I was actually nervous, driving into the parking lot. This was definitely unknown territory. I wondered if I'd be asked to leave. I wondered if I was doing more harm to myself than good. I wondered if I was sending the wrong message to myself...and ultimately to my female community. I didn't want anyone to see me go in, so I --very poorly-- played it cool and aloof. I've NEVER been good at playing anything cool, so I probably looked like a teenager 'casually' wandering into a porn shop. As I inched closer and closer to the entrance, I thought about what I'd say. How would I explain myself? Would I have the courage to tell the truth? Then that little voice in my head that's been with me for sixteen years, that whiny, negative, petty, short-sighted, mean voice starts telling me this is pathetic. You have reached the lowest of the low. This is stupid. You're only looking for an excuse to stay fat. (And that's one of her good days). My foot must have grazed the threshold of the store because before I could run away, back to the safety of yoga pants, and yoga pants and more yoga pants, I heard a kind voice say, "Hi! Welcome to Motherhood Maternity. How can I help you?" My heart stopped. A red hue poured over my face, making me look like a feverish weirdo. Before I could even think to lie and say I am 12-weeks pregnant, I heard myself instead say, "Hi, I'm here because I have suffered from body image issues since I was eleven and rather than spending the rest of my life in yoga pants, I'm willing to consider that maybe maternity pants would be a good and comfortable fit. Can you help me?"
The woman's face lit up and without skipping a beat, she said, "You are so brave! I'm so glad you're here and yes, I would love to help you." I felt like crying but instead, I let out a gigantic sigh; an exhale so loud, it was as though I'd been holding my breath for years. Those dark moments I spent changing my clothes at least five times a day, fidgeting in front of 60+ people while teaching my Kickboxing class, asking people, "am I fat?", crying in countless dressing rooms, pinching, cutting, grabbing, scratching and yelling at my body for the way it looks, seemed to have melted away in that moment and I was ready to explore the world of elastic waistbands that go all the way up to my nipples, in favor of wearing an outfit that tells the world, "I actually got dressed today!" I began trying on pants and noticed I had no anxiety when I pulled them up to my waist. This was because the part where I have to button them and fear that awful bulge, created by the pants cutting into the wrong part of my stomach, was gone. And for that incredible moment of peace I'd been waiting for since puberty, I was sold.
Five new pairs of pants later, I decide this has been the best shopping experience of my life, not just because my "retail-engineer" was the most amazing, supportive, receptive and compassionate woman on the planet, but because I had given myself unconditional permission to find clothes I feel the best in. No matter what.
Before I wrap this up, I have a question; have those body type charts, comparing you to various fruits, EVER helped you, or raised the vibration of your soul? Deciding if I look more like an apple than an avocado or a banana, to help me find jeans etc, has never been very...fruitful. (ha!) No but seriously, to my knowledge, my Mother did not give birth to a pear or a banana or a pomegranate. She delivered a healthy 7lb 11oz baby girl, who has the body type of someone who healthily houses a set of lungs, a beating heart, a fully functional, mufti faceted brain, a few miles of intestines, warm blood and all the neurons needed to write this blog. And because my body works so well for me, it truly deserves to be dressed well and cared for.
It is not my intention to turn people away from mainstream or traditional fashion. And I'm not saying maternity pants are the cure for negative body image either. But for Pete's sake, sometimes you gotta slap on some elasto-waisted pants, rub some essential oils on yourself and get your groove on. I am inviting you to consider that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. If they're not called maternity pants, they are just adorable, comfortable pants I can smile in. And move in. And not fidget in.
And just like I would do for my future child, I will do anything to ensure that I am comfortable, confident, unashamed and joyful during my stay on our beautiful planet.