I realized the other day while I was drafting a pair of super-fashionable convertible pocket culottes (pictures of the finished garment soon to come) that I am finally comfortable with my body. It got me wondering when and how this happened, and how I had missed it. You see, in my entire life, I think the only time I’ve ever been truly comfortable and trusting of my body was during the homebirth of my son. I didn’t have a choice then but to trust in it, so I did. But soon afterwards, I felt myself slipping back into the self-judgement and doubt that has been an underlying current since my youth.
So I’ve taken some time to look back at the past year, searching for the catalyst, and I think I have identified the two biggest contributors…
The first is really not so surprising when I think about it. Last year, along with two very dear friends, I was finally able to get myself to Burning Man. The costumer in me reveled at the chance to go, and of course I packed a million different multi-layered outfits, with all the bells and whistles and lights you can imagine. We joined up with a camp of incredible people and taught DIY classes all week. But then came the dust and the heat, and my god, SR you were right— there was no way I was going to layer all that on. And so I was forced to pare things down and self-select only the pieces that were “necessary”. It wasn’t easy for me to do, because I was not comfortable in my body, but as I did it, I realized that no one cared except me. No one was looking, or judging, or even thinking about it. And so for that week, I let my physical self-judgement go just a little bit. I realize now that as a direct result of this experience, I am less concerned about the judgement of my physical being by others. That feels really, really good.
The second is a lot more surprising…Pattern making and drafting class. On my first day of class I was measured and the resulting numbers were documented—my physical measurements. I cringed because my numbers don’t look like those “perfect numbers” on the commercial patterns or the numbers you read in magazines. I’m long waisted, I have hips, and I am tall, I have curves—a lot of them. I struggled with the numbers on an emotional level and at first felt panic, wondering how quickly I could change them.
In class for the last three months, I have been forced to face these numbers each and every day. As the weeks passed, I fit myself into garments made and tailored to my curves, my height, and my body, and began to accept my body on a level I had never before. My creations are comfortable, with no discomfort or ill-fit, and I look forward to wearing them. This is a new experience for me, having always forced myself into garments made for standard sized bodies.
And so, by taking a pause from my life as a graphic designer to focus on expanding my skills as a fashion and textiles designer, I learned a little bit more than I was anticipating. I wonder now how I can bring this forward, because fitting in your own skin (and your own clothing) is a good feeling.