Body image. Who gets to escape it? No one, as far as I know. A lot of women struggle and they think men don't struggle with it, but I know a lot of men. And they struggle with it. And I can most definitely tell you that many transgender people do, too. If you're struggling, keep reading.
It seems no matter what body type or level of fitness we have (or haven't) achieved, it's never good enough. And then we make the situation worse by punishing ourselves with little things like comparing ourselves to other people or keeping old clothes that don't fit as reminders of what we once were or should be. Thin jeans vs. fat jeans, anyone? How about this one: I don't fit into my pants because I gained weight. I am mad at myself that I gained weight, so I won't allow myself to buy new pants to fit the current me.
I know that one, really well.
One of the biggest fears I had about transitioning was that I would never pass as a man. Why?
I was afraid my hips were too big. I was afraid I would have a surgery that changed part of my body but not another part and it would give me away and I would never be a successful "dude". What I learned since transitioning has taught me a lot.
As a result of the hormones I am taking, I lost my waist. Like, lost it. I was told it would happen, but it's weird. My hips also changed. I was also told it would happen but I'm a recovering Catholic so I was, "riiiiighhht. I'll believe THAT when I see it."
Well, I see it now. I am far from this guy:
but, I am actually thrilled with what I've got. And I don't know too many people who look like him, anyway.
With my curvy, hour-glass figure slightly less hour-glassy, my a-ha moment came when I was getting dressed one day and I couldn't fit into my pants. Pair after pair went into a heap on the floor. One word came to mind: FAILURE.
Yep, I was a failure.
I eat really well, exercise for fun and not because someone's forcing me, drink plenty of water, get lots of sleep (finally--that insomnia really sucked), etc, etc. So why can't I fit into my pants anymore?
Then I realized it: my waist was thicker and my hips were smaller. My body fat had redistributed itself so now I needed pants that were slightly larger. I was simply a new body shape--something I had wanted and worked so hard to go after. I wasn't a failure, at all.
Simply accepting my body exactly as it is now, and not comparing it to what it was in the past helped me get in the car and buy a couple new pairs of pants for my new more manly shape. Did we talk about how I grew abs? No? Ok, another time.
Am I content with what I've achieved and the body I have, in this moment, even if I'm wearing slightly larger pants? Absolutely. I am perceived as a guy pretty much anywhere I go, so all those worries about the junk in my trunk was a big waste of time. It probably helps that I took super good care of my body during transition so I gained a minimal amount of weight. It IS true that I may have indulged myself a bit this year but hey, I was going through a huge life change. Sh%^ happens. Today I get to start again.
I keep the older pants around, as reminders that I could run a bit more. There are several things I could do that I'm not doing to fit into them.
Do I want to do those things right now? No.
Right now, I deserve to be comfortable. If I want to fit back into those smaller pants, I know exactly what to do.
And it starts with accepting myself as I am, in this moment. Embracing what was, what is and what will be. If I can't be ok with what is now, nothing will ever be good enough. So I love what is.