I wrote this piece many years ago. I bring this to light while many of you are pulling out the summer wardrobe and feeling less than your best as you go through and start wearing it all again. Coming out from underneath the cloak of winter… well, it can be a tough transition. I want you all to know I am here for you and definitely feel your pain …remember, it always feels good to shed a new layer every spring. 🙂
“Give me your honest opinion …” Oh those dreaded words.
One spring day, awhile back, I went shopping for summer clothes with one of my best girl friends. We shop well together. It was a day filled with laughs and serious discussions, planning and world problem-solving, AND trying on clothes.
Just today, as I was looking in my mirror, twisting around to get a rear view of how my shorts looked from behind, I thought of my friend and that day that we shopped together. You see, we were both focused on the same thing that day.
The picture that came to my mind was of her twisting herself inside out to look in the mirror at her butt, as she asked me the age-old question, “Does this make my butt look too big?”
At the time, I didn’t laugh because that was a serious question. Heck, I had just asked her the same thing about my own butt 2 minutes earlier when I tried on a pair of jeans in the same dressing room. Really, it was so funny when I thought about it. The spots we focus on …
We all know this: our butts are key – they are big business when we go shopping for clothing, any article of clothing. It’s how that certain body part looks that is the end-all be-all “bottom line” determiner of the purchase. No pun intended. At least in our minds, on that day.
This is how it goes: We try on clothing, we look in the tiny mirror, and then we hem and haw and deliberate. We ask that most pressing question to ourselves or anyone else around us while we turn and fidget at ourselves in the reflection looking back at us. It’s our own magnifying glass. Will anyone else confirm what I think I know – what I am laser focused on? It’s ridiculous, but I even ask the butt question to myself when I am trying on a shirt. In my mind, the way a shirt sets on my hips also affects the appearance of my derriere. I know, it’s crazy.
(Is it just me who is sensitive to this part of my body? Tell me that I’m not alone!)
The color, the cut, the shirt style, the pocket-size, the belt that I put with it, the list goes on and on – it all plays an important role in determining how I perceive my butt to look, how I feel about myself.
(Is the rest of the world so critical of me — on this point?)
And maybe it is just that, my own perception, my own sticking point. Maybe that is why my friend and I are good shoppers together? We both focus on the same thing — our butts!
I mean, all the two of us did that day was twist from side to side, looking at it this way and that. I got a stiff neck trying to get a good look back there with every article of clothing that I tried.
Usually, in my mind, I play this voice recording over and over that fuels my doubts: if I really knew the truth about how my butt looked, maybe I would never buy another pair of pants or jeans again? I would just cloak myself in loose fabric for the rest of my life?
(Oh voices go away … I am tired. I don’t want to deliberate on this anymore.)
If only I was a man. I would just try on a pair of something, surmise that it fits, decide that it does the job, and buy it…wishful thinking (sigh).
As a result of my momentary butt mania, I bring in the consultants; only my most trusted friends, my sisters, or my mother to weigh in on if the clothing in question really does make my butt look too big. I have to be thoughtful on who I ask — I want truth in the matter. Serious truth.
(Doesn’t this just feed the monster in my head that focuses on my butt?)
Yes Kate! Yes it does!
The problem is, is that we all have in our mind what we are looking for on the outside of ourselves. The right shape, the right weight, the right hair. And then we stay laser focused on that area, especially in times of doubt…like when we haul the totes out with all of our summer clothing.
(Funny, do we ever hit that mark that we set for ourselves?)
For me, at least on that shopping day and many others, it’s my butt that gets the focus. I’m not sure that mine has ever been good enough – the poor thing. How terrible to always be under a microscope. I seem to be very unforgiving. It’s never about my ankles, or my arms, or my ears, or fingers – only the butt. No wonder it’s so big, it has to protect itself from the wrath of me!
I think that it is time to let go of this. Shed the layer of scrutiny that I put on myself.
When we look in the mirror at ourselves, shouldn’t we focus on the positive and praise our gifts? Let’s choose to focus on our smiles, bright eyes, open hearts.
So, I am going to make a pledge to be better to my butt (and the rest of me!) this season as I start going through the summer wardrobe.
The reality is, no matter how many hoops I jump through, handstands I do, or bends and twists I make I am not going to change a thing, butt included. I have been here, with me, for a very long time. And try as I may, to get a good, straight-on look at that one thing that so desperately stares back at me, gnawing at me to do something about it, I just don’t think it’s possible for me to see it clearly if I am constantly analyzing and focusing in on it.
We all have our moments of hypersensitivity to an area of our body. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to filter in what we choose to justify at the moment. I think if we just step away from the mirror and focus on something different, we will appreciate that to which we have been so critical of a lot more.
After all, it’s always going to be there. Simply. As is. In true perfect form, for you, for me.
Cheers to sunshine, fitting rooms, and friends! Now bring on the summer wardrobe!