I buy most of my clothes in thrift stores or at Target. This is partly because of real financial constraints, partly because I am cheap, partly because I got into the habit of thrift shopping when we lived in Tucson and there were some really good thrift stores (not so much here), and partly because clothes shopping feels like torture and it’s just easier to buy yet another black T-shirt.
My friend has decided that I need some new clothes (she’s tired of being seen with me in my pathetic wardrobe), so tomorrow she is taking me shopping. I am going to spend $100. On clothes. For myself. Which she will pick out. She’s convinced that I am not just “beautiful on the inside,” and that my negative body image is just because I haven’t been trying on the right clothes, a la What Not to Wear.
I am skeptical.
Clothes shopping used to be fun–when I was 19, and thin, and I liked the clothes in the stores, and before this whole skinny-jeans-pencil-skirts-stretchy-tops fashion horrorshow happened. I’m not even really that fat–I’ve never once had a doctor tell me that my infertility was related to my weight (which I understand happens all too often), and I’m pretty consistently a size 12. Nothing to be proud of (I was a 6 once… *stares wistfully into the past*), but not unhealthy either. The problem is that my body is like a sick parody of fertility. I have all those characteristics that the evolutionary psychology nutjobs say are fertility markers: great big breasts, relatively narrow waist, wide pelvis and hips.
No one needs to see that.
Which is the real issue, of course, and why I hate shopping so much. I am so deeply ashamed of my body–not just the 40 pounds I have put on over the past 15 years, not just the giant ugly scar across my abdomen from this summer, not just the weirdly flabby upper arms, not just my real and ongoing hatred of The Skinny Jean in all its manifestations, but also the freakshow going on inside me.
Infertility just gets its poison paws on everything.
I am grateful to have such a caring friend, and I think she really does believe that I am beautiful (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding), so I am going to be a good sport tomorrow. I will try on whatever she picks, and I will get out my credit card and try not to think too hard about where else that money could be going (Amnesty International, kiva.org, student loans, Christmas presents for my nieces, a new audio interface for my husband…), but I am afraid that I will just end up sobbing in a mall dressing room.
I’m crying now, just thinking about it. Why is this so hard?