Body perception is a funny thing.
I distinctly remember being pregnant and often getting stuck in small places, because I couldn’t squeeze through. It’s like my mind had caught up with the increased girth of my body, and thought narrow doorways were still an option.
It also accounts for the burns on my stomach whilst ironing. No matter how often I did it, I never could seem to get used to the fact that my stomach was so far in front, I needed to be stand back. And also that my shirts were now to small to fully cover the bump.
Similarly, after having babies, I was always stumped for clothes. Not only did I naively believe (every time) that I could just fit into my clothes again, but I also thought I should still be the same size and shape as I was pre-up the duffing. The first shopping day after babes were born was always a rude shock, when I realised that I actually couldn’t pull of the outfit I had been itching to try for the last three months. And can I just say, baby blues combined with ‘I’m so fat and will never wear anything pretty again’ blues, is pretty much the worst combination ever.
It was particularly bad with Ava. Because I had been on bed rest for so long, and had put on a lot more weight than in the past, it took longer to lose. A fact that in itself was not to frustrating, except that I had no idea what suited me any more. You get used to dressing for a size and shape, and suddenly it changes, and how do you cope?
It’s very unsettling.
Well I realised today, that even though I’ve been pretty much the same size for a while now, I’m in the same predicament.
You see, I’ve lost a few kilos this month, doing Feb Fast. Not heaps, and not so that anyone has commented or been shocked by my appearance, but enough that I can feel it. My clothes are a little bit looser, and my belly a little bit tighter, (which is a very affirming feeling BTW :))
However the amount of my loss has been somewhat exaggerated in my mind, because of TV. Specifically, How I Met Your Mother.
In the absence of any decent shows to watch, and with Boatman being home a lot more, we have taken to watching reruns of the comedy on DVD. One thing that always ticked the boxes with me regarding this show, was that in the first season both Allison Hannigan, and Cobie Smulders (Lily and Robyn), were a healthy weight. Still thin, by all means, and able to wear all the fashionable clothes, but healthy.
Then season two hit, and they had both lost kilos. Allison looked really thin, and Cobie was healthier, but still a lot smaller than she had been.
As the seasons progressed, their weight and appearances both changed. They both became mothers, and after that Allison never got dangerously thin again. She has the beautiful curves of a woman, yet still has the right figure for Hollywood.
Cobie, on the other hand, just got smaller and smaller until there wasn’t too much of her.
It’s been painful to watch.
Especially to someone like me, who is overly sensitive to that kind of things.
I didn’t realise how much it was effecting me, until today. I was perusing the shops with Rhianna, both of us wishing we had boat load of cash to buy new clothes for the Digital Parents Conference next month. Taking window shopping to the limit, we tried on shoes, picked over handbags, and held clothes up against ourselves, wishing for some kind of fairy godmother to bestow her fortune.
She didn’t show.
As I drove home, dreaming of all the outfits I could buy, I realised that I was actually not shopping for my body shape at all. I was shoping for Robin’s. Evertyhing I liked, could be found on an episode of HIMYM, and she would have made it look so much better than me.
In my mind, that tiny amount of weight loss (that is not even equivalent to a size), had translated so that I could pull off anything that Cobie can.
Which in reality, is not going to happen.
Which is a pity, cause that is a hot dress.
Now I know that I’m possibly more sensitive than the average woman, but I can guarantee, that had I shopped today, and tried on the outfits I loved, when they didn’t look like I thought they should, it would have sent me into a pit of despair, and made me consider skipping lunch.
Me, a nearly 30 year old mother of four, lamenting cause I have hips and can’t wear skinny jeans.
So how do these images effect our kids? Impressionable teens who think that you need to be tiny enough to wear little shorts than show half your bum cheeks? What do these pictures do to them?
And how on earth do we combat that message?
Asking the big question today with Grace