Today I got invited to a networking party for a financial planner friend of mine. Okay, so networking parties are maybe not the most fun parties, but this one sounded pretty good: all women, a little wine and cheese, a little hanging out with this friend, whom I like. The catch is that she is having a boutique owner come in with some "super cute, amazing" clothes for us all to try on! Oh, poop.
Instead of feeling excited about this, I felt pangs of terror. Clothes shopping is finally starting to be fun again for me! I really like shopping for clothes these days- remember the Leopard Print bathing suit? I am owning this bodacious big body, and it is great! I buy things that fit, and that I like! But when my friend said "clothes party," fear struck. I had this old voice pop up saying, "They won't have clothes for you, you fatty! Nothing will fit! You will be shamed and humiliated and left for dead." Okay, maybe the "left for dead" was a bit over the top, but I had this rush of teenage memories of being chewed up and spit out by cruel and rejecting girls at school, marked by horrifying clothes shopping experiences in which I tried so hard to be "normal" and find ways to fit in and be accepted.
For years, I beat myself up because nothing in "normal" stores fit - which made me feel like I wasn't normal. As a teenager, I would buy clothes in the biggest size I could find at the "normal" stores, and then squish myself into them - whatever it took, I was getting into those Banana Republic pants! This was torturous, obviously, because it was completely uncomfortable and hideously unattractive. Breathing and sitting were a problem. I was in constant pain, and constantly reminded that I didn't fit - I didn't fit the clothes, I didn't fit the beauty standard, I didn't fit in the world. I was the fat girl, but I desperately wanted to "pass" for one of them. Part of that was just developmental - I was a teenager, after all . Still, the psychological damage of feeling outcast and less-than took its toll. Shopping sucked for a good long time, even into adulthood. I felt unworthy as a human being because I was fat (aka, bad) and needed a larger size.
Wow, glad to be done with that.
And truly I am, most of the time now, "done" with self-hating attitudes like that. But, sometimes the old shit sneaks up on me when I least expect it. Like when I get invited to flippin' networking parties! Ugh!
I want to handle this party with a "Fat Acceptance" attitude. I want to go and have fun at the party, and feel confident. Who knows, they might even have plus sizes! And, if they don't? That makes the store the problem - not me. I am a perfectly fine human being, with a perfectly fine human body. Too bad for them - they aren't getting my money, or my "networking" recommendation! Maybe I can suggest they find ways to include more women in their business plan. It might feel good to speak up for myself, and for my fat sisters and brothers! It might be empowering to "represent" for us fat folk - we deserve "super cute and amazing" clothes, just like everybody else!