Last weekend, I bought jeans for my 13-year old son. No big deal, except for this: I remember wearing about the same size jeans. When I was two years younger than my son is now, I was a little shorter, but wore the same size waist.
And I thought I was fat.
I remember my old pair of jeans because of The Ritual of The Stretching. Although those Levis fit me, there was structured choreography to be done after each laundry day. It was like a Russian Cossack dance replete with deep knee bends followed by leaps across the room. The Ritual of The Stretching did not go so far as having to lie on the bed to zip the jeans up, but it did involve leg lifts and a little breath-holding to get the denim to give just a little.
The Ritual had to be done in private, lest my older brothers witness the horror.
The crazy thing about memory is that it is incredibly subjective. When I think back, I know wasn’t actually fat. But somehow I still assume that I must have been – you know – corn-fed or some such phrase that means sturdy and slightly stocky. (I did grow up in Minnesota, after all.)
Because that’s how sixth-grade girls (who think they’re fat) roll. Sadly, that’s most of them.
But then I find evidence that proves that memory wrong. (Enjoy the vintage photo of me dancing around in front of my brother’s banjo. Age 12.)
Can you relate? Maybe it has played out a little bit differently for you – but I suspect it’s not that different. It seems no one is immune from inaccurate body image, even movie stars.
Too out of place. Just too much, period.
But when presented with pictures – some real evidence – you wonder why you were so obsessed. Why on earth would you have felt like you needed to lose weight? And like so many women, you realize that it was there that a lifetime of “when I lose weight, I will ____________” began.
Last weekend, I held up a pair of my son’s new jeans. These new jeans fit my son, who has lately grown taller than I. These new jeans fit my active kid who is naturally in tune with his body in terms of hunger and eating. These new jeans fit this boy, who was born long and lean and has stayed that way. These new jeans fit a young teen who was once diagnosed with Failure to Thrive purely due to his natural body type.
These new jeans were tiny.
And once upon a time, these jeans would have fit me.
When I thought I was fat.