Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Measuring Up

I believe size doesn't matter, but perspective counts for a lot.

I've written about this before, but here I am again. This is how I work through my stuff, and sometimes I'm a slooooow learner.

Today I used my lunch break to walk over to Old N@vy because Peaches outgrew her bathing suit. After I grabbed her one off the super cheap sale rack and another for Rooster, I noticed that the bargains also applied to suits for grownups. I guess because we just joined the Y and I just lost 10 pounds that had been nagging at me, I decided maybe I too should try to look presentable at the Y. (I know, you can feel the horror, right?)

I grabbed a sky blue one piece first and then thought I'd also try the black tankini kind -- you know, bikini bottom, but might as well be a one-piece once you put on the top? Those appeal to me since I'm about six sizes bigger on bottom than on top! (Sorry, this whole post is one of those TMI kinds, but I have no secrets.)

In the dressing room, I tried on the one piece first -- a size large -- bracing myself for the fact that it might be too small for me, not wanting to be too disappointed. When I squeezed into it, though, I couldn't help the wave of shock and self-loathing. It was BEYOND too tight -- it was practically a medical emergency. "Well," I thought, "who was I kidding? Of course! Of course I don't fit these clothes! I thought I needed to lose 10 pounds? Thirty more is more like it! What is wrong with me? Why do I have such a skewed perspective? Obviously I need XL, at the very least. I need a specialty store, or tailor made swim suits. I am going to go running tonight. I am going to get serious. I am going to have to face just how heavy I have gotten. Maybe I should think about trying to do The Biggest Loser." I nearly cried.

So it was time for the tankini. I had grabbed a medium top and an XL bottom, but now even the XL looked minuscule. With a deep sigh and a sense of foreboding, I hesitantly tried the bottoms.

They fell to the floor. They were too big.

Now, of course, you know, this is not a story about bathing suits. And you know I have been down this road before. It's not that I care so deeply about my size or anyone else's -- it's how hard it is for me to see really with perspective. I suck at perspective again and again in all kinds of circumstances, more with the Rooster than with anything else. This dressing room just exemplified my weakness. My first instinct had been that because I'm such an idiot with perspective I didn't realize my weight problem. But then...

I picked up the first suit, the too tight one, from the floor where I'd abandoned it in horror when I thought it represented my failure to grasp my own weight issue. I hadn't yet put it back on the size large hanger. But the tag on the suit didn't say large, of course. It said XS. Extra small.

Yeah, I'd say XS would be too tight for me. Ever since I was about six.

Never once have I been a skinny girl, it's true, but what happened to me when I thought the Large was too small really shows that my "weight issue" is partly a mental problem... my perspective is what is truly the wrong size. My eyes might struggle with estimation, but science tells me this fact: If I do lose another 30 pounds, I'm going to be in a hospital. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to lose 30 pounds. I would argue that there is something substantially wrong with not being able to look at yourself and know what how big or small you are, to make guesses that are wildly off base, to rapidly swing between feelings of accomplishment and feelings of failure.

And, of course, this is how I get with autism, too. And that's what I've been thinking about all the rest of my day.

Yeah, like many women I know, I'd like to be kinder and more accepting of my physical appearance, but that's nothing compared to how deeply I long to gain some autism perspective. I really want, really need, really must find a way to be more at peace with autism's impact on our family no matter what size it is, no matter how it compares with anyone or anything, no matter how anyone else measures our accomplishments.

Because success or failure can be relative. But locking yourself into a small space and looking into a mirror to find anxiety, criticism, and confusion staring back at you and screaming all kinds of fun house distortions really makes you -- I mean ME -- the Biggest Loser.


redheadmomma said...

excellent post. :) I think that you will find a little more peace, but that unfortunately requires time. But you're doing everything RIGHT - you're giving it space, you're blogging about it, and you're thinking about it. That's all you really need to do for now. And maybe that's all you CAN do for now. I think we're all so action-oriented that we want to be able to DO something - but you already SO MUCH! You astound me!

pixiemama said...

Lady, I have seen you and I KNEW the "large" wasn't really large. I hope someday you see yourself in all of your glory.

I have also seen first hand what you do every day, and nothing about it is easy, dear friend. It will get easier, harder, easier again. But you're doing it. And you are EXCEPTIONAL.


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