I lingered around the pants section in GAP this afternoon brushing my fingers over the soft denim. "Quelle taille?" The employee asks me. Flustered I blush beer red and in embrassement scurry away snagging a pair of jeans before heading to the dressing room.
It's not that I didn't understand what he meant, as is my usual source of embarrassment when I'm interacting with French speakers. Instead it was the embarrassment of having to say that I wasn't sure what my size was. Often I find that I exaggerate my size by at least two sizes and that's simply because in my eyes this is what I imagine I look like. It's common, my therapist once told me, with people who suffer from eating disorders to not see themselves correctly. They add pounds that are not really there to validate their disorder. So even though I'm your mind you strongly believe your a 12, in reality you're a 6.
I didn't realize I had been doing this again, I thought I was on the up-n-up. But it turns out that sometimes these things just sneak up on you and you find yourself falling into old habits because it's comforting or gives you a sense of self-control (that one was always a big one for me).
I was inspired to write this, after I realized that in my hast to hide from the GAP employee, I'd grabbed the wrong size, inside of the 32R I'd been looking at I grabbed a 28R. In the dressing room I held up the jeans and regarded them with a doubtful glare. Avoiding my eyes and giving myself a mental pep-talk I tried on the jeans all the while knowing without a shadow of a single doubt that they would not-could not- possibly fit. Much to my shock and awe they didn't just fit they looked good. I took a moment, then did those posing movements where you shift on the balls of your feet every which way until you justify spending the money. And then I left the dressing room purchased the pants and walked out smirking slightly feeling like I'd just won a battle.
And in some sense I did win a battle, there is a lot of progress that goes unnoticed when you're dealing with mental illness and it's very easy to not see how far you've come.