It’s been swelteringly hot and sunny everyday. This is usually good news, but when you walk to and from work everyday and like to fit in some exercise at lunch, it can be difficult to find wardrobe options that keep you cool but still look professional.
I only have one pair of formal suit pants and two work-appropriate blouses that fit me. Because of BED, I have gained too much weight to fit into the rest of my professional, pretty, fitted clothing. My current clothing style is best described as baggy meets stretchy.
When I come into work, the last thing I want to do is put on wool suit pants and a stuffy blouse in some scratchy, non-breathable material that will cling to the sweat on my body, give me rashes, and make me itch like crazy. Therefore, I’ve been skirting the unofficial dress code at my office recently by wearing more casual and more comfortable clothing.
Yes, this was unprofessional of me and not a smart decision, but I was still surprised when my boss brought me into her office today and reprimanded me for it. I immediately felt sheepish and embarrassed for being called out on a rookie “What Not to Do” error. But I wasn’t prepared for what I felt afterwards.
When I returned to my desk, I felt extremely ashamed. Not only because I had become lazy in my choice of clothing, but because I was so acutely reminded of how much weight I’ve gained, how strongly BED has affected my life, how much I hate what I’ve done to my body, and how different I am from how I used to be. Clothing and fashion used to excite me. Now all I see is what I can’t wear.
I felt every negative emotion – all the hatred, self-blame, feelings of failure and hopelessness – flood my system all at once. The pain was overwhelming. There was so much pain. I was scared to breathe.
I wanted to hide in a room and cry. I wanted to crumple into a deep, dark, empty pit and just be left there alone. What was meant to be a reminder to dress more appropriately wound up being a massive hit to my confidence. I thought that I had come so far in improving my body image and reaching self-acceptance, but today showed me that I still have so much farther to go.
I had been planning to buy new work clothes just before law firm interview season in September so that I could be sure my suit would fit me properly. I don’t have enough money to constantly build a new wardrobe every month to accommodate my increasing size. So until then, the reality is that I will have to wear essentially the same sweat-inducing outfit everyday. Everyday I will have to get dressed, look in the mirror, and see yet another reminder of my eating disorder, another freedom gone, and another piece of my life that has been stolen away.
Mondays can really stink.