The Dress

Y’all. Let me tell you about this dress.

This dress is beautiful. This dress is comfortable. This dress is special, but this dress has been a pain in my recovery ass for the last six months.

Toward the end of my stay in residential, I went on a dinner pass with my parents to a restaurant at the mall nearby. When we sat down at our table my mom pulled out a box that one of my fabulous friends, Mariel, had sent to her. Inside the box was a letter asking me to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. IMG_7667.JPGI was SO excited. It gave me a little something to look forward to in the middle of such a meh time in my life. This was my first friend to get married and the first wedding I had ever been a part of (I’m still salty that I was never a flower girl as a young child because I was a darn cute kid). Also, on my first meal pass out of the house I had booked a flight to Nashville (lololol this sounds so weird when I say it, and it is, but tickets were on super sale and I got a round trip flight for $100 and I was daydreaming about my future life and YES I did discharge from IOP the day before I left on that trip…but that’s a different story)  where the wedding would be and was excited to get to go out there and be a part of the wedding planning process.

Enjoy this very derpy picture of me and my dad at random restaurant when I opened the box (please note the Carolina House bag to my right 😂).

IMG_9942

 

Fast forward to December.

My parents asked me to go through my closet to donate clothes to Goodwill before the end of the year. This is something we always do as a family between Christmas and the New Year, but this year it was different…I had heaps of clothes hanging in closets and sitting in drawers that no longer fit correctly. I had been ignoring them, pretending nothing had changed and I had simply chosen not to wear those clothes.

When I finally dug in and went through all of it, I panicked…and I do not use that term lightly. Sorting through the clothes in my closet four months after having discharged from treatment led to the second true panic attack I have had in recent memory (the first being during a family session in PHP…have I mentioned how much fun treatment is?). I completely shut down. I was an irritable, angry zombie the rest of the day because I had expended so much energy panicking, worrying and tormenting myself over the closet debacle. Eventually, I left the house and got my mind to focus on some other things, but then I had a realization….

I had been fitted for my bridesmaid dress right after I discharged from treatment and some of the clothes that no longer fit had fit me during my time in treatment…so obviously I had gained so much weight since I left treatment that my bridesmaid dress would no longer fit. Let’s talk about jumping to conclusions.

But I fact checked myself on this idea. I asked my mom to come upstairs with me and help me zip the dress to prove to myself that it did indeed fit. And it did.

In the back of my head I was still telling myself that it didn’t fit.

Fast forward a few weeks when I had to go take the dress to be tailored. I put it on in the dressing room and walked out to have the lady zip it and she looked at me and said, “this dress won’t zip.” CUE FREAK OUT. Luckily my mom was there and zipped the dress perfectly because, apparently, this lady was just incompetent to zip dresses?

In the back of my head I was still telling myself that it didn’t fit.

Fast forward another two weeks to when I went to pick up the dress, my mom in toe again, and she uttered the words, “Kristin, I don’t know if I can zip it.” I immediately went down the shame traps in my head before my mom could even mutter, “it will zip, but I don’t want to hurt your back,” referring to the six stitches I had in my back from having a mole removed.

Even after trying the dress on numerous times and fact checking all of my thoughts and comments surrounding it, I was still convinced that it wouldn’t fit and my body image and self-esteem took a huge hit.

The wedding happened a week and a half ago and I am proud to report that the dress fit splendidly and the entire day was beautiful. Unfortunately, in order to get into the mindset that the dress would fit and nothing horrible would happen to my body before the wedding, I went on a (not-s0) nice walk down memory lane with my eating disorder. I don’t want to detail the things that happened in that week leading up to the wedding because that’s not helpful for me or anyone else, but let’s just say it’s scary how easily you fall back into the same maladaptive coping skills.

Yesterday I got some pictures of the wedding and they are gorgeous, but they also make me sad.

IMG_0764.JPGThey make me sad that I spent so much time worrying about my looks and my body when the whole day was really about something so much bigger. I was so blessed to be a part of that day with one of my best friends and I hate that my demons still pop up when they see that I am vulnerable.

It was a learning opportunity and my team and I now have some better ideas of how we can prepare and cope with situations that make me feel vulnerable in my own skin.

Luckily, I have bounced back from my slips that week. Actually, not luckily, because as someone once pointed out to me…it’s not luck. It’s recovery.

 

Always remember, you are more than your body. You are built for love and joy and fun and happiness and to experience life around you. Don’t let your body, or your perceptions of it, hold you back from everything around you. There isn’t always immense joy in life, but there never will be if you push it away.

 

 

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