By Katie Ashley, BaliniSports Guest Blogger http://www.katieashleywholehealth.com/
Three years ago I accidentally gave away nearly my entire wardrobe. At the time I was pregnant and moving into a new house. I had boxed up all of the clothes that didn’t fit at the time in boxes destined for storage, a clothing swap and the thrift store. My man moved the boxes into storage, a dear friend came and picked up the swap clothes, and I dropped everything else off in the bins behind the local charity store.
A few months after my son was born I was ready to wear some of my old wardrobe. I was really excited to feel like me again. I had pieced together my wardrobe over the years by scouting out vintage shops, designer clearance racks, merch tables at live music events and yoga and Pilates studios that I had taught at over the years. My style was unique and intentional. Maternity clothes just didn’t feel like “me” at all. When the boxes came down out of the attic I was thrilled to see some of my super fancy dresses. Of course, as a new mama I had no plans to wear them any time soon, but they were nice to look at. As I opened the second box, which was full of old worn out yoga practice clothes it became clear that the vast majority of my everyday wardrobe was missing. No nice yoga teaching clothes, no jeans, no cute tops, no perfect casual dresses or fun skirts. It was all gone, forever. Tracking items down nearly a year later would have been impossible. Plus, I wasn’t about to walk into a charity thrift store as ask if I could have my clothes back. So it was a lesson in non-attachment. I let go of the anger and sadness and sent out a little prayer that whoever found my clothes would love them. The bigger lesson came later, and more recently.
My son is two and half now and I am just in the process of rebuilding a wardrobe that feels like mine. I kept putting it off because my body kept changing. I used to be a bit mystified when people said that they were waiting to buy new clothes until they lost weight or toned up or felt like they deserved it. Now I get it. Right after my son was born the pregnancy weight was melting off quickly due to nursing. I ended up more thin than I like to be. After a few months my body stabilized and I was a normal for me size for the most part. My boobs, however, were huge. I nursed for two years and after weaning they became smaller than ever. Throughout this time I refused to invest in new clothes. It didn’t make sense to me to buy clothes that I knew wouldn’t fit for very long. I felt good about my body. I was totally in awe of all of the changes that it had been through. The female body truly is phenomenal. I feel really blessed to be a woman. When I was naked I felt womanly and comfortable. When I put clothes on I felt boring, frumpy and lacking in some way. Not only did I feel awful, I kept talking about how awful I felt about my lack of clothes that felt like me. A few friends gave me hand me downs and my mom gave me department store gift cards. I tried to buy basic pieces that could go with anything. Of course that didn’t really increase my excitement about my clothes at all because basic pieces aren’t my thing.
Finally my man asked me why I was waiting to feel good about the clothes I was wearing. Being asked that question felt like a huge icy bucket of water was being thrown in my face. It is the same question I ask my body image coaching clients. Why are you waiting to love your body? I didn’t have an answer for him. Not a good one anyway. I said it was because of finances. That wasn’t really true because I could consign or donate anything that would no longer fit in a few months or the next season. The money would cycle back. I said it was because clothes really aren’t that important. That wasn’t really truly because clearly looking like myself was important enough to me for me to keep complaining about it with such frequency that he was tired of hearing it.
It became clear that I needed to relearn the lesson that I am always teaching. I needed to stop getting in my own way and start taking inspired actions to help myself feel the way I want to feel right now. It didn’t matter what size top I wore or how long I was going to be in that size. What mattered was that I felt comfortable in my clothing and in myself. There is not a limited about of joy in the world. Postponing feeling good makes no sense. If we know how to make ourselves feel better in a simple healthful way and we aren’t doing it then we are shortchanging ourselves and missing the point. If we desire more peace and more presence then we must be here now. We must stop waiting until conditions are perfect. As Bhagavan Das says “It’s here now, are you?”