So where the heck does that first paragraph come in in this long story? It doesn’t. I’ve only just realized this after posting the first four parts. The fitting room stories that inspired the main gist of this mini-series, namely my struggles with my size/weight, don’t really tie in with the other parts. But well, who cares because I already wrote the rest of this post. So here goes anyway:
I’ve been yo-yoing. If you know anything about Christina Aguilera, you know what I’m talking about. One year she’s wearing XXL, the next she’s dancing in a tiny dress in Burlesque. Not that I have ever been that slim, no.
After slimming down as mentioned in the previous post, I put some of it back on. I acquired a new companion – his name is anxiety – in Vancouver and did a lot of emotional eating. Free flow of fish and chips? Bring it on. Oh, and can we get a refill of this endless bottle of tartar sauce? A whole box of Hong Kong roasted barbeque pork rice? Nope, not sharing. The only thing that I maintained was my butt which saw a lot of inclined walks. They say spot-reducing doesn’t work but well, inclines helped my butt stay toned lol.
The gist is I gained and lost weight here and there, now and then. Part of me also allowed the yo-yoing to happen because I wanted to resist the idea that bigger-than-average or fat is not beautiful which are society’s and many cultures’ mindset when it comes to size. Am I less worthy if I am 5lbs heavier? Why can’t I be 5lbs heavier and be okay with it? Why do I feel disgusting when I look over at someone skinnier? Nevertheless, it was a never-ending tug of war – eat, exercise, portion control, eat some more, don’t exercise, no portion control.
That brings us to today. Whew, finally.
Where do I stand on the scale, so to speak, today? I still don’t know. Even now I have no exercise goals related to numbers. I have no plans of reducing myself to a number on the scale.
I think I’m a size 9… somewhere between 8 and 10, some days a 10, not quite an 8 yet, something like that. Decent, I would say. Could stand to lose a bit more belly fat but no complaints about being in between sizes some days and a full 10 (and a half) on others. Unless, of course, mean comments about my size are aimed my way then I either 1) fall back into my thinking that I’m fat therefore disgusting and unworthy or 2) struggle between feeling like I haven’t done enough or 3) think, F off, a**hole, you don’t know my life. Or all of the above.
I came home this summer, fully expecting to continue our workout regime. I worked but I managed not to slack off. The conflicting emotions after I lose weight or drop a jeans size aren’t as severe as they used to be either.
OR SO I THOUGHT. Cue more dramatic Dracula music.
/prelude Fitting rooms here are where I am taken back to the times when people made me feel bad about my size. When I look at myself in the mirror in the fitting rooms here, I remember the younger me who had this ugly love-hate relationship with her body. I didn’t hate my body but people around me made me. /end prelude haha
The wife of my dad’s friend recently gifted us a bag of clothes from South Korea. Korean fashion is something I never thought about until I started noticing my sister’s growing interest in it. I long ago stopped keeping up with the fashion world, if you’re wondering how that interest went.
What is Korean fashion? I haven’t studied it enough to give you a thorough overview but basically flowy A-line shapes, cute layering, trench coats that look impossibly good on men (this might only be Kpop men but correct me if I’m wrong), ripped jeans, platform shoes, and no showing your shoulders or armpits (at least that’s what I’ve read). Sounds good to me since I love sleeved clothes.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, after doing brief research, when we pulled out the clothes and I immediately noticed how oversized all the clothes in the bag were. By the way, a lot of their clothes are free-size (never understood this). The other obvious thing was the empire waist/A-line shape that ALL the clothes had. They are feminine, beautiful, expensive clothes but empire waists…?
You see where I’m going with this? Oh yeah. We tried on all the clothes that looked like they would be too big and shapeless to fit.
Much to my disappointment and embarrassment, I found out that I am no Korean female idol. Dreams of joining a female idol group evaporated as I stared down at the flowy dress with spaghetti straps. I’m kidding. I have loftier goals than that – joining a male idol group. Super Junior, let me in.
Empire-waist and A-line clothes make me look like I’m pregnant. Having never been your typical dainty Asian with a small frame or flat butt or small chest, it was clear that those clothes were not made for the likes of me. I could have been the Hulk (amen, Bruce Banner, whom they recently killed off in the comics; don’t tell me I spoiled it for you, it was in the news!!) being delusional, thinking he could still fit into a pair of tailored office slacks after morphing into that angry green giant.
Did anyone even think the clothes would look remotely like this on me? NO.
Yes, I was sad. No, I will not be wearing any of those clothes to meet my dad’s friend’s wife.
Later, for whatever masochistic reason, I went to browse Korean fashion sites. To my fascination, and masochism, if you will, I noted that most clothes with sizes only go up to a medium. Well, this one hasn’t worn an Asian size M in years. Looks like I will not be shopping at online Korean fashion stores.
The fitting rooms here are where I first ‘confirmed’ the fat comments said to my face. From my pre-teen years onwards (or at least that’s when I first started looking at tags instead of just having my mom buy clothes for me) I didn’t need to bother looking at anything smaller than an L. School uniforms? Large. Okay, extra large. Jeans? Large. Size 10-12. T-shirts? Large. I was always ashamed of buying size L clothes. That is, until fitting rooms in the US entered my life. Well, they didn’t have that big an impact that time I went and gained a lot of weight but later when I slimmed down a little, I realized that I was actually pretty average-sized over there. Sometimes M even does it for me.
That was yet another aha moment for me when it dawned on me that I may not be as monstrously big as I was told and made to feel. BUT apparently, I don’t learn my fashion lessons too well because I still keep going back to try on Asian-sized clothes at the malls back here. I don’t do it often because I spend a lot of time glaring at racks and shelves of clothes, thinking, ‘nope’ but when I do, sometimes I come out of the fitting room, ready to go home and wallow in self-pity. Unless we’re going to Nando’s after that, no joke. Okay, maybe not self-pity… More like feeling irritated and angry with myself.
At a recent fitting room session, I had the sense to laugh off what I could classify as the worst piece of clothing I have taken in to try. It was a maxi skirt, size L. In my head, I didn’t look as good as the mannequin wearing it but could still somehow look okay in it. I tried it on. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I still hate trying on clothes here but at least now I know it’s not me, it’s the standards. And well, eff the standards and the people who bring down your self-esteem.