I went to a wedding this weekend, which meant I had to wear a dress which meant I had to wear tights which meant I had to put on tights. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of squeezing themselves into pantyhose, tights, spanx, etc. knows the pain, the shame, the awkwardness, the scarred for life feeling of putting them on – praying they don’t rip, crying when they totally rip or don’t fit at all, tearfully begging the gods that you can successfully squeeze into just one pair so you can leave the room and never speak of this moment again – and if you aren’t shaped like a stick (or maybe even if you are) you get to keep feeling that pain all night until they come off again.
The pair that made it onto my body in one piece were still a little small for my liking and like most “body shaping” tights, they hurt pretty bad. I spent the whole ceremony feeling uncomfortable and awkward and pinched and restrained. My dress was a little too short for my comfort level which made my husband happy but just made me feel even more self conscious. Instead of enjoying the wedding, I lamented the pain I was in and the fact that we do this to ourselves constantly. We let ourselves feel terrible because society says we have to. We sit there awkwardly, trying to pretend we feel fabulous and totally put together while dying inside.
I might have had a melt down after the ceremony. I might have ranted my poor husband’s ear off for twenty minutes about how I never wanted to wear pantyhose again and society is evil and it’s all a scam and you might as well eat my dinner for me because I won’t be able to. There might have been tears, I’m not sure – I was losing circulation and sanity and feeling really bad for myself that I’d ordered a steak dinner for the reception that I didn’t see how I’d be able to eat with my insides being wrung like a wet cloth.
Then I decided I was done. Like seriously done. I announced that I really was breaking up with pantyhose of all kinds for good this time. Like a bad news boyfriend, it was time to kick tights to the curb and sing a Taylor Swift anthem at them once and for all. My saint of a husband calmly walked with me through the aisle of Target as I found a long skirt and a decent looking blouse (it took me a few tries to find something I thought was wedding appropriate but didn’t make me feel terrible) and then I changed clothes in record time, flinging those tights off like they were on fire – and we headed to the reception where nobody seemed to notice or care that I’d completely changed outfits.
I was comfortable for the rest of the night, felt much prettier and had a great time. Was the outfit super fancy and show stopping? Nope. I could wear it to the mall – but I don’t care. Nobody was looking at me when the bride was wearing the most gorgeous gown I have ever seen – and once I accepted what I needed to feel comfortable, I was able to stop beating myself up for being too fat or too uncomfortable or too awkward or whatever and just smile and say “Wow, this steak is great!” and catch up with family and sing along to the songs and enjoy the company of my husband who was totally my rock that day.
I really may never wear tights again. I saw plenty of women wearing pants at that wedding who looked totally chic and honestly the long skirt with a pretty blouse thing worked out amazingly well for me. And if I can lose enough weight to wear a short skirt or dress without feeling self conscious – look out world. But until that moment, I’m not going to apologize for what I need or force myself to feel frumpy and awkward or in pain. Because I’m done.
Stop making yourself miserable just to fit in. Stop beating yourself up for your so called failures. Stop doing things just because it’s “what people do” – what do YOU do? What makes you happy? What feels comfortable and honest in your life? Do those things and forget about the rest of that stuff. Don’t apologize for being kind to yourself.