"Ugh, this one isn't right." I turn my back to the mirror to look again at the jeans hanging on the hangers, leafing through them like pages in a magazine. Another outfit. "Hmm, whatever." I need to move on with my day, even though this one isn't right either. Too tight in some places, too loose in others. "Whatever, I'll push it out of my mind."
Going about my day, I keep glancing in the mirror. Like an extra person in my home, staring at me all day, judging. This pair of pants is a little snug, but that's okay because it reminds me that I need to watch my weight, follow my diet. I know what I should eat: a rainbow of seasonal veggies, gluten free, low sugar. It reminds me that I need to go for a run later. I gotta keep moving so I get to my steps goal. I'm not really hungry in the morning so I skip breakfast and opt for a couple cups of coffee, logging everything I eat in my app. I'm planning a dinner of taco salad so I pull some ground beef out of the freezer so it can thaw.
Halfway through the day the waistband of my jeans starts to fold over and bunch up. I really don't like the way my shirt falls over that part of my clothes. I slip on a sweatshirt that's a little longer and feel a little safer, more covered. "It's okay, once I lose another five or so pounds these clothes will feel just fine," I think. This has been my chorus for twenty years.
"Hmm, I've been wanting to try this dress." I make the pick of the day, this year my closet only consisting of dresses and skirts and shirts to wear with said dresses and skirts. I try it on and, though much different than my usual jeans and sweatshirt, it's nice. It makes me feel safe. The geometric green and black and yellow complements my height and the sweater I match with it keeps me nice and warm.
I keep glancing in the mirror. "Hmm, it's not too bad. I like the flow of this skirt, the softness of the material." The mirror-judge is quieter than it used to be. I do worry about not having the jean waistband that I'm used to, so I skip breakfast and sip on coffee, planning a decent-sized dinner later tonight. I'll go for a walk later today and get my steps. If I'm honest, the "gaining weight" worry is the biggest so far in this challenge. (At this point it's only March.) Not that I really weigh myself often like I used to, I'm better that way. That disordered eating stuff was high school drama, I'm beyond that now. This is just #adulting, staying healthy right?
The mirror holds this power in my mind, but through wearing dresses, it helps me like what looks back at me in a new way--not because I am the "right" anything. But because I am me and that's worthy enough.
There's still a lot to unpack, but it's these little steps that made the biggest difference in my year of dresses. A million little changes have collected to become a turning point.
What looks back at you? Do you like it? Do you not? If so, what little thing can you change to give a more accurate view of who you really are?
For me, it was my wardrobe, mirrored in the gift of Clothed in Dignity.