My exceptionally lovely and talented friend Cacie (who is also a regular reader and a fledgling size-acceptance enthusiast) recently went shopping for pants. She writes in her livejournal:
I did, however, buy two pairs of jeans because a) they actually fit, which is more than I can say of all the rest of my jeans that I must have bought during a very long hunger strike, 2) they had the color/fit/stretch that I wanted, and lastly) they were buy one get one 1/2 off. There is nothing like putting on some weight and waiting months before trying on a pair of well-fitting jeans and going “Oh my god. This is what pants should feel like.” Granted, I’m not exactly thrilled about my extra 10 – 15 pounds that I can’t seem to shake, but MAN. To hell with tiny pants.
To hell with tiny pants! Goddamn, Shapelings, I want that to be our rallying cry. To hell with squeezing and binding and discomfort, on our asses or our attitudes. To hell with not having any room to breathe.
Cacie is a very small person and in fact her pants are objectively tiny, but of course that’s not the point. It’s not about whether your pants are big or tiny compared to other people’s pants, but whether you’re going to continue squeezing yourself into pants — or beliefs, or ideals, or expectations — that don’t fit YOU. Eventually we all have the option to try on something that fits, whether it’s a size 12 or a size 20 or the anti-dieting habit or the idea that you’re allowed to stop hating your body, and breathe that sigh of relief that only comes with the relaxing of uncomfortable pressure.
Only a few months after discovering size acceptance, Cacie is not only making great inroads into non-dieting, but giving us slogans that I want emblazoned on a fucking T-shirt. Not all my friends are so astute — some of them have really been embracing the tiny pants lately. One friend was just diagnosed with “several large gallstones,” almost certainly brought on by her weight loss on South Beach. (That’s right, folks, weight-loss dieting can give you gallstones. Never told you that in health class, did they?) Her reaction? Well, since she can’t eat anything she likes due to the pain, she’s dropping a lot more weight, so at least there’s an up side!
Another friend is trying on the crazy pants most of us know so well: She says she’s tired and down on herself and not feeling like her body is functioning properly (fighting off infections, healing well, and so on), so she’s joining a gym and vowing to lose two pounds a week. Apparently the health benefits of exercise can only be realized when you dig up skinny photos of yourself and tape them to your mirror for motivation! (And just as an aside, shouldn’t this make it painfully obvious that the “health” thing is a weak excuse? I mean, she’s not taping up pictures of her lymphatic system.) When I countered that perhaps she should focus on feeling healthy, feeling better about herself, and feeling like her immune system is functioning properly, in which case she would be basically guaranteed to succeed, she said she had read that two pounds a week is what you should aim for if you want sustained weight loss. Yeah, and I read that virginity is what you should aim for if you want to catch a unicorn, but that doesn’t make unicorns exist.
I don’t say this to mock my friend, because we all know what this is like. I just want to use it as an example of squeezing yourself into tiny pants, literal and figurative. This friend is actually collecting all her literal tiny pants to remind herself of the size she used to be, and if she’s anything like I was when I was dieting, she’ll be trying them on every week just to check. But she’s also forcing herself into tiny ideas, like the idea that health boils down to size, or that weight loss is a viable goal while simply feeling good is not. She’s a smart girl, and her brain is too big to fit into that outlook without some uncomfortable compression.
Fat or thin, we’re all too big for such small ideas. To hell with tiny pants.