Am I crazy?
This week, I got drinks with a close friend I hadn’t seen in three years. I was over-the-moon excited to see her. But also, I was nervous–not that it would be awkward, not that we would have nothing in common anymore. I knew that would be great. No, I was worried that she’d see me and think I “let myself go.”
I’ve gained weight during COVID-19, like many people have. It hasn’t even been that much. I don’t know the exact number; I refuse to weigh myself. I just know that my jeans fit a bit tighter now, and some of my favorite skirts don’t fit at all. My body changing has been difficult, but overall, I feel okay with how I look. I know my body changing is normal, and I know a pandemic is not. Of course my body was going to adapt in times of crisis.
Yet regardless of all this knowledge, I found myself changing my outfit no less than five times before we met up. I like to wear oversized tops, purely for fashion reasons, but I was acutely aware that wearing something baggy may make me look bigger than I am–something I don’t usually care about. It was a chilly evening, so I had to wear a coat, too. I was determined to make sure that my outfit included something form fitting, so she would know my weight hadn’t changed that much.
My friend said I looked great. I could have gained five more kilos and she would have said I looked great. We were just so overjoyed to be together again. But this is someone I met when I was 19, a time in my life where many of my weekends pizza and a bottle of vodka were dinner. I know it’s insane to think I should still look like a teenager, and I know she doesn’t expect it of me, but I didn’t want her to see me for the first time in three years, and think “Yikes, what happened?”
I’ve recently reunited with many old friends, and I’ve found myself much more worried what the women think about me than the men. Deep down, I know I care much more what other women think of my body than anyone else, and that deep down, I want them to admire me–not just for my kindness, my perseverance, or my bravery, but because of how I look. With all my feminism and all my therapy, shouldn’t I be passed this by now?
I think being aware of this anxiety is the first thing. I know that when I feel this way, I just need to wear what I first chose, put on my shoes and leave the house. Which is exactly what I did, and I immediately forgot about my body image concerns. I’m not perfect, and my attitude towards my body won’t be, either. I just need to remember that most of the time, the worries are bigger in my head than they are in real life, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about my body–only what I think of myself.