October Dress Project and: MomCon Preparations!

Still wearing “the dress.”  The picture shows the past two days.1375196_10201336866596371_1949795543_nSo far, my biggest realization hasn’t been about excess or consumerism. It’s been about my body hate issues. Which: I hate. Both my body and how much I have issue with it. Here’s the thing: I have a pastoral counseling background. I have designed curriculum and facilitated groups for girls to help them with self worth.

And I can’t stand to see myself in the mirror- or pictures. I spent years making faces at cameras- cause if I’m going to look bad- it better be by choice.

I was always thin as a kid teen and young adult. My weight has fluctuated like most adult women through my childbearing years….. Now, I’m not thin. Not “childbearing.” I’ve talked about these issues before. But- this project (and a certain time of the month.) Is really bringing them into view.

I’ll be honest. In my brain- I say things like: “I look like a cow.” “I can’t wear colors or prints. I’ll look like a muu muu wearing granny, or a circus tent.” “Bright colors make me look giant.”  And worse.

I’ve avoided going places because of how I look. I tend to over-dress to compensate. I try too hard and end up looking like it.

I wear: black. usually with some color by my face or something… but- for the most part: black. Even this month- I chose a black dress. The truth is- I hide behind black. Trying to look “thinner.” Instead, I look like a Goth mom. Which is fine…. if you ARE a goth mom… but, I’m not. (Although classic gothic novels are some of my favorites…but that’s not the same:P)

So this whole- wear a dress for a month and post pics of yourself? It’s not some big “See how cute I am, aren’t I great?” thing for me. It started as a creative exercise. An exercise in minimalism. It’s grown into an exercise in self acceptance as well.

My body has been through a lot. I’ve exercised myself into several over use injuries. (Hello, plate in my tibia from the great running escapade, meniscus issues, tendonitis the list goes on…) I tend towards going a bit too hard after goals… fitness has been one of those.

I have been through a lot in the past few years. Health, emotionally, etc. I should be glad I’m upright, mobile and functional. I should celebrate that.

But- I don’t “feel” it. I “feel” fat. I “feel” ugly.

A few weeks ago- I had the honor of speaking at a MOPS group about the beauty of “sharing our messes.” Our authentic- not covered up or pinterested selves. During the talk- I stripped away my “speaker clothes” (AKA: security blanket) and was wearing my “real mom clothes” underneath. Nasty yoga shorts circa 2007, yoga tank that has never seen a yoga studio and my favorite fluffy scruffy slippers.

My thighs (and more) showed, stretch marks and all.

The moms connected. They got it. I got something too……probably more than they did.

Guess what? They were no less attentive or connected with the talk when I was wearing my mom “gear” than they were when I was wearing my “speaker” gear. It wasn’t about ME. How I look. Etc. It was about the message I was communicating.

Maybe- it always is. Maybe, I’ve made clothes and trying to look thinner too much of a focus. By making the focus  “looking thinner”  I’ve pretty much forgotten that clothes should be an expression of who I am on the inside.  I’ve forgotten that they DO send a message before I open my mouth. but they aren’t THE message. Actually- as my only prerequisite for an outfit is: does it make me look thinner/ fatter? I doubt they’ve been saying much about ME at all.  I don’t think anyone who knows me would say that the color they think of when they think of me is: black. (But leopard print? Maybe.) I’m an extrovert with introvert tendencies. I smile easily and love people. I’m that annoying chick who facilitates or starts conversations in the elevator. And the bathroom. And Target. That doesn’t exactly scream: black.

So as I move through this month- I’m also trying to embrace my body and my own style. Maybe, I’ll  even and appreciate both! By wearing one dress and experimenting.  With colors, patterns, shine, accessories, maybe even some texture. *gasp.*  I’ll be bringing the dress to MomCon- but it’s just not feasible to wear it all week…I will however- be trying to dress a bit more “me like” and without hiding in all the black. (in theory.)

Funny how I start with a plan and God comes along and changes things up!

Dear Lord- Forgive me for the things I’ve been saying about your daughter…. Me. I would never say those things to anyone on earth… because they are hurtful and mean…. I would defend anyone who was being talked to like that- and i need to start treating myself in a way that honors YOU. My creator. Help me lord- as I continue through this month- help me to see myself the way you do- and the way that others do. Help me to think rightly of myself- not too highly nor too critically. I love you lord- and thank you for being upright, mostly mobile and healing. But it would be nice if this weeks breakout would clear up before MomCon….. justayin. amen

Questions for my readers:

How do you choose clothes? By style? By how you look in them? How you feel? By price?

If you had to choose 1 item of clothes to wear for a month- what would it be? (I could easily do a great pair of jeans and a White v neck tshirt….)

How do you feel about seeing yourself in pics? In the mirror?

How do you talk to yourself about your appearance? What kinds of things do you say?

(Or am I the only mean to myself girl- out there?)


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1 thought on “October Dress Project and: MomCon Preparations!

  1. Oh Tracey. How VERY WELL I understand this. This is my BIGGEST BATTLE in my life. From Anorexia when I was 17 because I was already more broad than my cousins, and my parents told me so. (For the record I was 5’7″ and 130lbs when they brought this to my attention.) I graduated weighing less than 100lbs and I was upset that I still photographed “heavy”. I am pale and I have a round face. I always hate my face in pics because it always looks rounder than I see it in the mirror. Fast forward LOTS of years, and I married an awesome man and had 5 kids, two of whom were Twin to Twin Transfused causing me to measure 54 weeks pregnant when I was only 20. Talk about damaging to my body…. Then one of them died. And I found out I was surprisingly (and blessedly) expecting baby #4- and our only girl. I had our fifth less than 2 years later and delivered at a weight I am embarrassed to contemplate. I got my behind in gear, got a Bodybugg arm band and stopped listening to the harmful voices around me (ALL the family. Even the men. There are cray cray women in my extended family. CRAY CRAY.) I listened to my spouse who LOVES me for me and loves that I am NOT a rail, bless him. I lost about 50lbs. I wanted another 30, and then my life changed. My best friend – who was more than 300 lbs – had stomach surgery to help her lose the weight. (I never thought of her as fat. I always just saw her beauty. Speaks volumes to me.) And instead she ended up in ICU for SIX WEEKS. She was the most ill person I have ever seen- and we lived in a NICU for 5 months when our twins were born. I spent that six weeks shuttling my kids around to friends and family and praying every day that I could be the hands and feet of Jesus and help her. Help her husband. Help her kids- my kids’ best friends. And he let me. He let me help her. He had equipped me with the tools to do so and I started to see myself as someone other than the overweight mommy who is exhausted ALL the time. I started to notice that my body worked. It had GROWN FIVE PEOPLE inside of me. Brains, hearts, livers, kidneys, eyeballs… And I gained 20lbs. She came home. She will be coming to MomCon with me. She is AMAZING. And we were losing our weight together. Being healthy about it! And then God blessed us again- with an unforeseen baby- and I am expecting baby #6. And ALL I could think was “Here we go. I am going to get fat and ugly again.” It is a struggle. A journey. I heal. I fall down. I heal. I fall down. Over and over and over. My biggest concern with MOMCon?? The polo makes me just look fat, so I got a cardigan that would make me look more feminine and pregnant vs. fat. Why does it matter?? Most everyone there has been 4 months pregnant at some point- likely more than once!! We’re going to get along just FINE, you and I. (Probably TMI- whatever. You touched a chord. See you Wednesday!)

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