Posted by: Marie | February 9, 2009

(13) Too gross to be seen in public

Post #13
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Sunday, April 6, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

It was interesting to talk with you, last session, about my spiritual beliefs and my experience with abortion.  I do want to reiterate that I feel comfortable with where I am in relation to those two issues right now and don’t feel a need to examine them further.  However, I also want to emphasize that I am always willing to examine those areas further if you see a need to do so.  I also recognize that there is always the chance that, as we poke around in other areas, something will come up that may trigger the need to go back to those issues.  Additionally, I recognize that I am always learning and updating my beliefs, so I am sure those beliefs will change over time, maybe even while I am engaged with you.

I did experience some triggering during the same conversation last session concerning judgment – no big surprise since I have been overly sensitive to judgment in the past.  However, I am encouraged that I was able to take you at your word – that you were asking probing questions because you were learning about me and looking for tender points, not because you were judging or trying to change my beliefs – and I was able to relax and allow the conversation to occur with minimal fear.

I am going to set aside your suggested homework assignment (do something social once a week) for now – while I can see drastic improvements every week, that assignment still feels about 10 times larger than I am ready to handle right now.  I am still challenged by sticking with my plan to floss/brush my teeth and wash my face everyday (and not have a meltdown when I see results).  I don’t feel ready to attempt socializing on a regular basis.  The good news is that my reaction to seeing a clearer face is involving more pleasure and less terror!

This week I was reminded of a tantric sex class I took several years back – the class was very little about sex and more about learning boundaries, establishing communication and honoring our femininity/masculinity.  At the end of a very intense weekend, we had a ceremony where the ladies dressed up as goddesses and the men dressed up as (hunks??) – the women helped to dress and prepare each other – gauzy, flowing skirts, our hair piled high with lots of flowing curls, glitter, rhinestones on our faces, jewelry, etc. – at the ceremony, we had permission to flirt with everyone (men and women), we sat on the floor and fed grapes and other finger foods to each other, we danced exotically – it was really a unique experience.  I can still feel how absolutely feminine I felt that night – I am starting to feel that, a little bit, as we are uncovering who I am.


I have been considering wearing my summer skirts this week, but they only look okay with sandals and it is still too cool to wear sandals.  I realized this week that I only have one black summer top that still fits me (I have gained 30 pounds (14 kg) in the last two years), and the majority of my skirts need to be worn with a black top.  Since I’m now dressing up for work five days a week, I really need more than one black top.  So, Thursday, I decided I’d swing by Wal-Mart after work to see what they had available.

Now, I really hate shopping for tops anyway, regardless of my current weight/size – any top with sufficient circumference to fit around my breasts usually has really broad shoulders (shoulder seams hang off my shoulders to about the middle of my upper arm and the armpit seams land just above my waist) and/or usually has tons of material around the tummy (most women are bigger in the tummy/hips than in the breasts) so that I look pregnant.  I usually have to try on about 20-25 tops to find one that fits and that is even a little bit my style/taste.

Last time I went shopping, I had been size 1x – I knew I had gained weight, so I pulled a handful of 2x tops off the rack and went into the fitting room.  Every single top was too tight.  To add to my “usual” frustration, today I had the additional humiliation of realizing that I now wear a 3x top.  As this realization dawned, I looked in the mirror and happened to see that all my make-up was long gone and that the store lighting really accentuated my acne.  In that moment, I felt too gross to even be seen in public – my goal of feeling feminine and attractive seemed impossibly far away.  I had a meltdown in the fitting room.

After a few minutes, I pulled myself together enough to find a couple 3x tops (not black) and some pants (easy to find) that will get me through the spring (I only have four pants and four tops that fit me, I have to wear something twice each week in between laundry days).  I decided I’d tackle the “black summer top” challenge another day.

When I got into the car to drive home, I started crying and preparing for a good cry/binge/curl-up-into-a-fetal-position session.  However, during the drive home (25 min drive), I realized that it was going to take a while – quite a while – for my outsides to catch up to my insides.  I realized it was possible to look frumpy on the outside but still start feeling feminine and attractive on the inside – my outsides would align with my insides in time, I just needed some compassion for and patience with myself.  I reminded myself that I have been making progress and that my goal to feel feminine and attractive was possible.

When I got home, I took some time to curl up and be sad – and eat some ice cream – but within about an hour, I was pretty bored with that and got up to finish my day – I even stuck to my program.  In the past, a meltdown in Wal-Mart would have triggered a 2-3 day (minimum) crash and burn where binging would supersede taking care of my body or sticking with any program.  So, you can imagine my shock when the whole episode lasted about two hours AND I went on to stick with my program for the day.  Hmmmmmm . . . definitely a first for me.

Then, on Friday, I was feeling so strong that I decided to hit the clearance rack at Kohl’s to look for black summer tops.  Before I went in, I took a few minutes to acknowledge I was heading into a situation with a known trigger point.  I decided that the shopping experience would be about clothes and not about my body.  Within about 30 minutes, I found a few black tops and was on my home – no drama.  How about that!

– Marie


  1. Marie,

    It’s great to visit your page.

    “..the class was very little about sex and more about learning boundaries, establishing communication and honoring our femininity/masculinity..”

    Wow :) I think this is so important.

    It sounds like an interesting class.

    It was fun reading how you are looking at different clothes, experimenting with styles and coming into a new sense of self. I can really relate to that.

    Best Wishes, Evanlee

    • Hi, Evanlee –

      Thank you for the positive feedback — this whole journey has been a huge shift in identity and sense of self — even a process of moving back into my body.

      I appreciate your reading my blog!

      – Marie

  2. Hi,

    I wanted to mention that sizes are changing dramatically. It used to be that a xlrage was size 18-20 or size 20. Now it can be a size 13-14.

    I know you said that you had gained weight and I know that this post is from some time ago, but I wanted to mention that the clothing industry is labeling us. And we are not theirs to lable.

    You are doing a great job of managing a bad trigger. Good for you. That is healing, that is progress.


  3. I have been enjoying your blog. I appreciate your honesty. I find your self awareness and how you handle it amazing. I am still trying to figure out my triggers and how to handle them. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Hi, L in a M –

      Wow! Thank you for taking the time to read — and to comment! It is always nice to hear from those who are reading my blog!

      Thank you for your kind words!

      I hope to see you here again!

      – Marie

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