after the next either not buttoning or loose in all the wrong places, a total mess.
This was big though, this moment in which I had an urge to chuckle with myself rather than to cry and sit in shame, because why? A pair of pants, yes.
Because, as I explained before, a day like this in the past would have ruined me for a bit. It would have meant weeks of restricting because I was convinced I was the one who was supposed to fit into the pants, not the other way around. It would have meant so many moments of double checking myself whenever I passed a mirror, and looking away again as I quickly as I could. Moments of comparing myself to whomever else, and feeling so uncomfortable in my skin. None of this happened today. In fact, there was a moment in which I caught my reflection in the mirror as I failed to button yet another pair of odd fitting pants. I smiled to myself, a moment of growth reflected so clearly and so simply. There were pants that buttoned today and others that didn’t, none of them were for me and not once today was my worth tied up in a pair of pants.