How to make yourself feel like crap: Clothing Edition
And to think, I was going to write a post about my awesome mountain bike ride yesterday… One of these days I’ll learn. This is going to be a touchy subject so please, bear with me…
I am very careful about the clothing that I buy and wear nowadays – it wasn’t always like this. I used to shop at Sears or JC Penny’s or Macy’s (then Hudson’s) and thought all clothing was pretty much the same. For the most part, they make clothes for larger people than me, for people whose inseam is smaller than their waste size. When I buy a shirt from one of these places, what I normally end up with is way too much material around the waist – I look like I’m wearing a shirt that is a size or two too big. Enter Express. Their clothes, while more expensive, are made for a thinner crowd. Now, I can do one of two things: I can pony up and feel good in what I’m wearing or I can be cheap and feel ugly in what I’m wearing (or I can find another store that caters to a thinner customer).
I used to choose the cheap route and no matter how hard I tried, I always felt like a skin-flint. I felt ugly and I’m a damn fine-looking guy. What I was doing, specifically, was wearing clothing that highlighted my flaws. When I looked in the mirror, that’s all I saw – my one and only flaw. It was my little sister, fresh out of college with a degree in fashion who finally helped me out of my jam. She was the one who turned me on to Express and the fact that I needed slimmer fitting shirts in the waist.
Folks, there is only one person on this planet that can “make” me feel “less than” and that’s me. Any other person on this rock who would say something off about how I look is simply confirming that which I already believe to be true. The same applied when I was heavier (though I did something about that before it got out of hand). What I was doing was setting myself up for misery.
There’s another aspect of this that can work against us as well. How often do you wear something that otherwise looks gnarly because it “hides” one of the things that you dislike about your figure? “Well, this swimsuit is nasty but it hides my big ass”. This is a double whammy waiting to happen! Not only are you self-conscious about your big ass but you’re self-conscious about your ass and you’re in a piece of clothing that you know is ugly because it hides your big ass. Ladies and gentlemen, in this instance, you’ve so set yourself up for failure you don’t even need any external input.
The point is this: If you already feel bad about yourself, why make it worse with what you wear? Why set the world up to confirm what you hate about yourself?
This is human nature, that’s why. In the case of the swimsuit, the names were left out on purpose, but this is a person I know in the real, non-blogosphere, world – and I didn’t sit idly by… I said something to her and it went like this: “You know, you’re a beautiful woman and that swimsuit is not meant for you, it doesn’t fit, why do you wear it?” She replied, “Well I don’t like my butt and it hides it well.” My response went something like, “You deserve to look as pretty as you are, find something that fits the rest of you and hides your butt at the same time. You’re worth it.” Now, I’d have argued that her heinie wasn’t all that bad to begin with but that never works out because she’s already got it in her head that it is. There’s no way I’d be able to fight that City Hall, so I rolled with it.
Guess who showed up with a new swimsuit that hides her butt and looks like a million bucks on her?
Learning to shop and dress to match one’s body style is, alas, often just a Band-Aid. It’s not always perfect and it certainly isn’t easy. Finding the right places to shop takes time and effort and worst of all, it takes time in front of a mirror, often looking critically at that which we’d rather ignore. The question is, how good are you at actually ignoring it? If you’re anything like me (and honest about it), you probably aren’t. No matter what, it’s always nagging you. However, put the right set of clothes on any body type and it will make all of the difference in the world. The important thing to remember is that we can complain about “society” until we’re blue in the face, it won’t do a bit of good because no matter what society’s slight, the real pain lies in society confirming what we already feel.
Then buy a bike and ride the wheels off it so you don’t ever have to worry about that crap again.