In my post, ‘What Does That Make Me?’, I outlined the embracing of my femininity over the years. A friend of mine said something yesterday which had me thinking and re-reading my post. I mentioned that allowing myself to be or feel feminine seemed like a weakness for a very long time. Maintaining control seemed so important for so long and I equated femininity with vulnerability, which didn’t feel safe, it felt less controlled. The process of growing into my femininity was a slow one, which began with a focus on getting healthy and transformed into much more.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend about how it felt to be heavy, especially out in public. She used the term ‘invisible’. It’s true, I felt invisible. It felt as if I could cruise through any place, in any environment, completely unnoticed. To an extent, I welcomed that. I didn’t want the judging looks or disapproval, especially since those feelings already existed inside me. Their looks were like a mirror, one I didn’t want to look into. At the same time, there were so many times I wanted to scream, “I’m right here, please don’t dismiss me!” I didn’t want to be noticed as much as I wanted to be seen and heard – I rarely felt seen or heard and it hurt, a lot. Yet, I kept my vulnerability and insecurity hidden.
Feeling insecure affected the way I felt about how I dressed and looked. I always felt like no matter how hard I tried, I’d never look good. No clothing, or make-up or pretty nail polish could fix my insides, it was just a shroud. Not that I still didn’t try, but the options for heavy women were slim. Nothing quite fit right or it looked like either a 20 year old should wear it or an 80 year old would love it. Nothing ever felt like me, ever. So, I did my best, and tried to find things that were ‘good enough’. I did what I knew how to do with the make-up and things, which was very little. No matter what I tried, I was never comfortable or confident.
For me, getting back into shape was essential to feeling better about myself. It was about physical and mental health, not about pleasing others. I needed to do it for me. As I lost weight, I felt more confident, felt better physically, and the clothes I bought were less foreign feeling. I gravitated toward things that were more feminine and cared a lot more about what my husband liked or disliked. I visited the make-up counter, had someone show me how to do the basics and invested in things appropriate for me (still very basic/simple and hassle-free). I took care of my nails, groomed myself in ways my husband preferred and I liked to smell pretty. It felt good, it felt like me. In doing all this, what I realized was that it wasn’t always others that made me feel invisible. I had presented myself to others as if I mattered less. Now, as I was feeling more confident, regardless of what I looked like on the outside, I presented myself to the world as if I mattered just as much.
This was pivotal for me, feeling and accepting that I was an equal, not a lesser-than. The confidence I gained from this small shift in thinking enabled me to grow into my femininity and feel comfortable being a girl, not just in how I looked, but in how I felt as well. I felt like it was okay to have feelings and to express them, to be vulnerable sometimes and see it as a strength. My behavior began to change as well; I stopped pushing at my husband so often and let go. My husband’s approval, compliments, assurances and affirmations were fuel as well, he loved my girliness (it’s a new word). It was fulfilling to see him pleased and I knew a lot of it was simply because I was feeling good about myself and he liked seeing me happy. This process continued on this path as I proceeded to lose weight, give up control and embrace my femininity and submissiveness. It’s one of the reasons we were able to happily begin this journey together.
Now, I’m at a point where I have the opportunity to sort of re-invent myself again. I’ve lost all the weight. Nothing fits anymore, so I have very few clothes, just the essentials, truthfully (think Adidas and one pair of jeans). And, while I was gravitating to more feminine attire, I honestly never owned a dress, or a skirt, or lingerie (only a couple bra/panty sets) or stockings. I’ve never worn heels, except in a wedding once (I’m not sure I want to). None of the girlier (another new word) stuff I had fits anymore and it wasn’t truly me anyway, it was transitional stuff. I get to start from scratch and it’s kind of exciting; I get to decide what kind of girl I want to be on the outside. It’s also pretty intimidating. Where do girls shop? I’ve shopped in the Women’s (plus-size) section for over 15 years. Now, I can shop wherever I want, but I have no idea where to go, or where to begin, and it’s sort of overwhelming. I am excited, though, because my husband likes to shop and I’ll truly enjoy having him along to pick things out. What better way to please him than to have him help choose?! I wonder what I like? I wonder what he’ll like? I guess we’ll find out, together.