Hiding In The Plus Size Section

I hate shopping in the plus size section.

The only thing I hate more than shopping in the plus size section? Admitting that I hate shopping in the plus size section.

I feel like a bad feminist when I admit that I feel less than comfortable there. I don’t want to be fat. And I know that fat is not synonymous with bad—but I’ve grown up believing that, and it is a difficult mindset to shake.

As I peruse the dresses tucked away into the back corner of Forever 21, I can almost feel the stares of the gaggle of prepubescent girls that followed me into the store burning into the back of my neck. I glance over at them a time or two out of the corner of my eye, and I’m filled with envy. Their tiny waists and thin legs are conducive to the style that is relevant today. They can wear anything, and they don’t have to think twice about it. They don’t dare venture over to my corner of the store, for fear the fatness could be contagious.

The feminist inside me is screaming as I try to shrink in shame behind the racks of clothes. “YOUR WEIGHT DOESN’T DEFINE YOU!” she yells in disgust. She is the one who vehemently supports body positivity.

She is the one who doesn’t think that the size she’s wearing matters.

She is the one who can look boldly at this body she inhabits, rolls, and cellulite, and protruding tummy and all and see nothing but a beautiful woman looking back at her.

The rest of me, though, is weak. I cannot see myself with as much grace and love as that feminist inside me does. I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and I hang my head. I try to suck in my gut as people walk by, and sometimes even when I’m alone. Most recently, I’ve taken to crying in dressing rooms, surrounded by my 1X & 2X clothes in a pile at my feet.

I struggle every time I walk into a store (especially if it’s in a store designed with complete disregard to those that wear anything above a 10 ), and I don’t know if that will ever go away, even if I were to drop down to a 00. This shopping induced loathing has been systematically worked into my schema, and I honestly believe it will always be there, but I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more gentle with myself. I’m trying to align the hypercritical personal fat shaming persona inside of my mind with the body positive feminist that resides there too. I’m trying to treat myself like a person, with thoughts and feelings, and some days it works.

Because of this, I think that I will eventually get to a place where I don’t look in the mirror in the cringe. That’s something to shoot for.

Alex Nowling : rock climber by night, marketing student by day – always planning her next adventure while sipping coffee & watching The Office.