My first mistake was to step out of the shower and actually look in the mirror. Second mistake was to reaffirm the first. Step on the scale. Frustrated with the number I see, I make the third mistake of one hundred percent confirming the Bitch and all of the awful things she says…I tried to put on my skinny jeans. Fuck. Not even if I tried laying down and was never going to do anything other than stand all day. Fine. Holidays and F’n Covid, I too, have gained bigger curves. Normally this vicious cycle would put me into a spin for at least a few days, where I have to make deliberate effort to feel better in my skin. I have learned to make myself feel pretty cue red lipstick or at least useful and that helps snap me out of it. But this actually isn’t a pity party this time. Not this time.

I applaud you with thunderous praise if you managed to keep a goal of not to gaining weight over the pandemic, or ever for that matter. With comfort eating because pick any news headline and Holidays and the gyms being closed it must have been really hard. I truly do, applaud you. Go you. I know however, that I am far, far from alone. I mean after all, there is a bazillion dollar industry built on the prospect and goal that we all somehow feel shit about ourselves especially at the start of the New Year. Even if we didn’t before.

I have officially had it with the New Year, New You Bullshit. I am tired of a so called normal New Year “reflection”…more like berating by the Bitch. I am going to save my internal really f’n long rant about how the deck is stacked against all of us when it comes to what we are supposed to look like, vs the reality of…well at least this entire country. I just… Screams all of the F bombs into the void. I’ll save that angry soapbox for another day.

But dammit, I admit it. I fell into the trap. I let the Bitch start berating me that day and I was hating myself for it. Then, something happened to snap me out of it in the most unexpected Moonstruck moment. I wish I could say I had the mental power and prowess to just stop and not engage with her, but this was not the case. She was winning. But my power came back, and it came from the most unlikely of sources…

Side note because Monkey says I have too… and because I simply can’t tell a story in a straight line. During these down times, I have returned to the summer days, not like Cleopatra and her salad days well, kinda. I have returned to the days I spent with my grandparents. We gardened and ate salads, canned, cooked and we sewed aprons. I returned to sewing aprons, which I have decided are the Armor of the Matriarch this year as best I could. I have made a few from scraps and pillowcases. I sit on the floor and just figure it out. I have no pattern, I just wing it. They actually look darned cute. I’ve given those away. But, there’s this other random connection here to one of my favorite books, one that created a wish of mine that has been floating around since I read it. I decided I really wanted to sew again, that I wanted to try my hand at being my own personal seamstress. Having a dress mannequin for sewing would be way f’n easier than doing that on the floor, especially if I was going to just go for it without an tissue pattern cut out. I imagined making nifty things. Like finally my Ahsoka costume I’ve wanted since Clone Wars. So, in typical fashion ha ha I was gifted one by my amazing guy. I now had a perfect storm on the horizon waiting for me wrapped in a box filled with of all the free time, my grandparents, cosplay and A Prayer for Owen Meany all wrapped up into one. Actually, the box contained a real dress makers mannequin.

I let the box sit for a few days before I put it together. At this point the Bitch was getting really loud and infecting other aspects of my world. I know now that accomplishing a task no matter how small makes her go away, and this would be simple. Just put the thing together, take the perfect storm out of the box and let it pour. Build the thing, it will make you feel better. I was opting for a small win, it turned out to be way bigger than that.

Open the box. Assemble the stand. Shit. Unassemble the stand to put the hem brace thing back in the right spot. Done. This isn’t just a one size frozen mannequin, this one seems to have a bit of life. This one has nobs and dials and springs that are adjustable to the needed measurements. Ooooof. I get out the measuring tape. Neck, bust, waist, length of torso and hips. I pause. I am not sure this is a battle I am ready to wage with the Bitch but I do it anyway.

I start measuring and was proud I could say at least something gentle to myself…it isn’t as bad as you thought. I begin to twist the dials and nobs and adjust springs to make….me. Whoah. I got up because I remembered I had laundry to put in the dryer and really don’t like that oops I forgot for a day smell of clothes left in the washer. More like avoiding something …I put in headphones and pranced around for a bit to get the laundry done with loud music of course to help stave of the inevitable crash. I was expecting a low feeling at having made this me thing knowing damned well I was not the song lyric 36 24 36 I like girls with …yeah nope. Laundry done I pop back into the studio to take out the box and packaging trash. Studio sounds way cooler than office right?

SMACK …Snap out of it. Whoah ok Universe.

I stood there and stared at myself. I had measured. Measure twice, cut once. I got out the tape measure and did it again. I even made the point to not be wearing tight yoga pants, and realize I probably mooned the neighbors. I double checked the dials. I measured the damned mannequin. I was not believing what was right in fucking front of me.

That Bitch has been lying to me, and I was whatever it was…weak, insecure, depressed or anxious enough to believe the lies. I have now seen it with my own eyes. On a tape measure, twice even. On a life-size actually me mannequin. I’m done listening to bullshit that Bitch has been saying.

We so often do not see in ourselves what others see in us, or tell us on a repeat loop.

We are our toughest critics. I know I am my absolute worst critic often unreasonably and cruelly so. I actually see that now. Moreover, because I am so damned stubborn at times, this time I can touch it. I could feel the lie. I could touch the truth and that has a power I have rarely experienced. I may, sure as hell tbh, have days where I beat myself up. But the good news is I think I am learning to find solutions that already exist on days where I do.

I have said it many many times, and I live by it. It is okay to borrow the bravery of others. It is important to borrow the belief that others have in you, especially during the times you aren’t believing in yourself. In fact, I think it is absolutely necessary in a lot of situations. Like life in general.

Thanks to an unexpected perfect storm I will now add that it is ok to borrow the beauty others see in you too. Besides, from my recent experience…The Bitch is one hundred percent lying, and they are the ones who are right.

It is ok to borrow the bravery and beauty everyone else sees in you so carry on you beautiful badass.

Learning to live unafraid.

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