I’m wearing drop-crotch pants today, in homage to David’s Rick Owens’ shorts/pants**
(from Schitt’s Creek season 1, episode 3 – WATCH IT!!)
and as a celebration that I can wear what I want. And so can everyone else 🙂
A couple of days ago I followed a link back to a message board (NOT one known for snarky nasty comments about bloggers) where someone mentioned Grechen’s Closet as a good place for the original poster to look for inspiration on breaking out of a style rut. I should have stopped reading there, because what followed was disturbing and sad. Of course I read it all until I forced myself to close out and walk away from the computer. I took a walk to clear my head.
But what I read has been bumping around in there ever since.
Not because I feel sorry for myself for what some of the (ALL ANONYMOUS) participants said about my style, or lack thereof, but because of what they wrote/said about each other and the original poster, who was just looking for advice. I am always amazed at how nasty we can be towards each other, although I really shouldn’t be, I’ve been around the block a time or two. And I am ashamed to admit I used to read snarky forums dishing on other fashion bloggers. I stopped years ago and it has been transformational for me.
So it was kind of shocking to be back in it for a minute.
I mostly let it go, but then as I was in Pure Barre class this morning, one of the comments I remembered reading hit me over the head and nearly knocked me over:
“I didn’t think they let women who look like her (me, the commenter was talking about me) into Pure Barre”
That was the gist of it anyway.
That statement, that thought, that idea makes me so sad. Like there’s an idea out there that women who “look like me” or who aren’t tall and thin and blonde, aren’t welcome in any exercise studio. Of course that’s a perception, and I thought it too before I started, but it’s not true.
What’s even sadder though, and what really just hit me this morning, is that I’ve been thinking for months now that I should lose more weight and try to get rid of my arm fat and thick thighs so I actually LOOK like a person who’s been doing Pure Barre for five years. See, I’m about to take my 1,000th Pure Barre class, and I will have been taking Pure Barre for five years on May 8th.
What exactly does a person who’s been doing Pure Barre for five years look like? Me. She looks like me.
But sometimes I walk in the studio and I think everyone’s judging me, thinking, man, she’s been doing Pure Barre for five years (not that everyone there even knows that..)? Why does she still have underarm flaps? And look at that roll of fat around her waist!
I used to think people weren’t really thinking things like that, that it was all in my head. But it turns out people DO THINK things like that, they just don’t say them out loud to your face – they wait to post anonymously on a message board, or leave a comment saying so on a person’s blog (remember that comment?).
What difference does it make what other people think, or say about you? Isn’t it supposed to not matter? I can’t say it makes no difference at all, because when people put those thoughts into words, they do have an impact. How can they not? I’m a person too. I have feelings – It’s not easy reading negative comments and remarks about yourself online.
Those words do have less of an impact than they did just a few years ago though. I send them along in a canoe on the river flowing by while I stand on the bank. Good riddance.
But. Of course there’s a but.
I’m always trying to figure out why people do what they do, or say what they say, and then learn from it, maybe applying it to my own life. What is is that makes a person write those negative thoughts down? Or say them to someone? Or post them on a person’s facebook wall, or whatever? Why do we constantly tear others down to build ourselves up?
I know why, I used to do it. I used to need to feel “better than” to just feel “good enough.”
I was afraid. Afraid that someone else’s success would take away from my own. Afraid that I wasn’t good enough and I’d be found out sooner or later and everything I’d thought I’d achieved would disappear into thin air. I was always afraid. And I would feel a little better after I compared myself positively to someone else, or read something mean about someone I didn’t care for anyway. Of course, that less-afraid feeling was fleeting. And it completely disappeared when my naivete was broken and I started seeing all the mean things people were writing about ME. I could no longer rely on that tactic to make me feel better about myself; I had to find something else.
I found that in mindfulness and meditation. I found it in the realization that we are all the same. I found it in the idea that all we have is this moment.
We are all afraid. And we all suffer. We all deal with that fear and suffering in different ways. But we are all the same. We all have to work through it to get to the other side. And then once we’re there, we have to do it all again. And then we will all die.
And I don’t see that as depressing or sad or morbid anymore. I see it as an opportunity to celebrate – to really appreciate the little things in life, the moments, days, weeks, pop-up shops (!), Pure Barre classes (every class is worth a celebration, believe me!!). It is also a reminder that so much is fleeting and not even real; our thoughts, our worries, our anxieties, other people’s thoughts, words, etc., and not worth dwelling on.
I don’t want to feel ashamed to celebrate my success anymore, or be proud of myself. And I want to do more to celebrate the successes of others too. We are all working hard to carve out a little place for ourselves, while we are here, and that is worth celebrating*.
*haha…sometimes I don’t know who I am anymore. I used to be so negative and jealous and angry I never thought I’d NOT be that way. And now I’m not. Who’d have thought. Honestly, who’d have thought I’d have taken 1,000 Pure Barre classes either. go figure. Or kept weight off for more than a month. Life never ceases to amaze me 🙂
**I took the “colostomy bag” reference out of the title and description after Rita’s comment. I didn’t mean to be insensitive, I was just using the term Eugene Levy’s character called David’s pants in Schitt’s Creek.