Clothes shopping is something I’ve always hated. The thought of dressing down in front of a mirror hundreds of people use a day, to see your own reflection staring back at you almost naked is fucking freighting.Especially when you have an issue with your own perception.
I went shopping today for the first time in years on the occasion to look for an outfit which was suitable for a 21st; and it was the most, how do i say this, soulful destroying experience? It reminded me why I never used to like going in the first place. I knew what I was after; something black and midi length or a nice simple style of jumpsuit that could be dolled up or down – after all the predicted weather was going to be 14 degrees!
So I decided to hit the South Wharf DFO because I thought there would be plenty of choices and size range. At this time I was pretty confident I would find something, regardless of my stomach churning. The first place I entered had this really nice black waist-and-butt hugging dress with extra detail on the bottom. I tried on a size, didn’t fit. Tried on the next size that I would usually go for, didn’t fit. Went in for the next size out of curiosity because it is usually way too big, it fit but the design made it slightly too tight around my bum. Automatically I started shaming myself “OMG you have gone up 2 (not one but TWO) dress sizes – what have you done with yourself! You’re fatter than you have ever been! Tomorrow I’m only going to eat breakfast and then drink detox in a last minute effort to loose some water weight” But before I could start crying I quickly, and by quickly I mean as quickly as I could, I put back on the multiple layers I was already wearing and got out of the shop as fast as I could. I was so embarrassed. The same process repeated it self for the next six stores and as each time occurred, I felt more and more sorry with myself. But I chose to keep going and I found two nice dresses, in another store. But, no luck, only more disappointment and another tear. I left South Wharf DFO with nothing in my hands or on my shoulders except a backpack with my uni books, and my own configurations of how I was going to fit into all my clothes again.
As I slowly walked back to the tram with my head down watching my feet touch each plank of wood, I felt a tear run down my face and my own voice aloud, “How did this happen? How could u let myself increase 2 dress sizes?”
Reality was I knew WHY I had jumped those two sizes……. through binge eating. Not a “random” phase because I had cravings. It was an emotional phase from going into “relapse”. 6 weeks of it to be exact. A place where I never predicted I would face because I thought i “had it sorted” three years ago. Looking back everything made sense: obsession with food, obsession with how I looked, excessive exercise, deprivation, diet attitude, negative body image association, withdrawal from social activities.
But how was the sales assistant who was giving me those looks you receive walking into a brand store with no makeup on in your workout gear asking to buy a $5000 purse, going to know. She didn’t. (the “yeah right you can afford it” look by the way).
Saturday is nearly here and I don’t know what I’m going to do. No dress. No jumpsuit. No confidence…..