I’m not a monster

Before I begin this story (rant? maybe) let me again point out that I live in the middle of nowhere. My address puts us in a town (using that word loosely) of about 600 people. I work in the county seat, a town of about 15,000 or so. We have a Wal-mart and two grocery stores and 5 or 6 fast food places. We have no mall to speak of or any where to buy clothes besides the Wal-mart (unless you need Carhartt which you can find at the lumber yard and the Wal-mart).

So, anyways, I’ve been needing some new jeans. I’ve lost some weight as a result of this 12 races in 12 months plan, though not as much as I probably would if I would just walk away from the damn candy basket in my office. But that is the subject for another post. I’ve lost low double digits, just enough to start giving me Hank Hill butt in my jeans, especially if the jeans are anything but fresh from the dryer. Yes, I wear my jeans multiple times between washings. Don’t you judge me. I’m being environmentally friendly.

Mr. Monkey and I went up to the big city this weekend to buy a new computer and while he was buying the shiny new laptop I went next door to a certain store that rhymes with Bold Gravy. This store carries my size and tends to have affordable stuff so I thought I’d look for some jeans and maybe a couple of new work shirts.  They were having a mega clearance sale and so I loaded up with shirts and a couple of pairs of pants and then the baby and I were off to the fitting room.  I was filled with hope and optimism. The baby was filled with Goldfish crackers and a desire to pull things off the racks.

I should have known better.

See, the thing with Bold Gravy is that there shirts almost never fit me. In fact, they don’t fit me in the most aggressively unflattering kinds of ways. I tried on both of the pants and they fit fine, maybe a bit too long (which, sidenote, I am at least 5’8 and these were regular length jeans, what the heck?) but totally workable.

But the shirts. Lord a mercy. It was like they were designed without actual people involved. The ones in my size were huge in the shoulders (and I have broad shoulders) but tight in the belly. Or weirdly puckered with darting designed to make ones breasts look like a 38 long instead of a 38DD. I tried on shirt after shirt and all of them were terrible. At one point I started feeling depressed and embarrassed, like what the hell is wrong with my body that none of these fit (I should note, none of them were too tight, they just didn’t fit). I felt, almost, monstrous. Abnormal. Weirdly shaped.

Standing there in the horrible florescent lights stripping off the last ill-fitting shirt, I could see every flaw. Every slowly fading stretch mark, every bit of dimpled skin, the post-baby belly pouch, all of it. And I hated it.

I folded up the jeans and khaki pants and slipped back into my own clothes, baggy khaki cargo pants and a long-sleeved maternity shirt (If by some miracle Stacy and Clinton are reading this…yes, I know, I need help. One should not be wearing old maternity shirts when their child has a full set of teeth and can walk. I know. Please send the $5000 credit as soon as possible). I sat on the little bench in the fitting room and took a deep breath. I looked up and the baby was smiling at me. Just beaming. He clapped his hands and then turned to the mirror, delighting in his own reflection.

And it brought me back. Back to myself. Back to remembering that this flawed body gave birth to that sweet little person. This flawed body did a triathlon and a 5K and will do 7 miles (somehow) this month. This flawed body is mine and it is good and it deserves to be dressed in clothes that fit and are comfortable and are, dare I dream?, flattering. So, screw you Bold Gravy, and your ill-fitting, not actually designed for actual plus sized people shirts.

I am a work in progress and sometimes I forget that.

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