Society likes for us to fit into little boxes.
I don’t know anyone who would necessarily disagree with that.
The issue, though, is that for the most part we don’t actually fit into those little boxes, at least not all the time.
I’ve been thinking about boxes a lot the past few weeks, for various and sundry reasons, mainly because I don’t really fit into any box. I guess literally and figuratively. This past week, though, has just not been a good place for me mentally or emotionally, and part of that goes back to this whole fitting (or not) into a box thing, and it kind of came to a head yesterday.
On Wednesday I was doing Bird Dogs in Crossfit. My coach took pictures of me with both my right and left leg extended to show me what I was doing–basically, my left leg was extending perfectly (like in the picture) but I was bending my right leg even though I felt like I was holding it out straight. The pictures were a great reference so that I could SEE what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately, that ugly negative self talk bitch reared her ugly head and whispered, “Oh, God, Aubrey, look at your stomach.”
I pushed her back. I mean, that position probably isn’t very flattering for anyone (well, except for the chick in the picture…but it’s hard to find images of fat people doing yoga), but especially someone who has boobs and a stomach. For that day, I was proud of myself–I thought I’d managed to bitch slap that voice and put it out of my head.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way. The negative self talk and self esteem hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as it usually would have been, but it was worse than I wanted it to be. I mean, I would love it if that voice would just shut up permanently, y’know. But it wasn’t helped when, a little later during my workout, I was doing overhead presses and had the bar try to go backwards on me while it was overhead. I thought I was too close to the rack to drop it in front of me, and I wasn’t sure where my coach was behind me, so I tried to correct it rather than dumping it like I should have. At the time, I felt a very, very slight twinge on the right side of my lower back, but didn’t think too much about it at the time. I dumped the weights and then we took some of the weight off and had me try again with slightly less weight. I went through the rest of my workout (and hey, I’ve increased the amount I can overhead press, so there’s that at least), stretched, cooled down, all that good stuff and felt fine. Later that day my lower back started hurting, though, and I knew that it shouldn’t have been–the only thing I’d really done that had felt lower back intensive had been goblet squats, and I hadn’t done enough of those to really get my back hurting DURING the workout. So I just drank water, stretched, rolled it out and went on with my day. Woke up Thursday morning and it hurt like a mother, was tight and having occasional spasms.
I got up Friday morning and got dressed for Crossfit, fully intending to go despite the fact that at that point I was pretty sure I’d strained something (I say strain because it wasn’t typical muscle soreness, but it didn’t feel like a pull, either), mostly because I just felt like I NEEDED a workout. Like, mentally and emotionally needed one, because I could tell as soon as I woke up that I was teetering. Phillip asked how my back was. I tried to play it off. He knows me better than I know myself, though, and asked from very pointed questions and made some very valid points about how I needed to listen to my body and my gut.
Even though he was right, I was still pissed.
I know injuries are going to happen. I’ve been injured cycling. I’ve been injured lifting weights at home. Hell, I ruptured two ligaments in my ankle walking down the fucking stairs. Injuries happen. But that doesn’t mean I have to like them, especially when they happen when I NEED and WANT a really good, hard workout. So I didn’t work out on Friday, and instead took Phillip to work, came back home so I could work and promptly started crying.
And the overwhelming feeling in all of this was that my body hates me.
Because, y’know, bodies are totally capable of that. *rolls eyes*
So on Saturday my back was feeling slightly better. I had errands I needed to run, not to mention a $50 gift card to Kohl’s that I got for my birthday back in November that I’ve been holding on to. It’s gotten much warmer the past couple of weeks, which has just reminded me that I have no shorts that fit. Or any cute, knee length, casual dresses. Both are things I adore (along with maxi skirts, maxi dresses and denim skirts). So I decided to go by Kohl’s and see if I could find any shorts that weren’t of the workout or “lounge” variety, and ended up laughing both out of humor and frustration because, seriously, just because I’m technically “plus size” does not mean I want to wear frumpy Bermuda shorts.
