Monday, February 14, 2011

Clothing the Body. Part 1

After my shower, which is always quick due to screaming baby, I step out in the bathroom to dry myself. Usually I do not see myself at all in this hectic routine. I am too hurried, rushing through this care of my body to go take care of other little bodies. It is not until I am brushing my teeth that I am confronted with the physical presence of my body, reflected back upon me from the smoky mirror. It appears to me a sad old body. Lumpy and saggy. I do not hate it any more. How could I hate it? It is me. It is the body that bore  forth my lovely children. But I do not love it either. I am conflicted. I sigh about the big belly that still looks pregnant ten months later. The wrinkles that ring my eyes and my mouth. My over grown hair graying at the roots. I look dumpy. I feel dumpy. When I dress this is the gray that hangs over me as I choose my clothes.

For a few years now, I have struggled with this feeling and the way it becomes reflected in what I wear. I no longer deny that clothes are integral part of how we show the world ourselves. Whether we are fashionistas or slobs, most of realize how clothes make a statement. My struggle I think lies in what story I am attempting to tell. Or more that I am not sure what story I want to tell. The problem lies of course in struggling to know who you are in order to even begin the story. Or at least having an inkling of who you wish to be.

A couple of years ago, I was feeling the panic of getting older and my clothes began to slowly reflect this panic. Tight, revealing, trendy, I strutted my weight loss. I craved the attention of anyone who would reassure me that I looked hot and not old. I thought, mistakenly, that this kind of attention would make me feel better about myself. What it did was tell a story of desperation, panic and low self-esteem. It did not honor my body nor did it honor those who really did love my body and me.

Now I am ten months post-partum. I feel dumpy, or rather I feel like I allow myself to look dumpy. I am not honoring my body as much as I was not honoring it before. But how do I dress now? What values am I going to put on my body? What story am I going to tell those who meet me? I am slowly piecing together this story, one shirt at a time.

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