The Dressing Room Demon
Oh my, how can the weekend be over already? Wasn’t it just Friday?
I had a great weekend (and hope you did too!) because my mom and grandma came to visit! It was really fantastic to have them here. 🙂 I love spending time with them!
(Small tangent! My grandma is 75. Can you believe that? Doesn’t she look great? When I was little (maybe 3?), my grandpa used to try to get me all riled up by by calling her “fat grandma.” (Don’t worry, he doesn’t actually think she is fat. He would never say anything mean about grandma. He was just trying to get a rise out of me.) And I would get mad at him and yell, “No! Pretty grandma!” Fighting fat talk at such a young age! Aren’t you proud? 🙂 Well, from then on grandma was not known just as grandma. She has been and forever will be Pretty Grandma. My family and even my friends call her that!)
On Saturday, we spent the day in Gettysburg. (More on that later!) But yesterday we did something that strikes fear into the hearts of many women. We gathered all of our courage together and we went shopping for jeans! Dun-dun-dun!
Why is finding jeans that fit and flatter such an ordeal? I have never had an easy time shopping for jeans. I seem to have to try on so many to find just one pair that fits well. Mention shopping for jeans to a group or women and you’ll often be greeted with shudders and sighs and angry venting on the subject.
The fact of the matter is that when we’re standing in a dressing room, florescent lights glaring, trying on pair after pair of ill-fitting, unflattering jeans, it’s easy to start getting down on ourselves rather than getting down on the jeans. For me – and for a lot of woman, I think – jeans shopping is a gateway experience that often leads to further negative thinking and fat talk. It’s the dressing room demon.
As we’re pulling on that 4th or 5th pair, we begin to think, “I would be able to find jeans that fit, if only my butt weren’t so big or or my butt were bigger or my thighs were thinner or my waist was more petite or I were taller or my legs were longer or my calves were smaller or I didn’t have love handles or hips weren’t so wide” And It goes down hill from there. Bye-bye, body image. Hello, self-loathing and poor self-esteem. And now we’re trying on that 7th and 8th pair and we’re thinking, “I hate my hips. I hate my stomach. I hate my thighs. I hate my calves. I hate my breasts. I hate everything about how I look.” And we engage in some pretty awful fat talk, thinking things about ourselves that we would never think about other people. Treating ourselves with hate and disdain rather than love and compassion.
Why, when we encounter pants that don’t fit (or other clothing), do we immediately turn on ourselves? Why are our bodies at fault and not the clothing? We tend to think “Why can’t my legs be thinner?” instead of “Why isn’t there an option of a wider leg in these jeans?” We decide that our bodies are at fault rather than simply saying the cut/style of this garment is not right for me. Why shouldn’t our dressing room litany be a series of things we like about ourselves? “My legs are muscular and strong, I wish pants were made to fit an athletic frame well. I love my shoulders, it’s too bad this top doesn’t flatter them.”
It would have been easy for me to slip into my old ways yesterday but I made the conscious decision not to. I could have gotten down on myself, standing in the dressing room trying on so many pairs of jeans. But I didn’t. Every time I tried on a pair that was unflattering, I just let them go. I said to myself, “This pair doesn’t fit well and that’s okay. The cut/style is wrong for me and that’s also okay. There is a pair of jeans out there that will be fabulous and fierce on me. It’s just not this pair. I don’t need to accept clothing that is not up to my standards. They don’t deserve to grace my body.” I also had a good time making fun of the jeans that were way off on the fit. Sometimes a sense of humor can lighten the mood and banish those negative thoughts.
Next time you’re in a dressing room, stop and listen to the kind of talk that is going on. Do you hear woman, and even young girls, running themselves down? Do you really want to contribute to that with your own negative self-talk? Don’t let the dressing room demon get his claws into you. And maybe when you’re on your way out, pay a compliment to another shopper who might be struggling with him.
(P.S. I fought the dressing room demon yesterday and won. I might have had to try on over 30 pair of jeans but I ended up walking away with two that I felt good about. Good riddance to the other 28+, you don’t deserve to come home with me!)
Do you struggle with the dressing room demon?
What is your favorite store or brand of jeans?