I'm Not a Zero
My intention was not to write a post about this issue. I feared it would become too controversial. Kick up a ruckus if you will. The constant push pull of a society that always has to rank who's problem is bigger and better. But after my experience jean shopping yesterday, I am left with need to "blog this out" of me.
As someone that is still new to "get fit, live fit" mentality I am still early on in my journey of discovery. Over the past 8 months, I can confidentally say the majority of what I have experienced and discovered has been wonderful. I'm more in sync with my body, my energy level no longer dips the way it once did and of course, it's wonderful that at age 43 I can finally wear a two piece bathing suit with a new found confidence.
That said, this article is NOT about how great I feel nor how lovely it is to rock a bathing suit in my perimenopause years. What this article is about is awareness. Awareness of something that has always been all around me but never truly absorbed...until I went jean shopping recently.
I have always been petite. If you reference any of my former posts, I share that information up front. I do not know the battle of weight the way many of my comrads in fitness have. My kudos and admiration to them is abundant, never ending and inspiring. But, I have had my own battles with body shape, confidence and the onslaught of mid 40s body shifting. It was unnerving and my first time having to really take control of my body.
All that shared, I was excited to go jean shopping for the first time since starting this get fit journey. I wandered into my favorite chain store for an armful of denim and made my way into the dressing room. First pair, no luck. Second pair, no luck. Third pair, no luck. On and on it went. I was disheartened. The size 2 jeans were all too large. I can hear the boohoo'ing out there. But please trust me with where I'm going. I realized that the next size down was a zero. A ZERO.
And the thought of that, suddenly enraged me. Standing there alone in the dressing room, a whirl of questions, worry and anger engulfed me. A zero? Really? What message was this that we were sending to women and young girls? How far down our throats could the fashion industry and media shove the language of "thigh gaps" and "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"? If I see one more "thinspiration" post or image I might implode.
Yes. All this whirled about me as I stood there in size 2 jeans that were too big. The body image thing is a battle on both ends of the scale. I am working hard...and I mean hard to get stronger, to transform my chicken stick legs into calves that no longer comfortably fit in skinny jeans. A year ago I could not get through 10 jumping jacks. This year I am in training for my first half marathon. I have a core that is stronger than its ever been and a butt that is nearly at the same attention it was when I was in my 20s. Hard, laboring, challenging work (that I love) to shape and transform myself. To build a body with presence that inspires other women to own themselves, empower every ounce of their being with strength.. All this, all this that I have worked for and discovered was suddenly erased in a blip by a small little tag that read "size 0".
I charged out of the dressing room and gave up the armful of jeans. I didn't have the energy or the heart to put on a zero. Honestly. I could not do it. Ten years ago I would have cherished being a zero. But the woman I have grown into sees the insult that a zero is. The thing that frightens me is there is an entire generation of women that truly believe their worth ranks higher the smaller the tag number becomes.
I understand that my perspective is slightly different. That for many seeing the jean size number go down is a blessing and confirmation of their efforts. And for them, I stand and cheer. But for me, who is mixed in with those that are misguided and working "toward becoming a zero" - where does that leave me? I am NOT a zero. The whole idea that a women should be given a size that essentially says you are non existant screams in the face of all that I am becoming. My presence is growing stronger while my jean size threatens to erase the efforts.
I felt so passionate about this subject that I had to write it down. Write it out. This may not be the most popular post I ever share but its honest and raw and from my heart. No woman should ever be defined by a number on scale or a size on a tag. For better for worse, for bigger for smaller...we have to stop succumbing to the war that is encouraged amongst each other and instead lift one another up.
None of us are a zero. Including me.