There are a series of things I have to talk about to lead you into my point for this post–and I wish I were a smooth enough writer to be able to just take you though it without saying “I have to talk you through some stuff”–but I’m not smooth enough. So there’s that.
I want to start with a spoken word poem I listened to the other day. I adore spoken word poetry. I watched/listened obsessively my junior year of high school, and I still have my favorite performers/writers that I keep up with, but this one I just stumbled upon on Facebook. It’s called “Ode to my Bitch Face” by Olivia Gatwood. And it’s a damn good poem, 10/10 recommend. But I want to point out something she says before she begins the poem:
“I’ve been doing this thing lately where I write Odes to things I think I’m supposed to feel ashamed of, which is largely how shame works. We think we’re supposed to feel it–we’re told we’re supposed to feel it–about the way that we live and act and walk and speak and dress and are and then we feel it because someone else told us to–it’s not an organic feeling, really.”
Before I saw that video, Induction happened.
A new group of Initiates were inducted into the fraternity this semester. I didn’t have a black dress (the required attire for Induction) so I had to go shopping for one.
I thought that I was being a realist when I grabbed a size 16 and went to the dressing room.
I ended up needing a size 18.
Now I’m on Spring Break.
Tomorrow I’m taking a day trip to the beach–my only trip to the beach during this break. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in at least a year, and I know I’ve gained weight (hence the dress debacle) so I decided to go buy a new bathing suit.
I tried on one and immediately quit. I decided on a t-shirt and shorts.
The only tops my size covered my stomach. I was grateful for that. I didn’t want anyone to see the stretchmarks on my tummy. It had a secure chest area and a flowing abdominal area. I tried a bottom in an XL. Refused to get a bikini style, so my only other option was shorts. They got tight in weird places, stretching over my wide hips but billowing over my less thick (though definitely still thick) thighs.
I almost burst into tears in the dressing room. I almost decided not to go to the beach.
So it’s almost 11PM now. There is no way I can find a bathing suit before I leave for the beach tomorrow.
And in a last ditch resort, I Pinterested some outfit ideas: “plus size beach style”
Every single thing I saw was long, and billowy, and covered all my unsightly bits (and, my, are there many).
I started to wonder why I am expected to cover all those bits, or why I want to. I started to wonder why I hate the way I look standing next to my Boyfriend.
I wonder if I’m actually unhappy with how I look or if I’m ashamed because I’m expected to be.
There will be no Odes to my Fat Rolls or Stretch Marks or Cellulite. There is no happy ending to this, because having that thought didn’t change my shame.
My shame doesn’t disappear just because I’m not sure if it comes from me organically. Tomorrow I will still not want to expose my body. I will still not want to see pictures of myself. I will still not want to see videos. I will still suck in when a photo is being taken. I will still wonder if my Boyfriend has just settled when he could find someone so much prettier.
There will no Ode to my Plus Size.