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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Happiness Project: How Do I Look?

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happiness Project: How Do I Look?

I had an interesting experience this weekend while shopping for clothes.  Actually, it all started last week when Rob asked the innocent question, "If I were to go shorts shopping for you, what size would I look for?". (See, I lost a bunch of shorts during the move - they must have ended up in the "giveaway" bags - and he was already planning on going shopping for himself that day.)

First let's focus on the terror that that innocent question brought upon me.  I actually had to admit my size! Eek! Rather than do so, I tried to sidestep by telling him that I'd like to try them on first.  And as any woman knows, that's a totally reasonable assertion.  No two designers are alike, and sizes can be kinda crazy inaccurate.  Plus women have a lot more curves than men (duh) and you have to take that into account.  In many to most cases, a trip to the fitting room is a must.

Then I told him my size anyway because he wouldn't leave me alone about it.

And the man came through, I'll give him that.  I made him take pictures of everything he purchased and email them to me so I knew what I'd be coming home to.  He did a good job! And everything fit, go figure.

But another issue was raised prior to his shopping expedition: what he likes to see me in and what I like to see me in.  He, being a reasonable person, likes to see me in flattering clothes which may just happen to be colored something other than black, gray or brown.  I, being a self-conscious and oftentimes lazy person, prefer to wear dark colors and shapeless cuts.  Things which conceal rather than accentuate.  Because I'd rather not display my thunder thighs or big booty to the world.  It's bad enough they're there - I don't need an arrow pointing at them.

That's why I was struck by how uncomfortable I was that he purchased - wait for it - two tee shirts which were NOT black, gray or brown.  In fact they were light purple and light aqua.  I almost died.  I mean, hello! Bright colors = people might look at me! What was he thinking???

Rather than lose my marbles over this, I chose to think about just why I was so put off by those colors, and why I didn't want people to notice me.  And I thought about it for a few days.

Then we went shopping on Saturday.  At first I was sorta cranky and not in the mood, but once the ball got rolling my wallet got a bit greased up and it was easier to slide the card in and out of it at the register.  We eventually stopped in a plus-size store because I wanted to pick up a tank top to go under my outfit for the evening.

Instead I wound up buying an entirely new outfit, the one in which I was pictured in my last post.  I did buy a tank, thus fulfilling my original intention, so I felt a little bit better about the whole thing.  I even bought - GULP! - skinny jeans! The kind which are skinny! Actually, I had to go up a size in those because lord almighty, I almost wrecked the dressing room just trying to get my legs into them.  They fit great at the waist but holy moly they were tight.  And then trying to get them off...! I've had an easier time getting out of cowboy boots. 

And I need help to get out of cowboy boots.

When the time came to get dressed and go out, I felt good.  Yes, I was still a fat woman.  That's not gonna magically change.  But at least I felt good about myself.  And judging from the reaction I got when I texted Rob that picture (he was already waiting in a hour-long line for a cheesesteak, like a tourist) - well, let's say he thought I looked pretty good, too.

What did I learn? Well, I think I learned and am still figuring out that it's important to accept who I am, right now at this moment.  And I've read a lot about this in the past and naturally it makes perfect sense.  So why then is it so much easier, even when it's more painful, to try to hide? To tell myself that I'll like me better at this-or-that time, when I'm a lot thinner, and then it'll be time to start living? I mean, who am I trying to kid? Like I said before, I'm a fat woman right now and that's not going to change regardless of what I wear.  I don't need to go over the line and dress completely inappropriately, but there's no need to wear a sackcloth either.  In fact in many cases, wearing baggy or shapeless clothing makes things worse and actually puts on extra perceived weight.

I think this is all a big step in my Happiness Project.  Perhaps I should create a resolution which pertains to this, and to making an effort to dress more flatteringly every day.  Not to mention creating a regular makeup routine which extends past mascara and chapstick, regularly touching up my gray hair (I always say I will keep up with it but I always let it slide until it gets crazy scary), and keeping up with my home mani/pedi's.  You know...just trying to be prettier.

Now I want to go shopping again.  My wallet says "no, no, no" but the sale emails in my inbox say "yes, yes, yes".  We'll see.  I'm sure after a glass of wine or two that wallet will loosen right up and be a lot more fun.

What do you think? Have you ever gone through a time when you just don't want to show yourself off? What little steps do you take to feel pretty?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that is wonderful that he wanted to go shopping for you though :D I am with you on the clothing color choices. It is so much easier to get dressed in the morning when you only have a few colors to choose from, lol. I like your idea of dressing more flattering everyday and just keeping up with stuff. It is easy to fall out of that habit and before you know it your like "what happened to me" lol. Keep up the inspiring attitude! And wine does makes lots of things easier, lol

July 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

You know, you're right about the ease of dressing in the morning. If you have a couple of pair of black/gray/brown pants and several shirts that go with them, you're all set. It's much easier!

July 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Blogger Linda @ A La Carte said...

What a wonderful husband. Yes I have gone through the hiding in my clothes and thinking well no one cares and looks at me anyway, but hey I should care and your husband deserves better! So I start my taking better care of myself, the hair, makeup and the clothes. Its easier to have a "uniform" but branch out to colors and you will be amazed at the compliments. Keep telling yourself you are worth it and a worthwhile person no matter your weight!

July 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Blogger Kelly @ The Startup Wife said...

I think every woman I know struggles with body image, myself included, of course. I almost never wear makeup and I realized a while ago it's because I didn't want to look like I was trying--like, it's one thing to not look awesome when clearly you put no effort into it, but it's another altogether to not look awesome when you clearly wanted to. I've been trying to wear more lately and actually put effort into how I look, but old habits die hard, I guess. (Especially since I work from home and spend most of my days in sweats.) I LOVE your outfit, though--you look really great!!!

July 6, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

When I don't feel like showing myself off I either go to the tanning bed (I know---so unhealthy!) or bring out the fake bake lotion! Brown fat is soooo much better than white fat! It makes me feel better!

July 9, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Anonymous Melissa said...

Jen! he went shopping for you! how cute!

You should read Live, Love, Eat. This post is right up the same alley as that book.

Loved this post. Super insightful.

July 11, 2010 at 5:47 PM


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