I’m 5’2″ with hips and an ass. Bermuda shorts are not my friend, and have never been my friend–no matter WHAT size I’ve been. Because, y’know, I’m short. And my hips are always wide. And I’ve always had an ass–it’s just gotten bigger thanks to Crossfit (and firmer, FWIW, which Phillip is not complaining about…and, uh, neither am I *g*). I tried on this one pair of shorts and I’m pretty sure the people in other dressing rooms probably thought I was crazy for laughing out loud to myself, but they were awful. They fit fine from the front (other than making me look like a frumpy lion tamer), but when I turned to the side there was so much fabric in the waistband in the back I could literally pull it out like six inches away from my body. I’ve always had issues with gapping, but it seems as though the gapping has gotten a whole lot worse.
I tried on some other stuff–some jeans (*snort*), a top and some dresses from the “regular” sizes since I’m hovering in between “regular” and “plus” these days. I at least found a couple of maxi skirts that fit really well and were super cute, but I still haven’t solved my shorts problem.
This whole thing got me to thinking really hard about those boxes, though.
Four years ago when I was 245 and a size 22/24, I contented myself with shopping at Lane Bryant and making their stuff work for me as best I could. None of it ever fit quite right, because plus size clothes generally aren’t made with short women in mind. Again–the “box” is that plus size women are also tall. I’m not sure where that idea comes from, but it’s there.
Even at my smallest, I still had trouble finding stuff that “fit” right, but it was certainly easier simply because I had so many more choices and could shuffle between Misses’ and Petites. But again, short woman with hips and a butt and fairly muscular thighs. Even though I was a “normal” size, I still didn’t fit into that damned box.
Now, I’m back in the 200’s, still 5’2″, and anywhere from a size 16 to 22. Because, y’know, I still don’t fit into the damned box. I’m 33, which most days still feels fairly young to me. I have no desire to dress like I’m 23, but I sure as hell don’t want to dress like I’m 63, either. And the fact of the matter is that even in the short time I’ve been doing Crossfit, there have been obvious changes in my body, like the ever-increasing (and firmer) ass, bigger (and more toned) thighs and calves, and slightly bigger (and more toned) arms. My midsection is still, well, flabby to be quite honest, but I’m starting to notice small changes even there. Basically, I don’t have the “typical” plus size body apparently, therefore I don’t fit into the fucking “box” that clothing makers and retailers seem to think I should fit into.
And I am so fucking sick of it.
Yeah, I know I could go to Lane Bryant and grab some shorts, but quite frankly I have no desire to spend $50+ on ONE pair of shorts. I mean, seriously. That’s absolutely ridiculous.
And while I’m at it, what the hell is up with skorts for grown ass women? I don’t need a pair of shorts inside my skirt, thankyouverymuch. I learned how to not flash my panties somewhere around age 4. It’s just so demeaning.
As much as I love clothes (and I actually do love clothes), there are times when I truly believe that the clothing industry certainly isn’t helping matters at all for thousands of women out there. When you’re expected to fit into a certain box in order to wear the clothes that are available, and when those clothes don’t fit, it’s really easy to get the message: There’s something wrong with your body.
The thing is, though, that there really isn’t anything wrong with your body, or my body, or anyone’s body. Does it bother me that I can’t even find one pair of freaking shorts? Yes. Did I have moments of frustration with myself while trying them on yesterday? Absolutely. I haven’t exactly been in the best mental head space here lately. But then I tried on that one pair and saw all of that excess fabric and realized–it’s not me, it’s them.
I don’t fit into a box. None of us really do. I just have no idea what to do about it. I mean, is there a store or a clothing maker out there that makes clothes for short women with big hips, big butts, smallish waist and big thighs? If there is, I haven’t found it yet. And God knows I don’t have time to learn how to sew and make my own clothes.
I guess while I’m looking, though, I’ll just let Phillip enjoy the fruits of my labor, knowing that at least someone appreciates this ass and these thighs that I’ve been working so hard on increasing. 😉