I have wanted to lose eight pounds since this time last year. I have not lost an ounce. I have not gained any weight, either, so there is something to be said for that. Eight pounds is stuck in my head like a vehement preference to Folgers coffee versus Maxwell House; still! My waist and weight have not budged. I can go on Adkins and suddenly there are some slim line abdominals after three days. Never mind I feel like a tumbleweed, as vegetarians famously don’t do well on no carb diets, but with this I can practice yoga in a belly shirt so Dr. Adkins must know something I don’t.
I have not purchased jeans since I decided this time last year I need to lose eight pounds. I have needed jeans. But I dug my heels in. Spitefully, I wear the shrunken Levis and unappealing capris until such a time as the scale moves down eight digits.
I have been trying to figure out what created this particular obsession. My kung fu body was one hundred and twenty-three pounds. I was tiny, boasting plenty of room in a size two. My clavicle cast a shadow across my bony chest like a sundial, but the numbers on the scale were more than acceptable. I was also over-trained with some damage to my hip flexors from weighted kick training. I didn’t have a period for six months. But I looked good.
Come to find out, I did not look so good. Seeing myself in pictures, I look hungry. Starved for self-love, confidence and a nice salad with dressing, that’s how I looked. There was some feeling of worth that came with wearing those size two pants and casting such a lean silhouette. I leveraged the ability to hold my own space against an idealized and warped body image.
For the record, I did not have any better luck with men when I was a size two. I did not have more fun and I was not any wealthier. What I did notice is that my body size, training and what I put into my mouth took up a lot of my time and attention. Ultimately, something had to give, as having a six pack is a full time job. Lately, my perspective is changing. I’ve felt it in the air and I have tentatively started to embrace this reckless self-acceptance.
My yoga friends help – a lot. Yoga hosts some of the most varied figures I have ever seen in one grouping. There is the high and tight little butt I want to have one day. The fifty year old in the group is the one with the high and tight little butt, too, which makes me want to do yoga forever. There is the new mother with the “mommy tummy” who is precious. There are small bodies that reach and strive for poses and there are commanding figures that seem to take up all the space in the room. Chicken legs and thunder thighs, all equally at home in their practice, all equally admirable and beautiful.
My yoga friends seem to have an awe inspiring comfort in their own skin. There is no self-conscious tugging on the too short top when they are folded over their legs. There is no judgment here. Yet I have been the single most difficult judge to please when regarding my own figure. My yoga friends with their super delicious yoga bodies think everyone is perfect however they come. I think everyone but me is perfect how they come.
Tonight I made a big decision. Me and my “extra” eight pounds decided to go to the mall and buy jeans. Yup, I’ve needed jeans for a year and I decide today is the day. I’m willing to suck it up and suck it in and see what size I wear in my state of “big and beautiful”. I don’t even know my size anymore, I’ve been afraid to ask my thighs about those particular digits. So I go into the store blind.
I walk into a jeans store and a smiling dude walks up, “What are we shopping for today?”
I immediately think, Geeze, a dude. What comedy are the fates working on now? I have to get a guy to measure me! Lucky, I’m wearing purple yoga pants and a Halloween shirt my niece gave me, so I’m feeling especially brave; presents from eight year olds are known for bolstering confidence, creativity and general well-being. I am also determined, because I’ve already had a firm talk with myself and I’m not walking out of this store with my tail between my chubby little legs.
I notice there are double digits as sizes, so I think I need to give a certain measurement. “I don’t know what my size translates into, I’m like a thirty-six or so.”
Dude, who was smiling until I tell him my alleged size, cocks his head to the left and looks at me like he has caught a chipmunk trying to make off with his new fall collection. His flamboyant co-worker works a lightening like intervention, “I don’t think so, honey.” He sashays over with a dark wash hipster, “You get started with these and I’ll be in with more.”
The pair he hands me has 28R on the tag and I think he’s trying to be funny. Me and my purple yoga pants slowly walk into the dressing room where I proceed to slide these yummy jeans up my thighs and hips just in time to spin around in front of the mirror. I am cute. And, funny thing, I am not obese.
My sister, Sage, makes it in there just in time to put the smack-down on some god awful skinny jeans and a pair of shoes that would decompose in the bottom of my closet. Let’s just say the sales guy got a little overzealous with my excitement and thought he might make this month’s commission on my newfound body. When he started pulling out Affliction t-shirts I knew it was time to leave.
But I left with a pair of jeans that make me look like I have a scrumptious yoga butt like the ladies I practice with. When I’m leaving the store with the goods, I wonder what got into me that all this time I thought I was too fat for a new pair of jeans. That I’d let myself go shopping if only I would just lose those eight pounds.
Then I decided not to focus on the negative. I’m in process of embracing new things, and this “new” body has actually been with me all along. I looked it up on the internet and it seems that a size 28R runs about a size 6ish. I know, I Googled it. I almost feel sheepish about the whole thing. But really, what I feel is grateful that I didn’t run around for another year needing jeans and unwilling to squeeze into anything less than that ill-fated size 2. That wouldn’t have been very much fun, and really, it seems yoga bodies and yoga hearts and yes, yoga butts, take up a little bit more space.