London is 31 degrees and sunny. Humid, muggy and just plain icky. I woke up thinking dressing up was going to be a challenge for me and I’ll tell you why; for the past ten years I would imagine, I haven’t gone more than ten days in the summer without a cardigan and if I’m not wearing a cardigan my dress has to have sleeves. Almost always.
As women we all have our insecurities, legs, bums, tummy, etc. I have the atypical curvy girl physique; cinched in waist, thick hips and a butt that just won’t quit…it deserves its own continent. But over the years I have made my peace with my body, grown to love it but it hasn’t been easy. My arms are the bane of my body, they always have been and I always try to keep them hidden because if I don’t, I feel as if I’m being judged on them, like people are stopping to stare at them and make snide comments. I’d spend hours in front of a mirror working up strategic poses to make my arms look smaller, its not as if they are the biggest things ever, they’re not, but I find them less than appealing.
The root of this insecurity was from my ex, a psychotic and insecure lunatic, who passed on his lunacy when he would often tease me about my “bat wings” as he called them. Not that he was any hotter (I can say this now because I know better) For a long time after I broke up with him, I wasn’t able to go without covering up my arms in some way, because his voice stayed stuck at the back of my head. What started out as a joke, manifested itself into my greatest insecurity and it stuck with me.
Which leads me to this morning, blistering hot London, girls in their skivvies, lady parts all around and there I was, standing in front of the mirror, trying out my poses to see which angle worked better. And then I thought; screw this. I threw my cardigan into my handbag and left home. Initially I thought I’d only survive the back roads and the cardigan would go on once I hit the main streets, but as I walked on, the thought never even occurred to me. I walked for 3.5 miles without putting it on. A great personal achievement, for me at least; you have to be in my shoes to understand where all this is coming from and one day, I’ll tell you all about it.
In my Aha! Moment, I figured out two things; my ex-boyfriend is a jerk, I already knew this, but in that moment he was an even a bigger jerk and the other thing; I don’t know the people on the streets and they don’t know me, don’t pay my bills, feed or clothe me. They have no bearing on my life whatsoever other than the duty of care owed from one human being to another, and even so, I may not have to exercise it. So chances are, I’ll probably never get to know them. He who judges me because my arms aren’t toned must seriously have a problem and for a long time I was the one with the problem.
Who’s to say I won’t throw on a cardigan tomorrow, but for now I know this for sure; Today, I did a brave thing when I stepped out of my door.
Here’s hoping you get to do yours too.