I recently had a realization, thank God before I turned 30, that underwear had always (or for a long time) been uncomfortable and perhaps it was because I was wearing the wrong size. I’m a petite lady who grew up as a ballet dancer, but with a pretty big butt– the kind that sticks out. And since dancers don’t wear underwear like ever, I never thought much about it. Body image, at least as far as my shape was concerned, was never really a thing until I got to college. Then between a terrible relationship and even just that one semester in a Dance program… Egads. Suddenly, I felt terrible about myself all the time. For years.
I worked at Victoria’s Secret for a few years, too. I have _boat loads_ of underwear, even now. For the last three years or so I was like OK. I’m not buying underwear for a long time. I do not need underwear. And then recently I realized that none of them fit.
I am entirely conflicted through this recent realization, because even though I have never had aspirations to be a model (because models below 5’6″ don’t exist), I am not sure how I feel about being associated with this next size up of underwear. Part of me feels free. Free to enjoy wearing pants again, without constant wedgies or lines. Part of me is afraid I’m giving in, worried I’m merely forgetting a time when Small underwear were comfortable and it’s somehow achievable again. Maybe that time existed, but it was when I was 18, a dancer, and basically not eating because I was miserable.
So does that mean a happy me is a “fatter” me? What is my ideal body size/shape/fat content? Should I even _have_ a goal of such a thing? Who even pays that much attention to my body? I sure hope nobody…
I remember being told when I was a kid that my big butt “is OK because guys actually like that in a girl.” It’s not OK because it’s OK to be whatever you are, but because _boys will like you_. Sure, _that’s_ what we want to be telling teenage girls. :/ Not only that but why does my body shape/size matter at that age? Or at any age?
It’s also made me really question what it means to be healthy. I’m now a yoga instructor (seriously, I just have a natural aversion to underwear) and there’s this fallacious perception that yoga people eat vegan organic everything and never drink alcohol and …probably make their own yogurt, I don’t know. But I assure you none of that is true. I can also say that it always _looks_ to me as though all the other instructors are way better to their bodies than I am to mine. And then I think if only I had the discipline to do all that, maybe I wouldn’t wear size Medium underwear.
But I like beer. And bread. And ice cream. And balance in life. And something tells me that if I cut all that out, and did yoga every day, and was able to have the perfect headstand and wear size Small underwear, that… Maybe I would be super miserable. Maybe having a perfect figure would terrify me out of ever having fun. Maybe you don’t need to be size Small to get a perfect headstand. And maybe having a big butt and cellulite in my thighs and some belly fat and doing yoga a couple times a week instead of every day and drinking some beer sometimes and taking very many years to get to that headstand and not spending every waking hour worrying whether or not I’m gonna “look fat” … Maybe a size Medium life is a better life to live.
Maybe having the patience to live life more simply is just as much of a journey and a practice as it is to finally achieve that asana you feel will never come. Maybe size Medium means learning to accept things as they are instead of worrying what you need to do to change them.
What if what size underwear you wear was simply what size underwear you wear and didn’t have to mean you had a certain body type or that you had to worry about what you ate or drank, or that if you didn’t worry then it means you’re irresponsible or a failure in some way? What if we stop seeing size Medium as a failed size Small, or a Large as a failed Medium?
What if we stopped telling women and girls their body shape/size means something more than it does?