Thursday, July 20, 2006

drop waist dress

I made this commitment to short assignments a few days ago, and you can see how well its gone so far. It takes longer to write good short pieces -- long rambling ones are easier and quicker.

And I got caught up in this idea that if I am going to publish writing for people to read on this blog, then it should be thought out and revised.

So now I'm reminding myself of my goals to write everyday and get over being a perfectionist.

So the thought that has been hanging out in my mind over the last few days is a little story about why I decided never to wear drop waist dresses ever again, which is actually a bigger story about being a -- curvy, plus-size, large, fat, zaftig -- woman and refusing to dress like one.

Drop waist dresses came back into my mind in part because my grandfather, who I called PopPop, didn't like to see me in clothes that were baggy. It was PopPop’s birthday on July 10 (he died seven years ago), and I've been thinking about him a lot lately.

For a woman with my hourglass curves, a drop waist dress draws attention to the largest part of me and just hangs on down from there. I think it was something about the way PopPop saw me, and what he liked to see me in, that moved me towards the decision to boycott the drop waist.

For me, drop waist dresses are about hiding and being ashamed of my size. I'm not saying I'm completely comfortable with my 230 pound body, and I do have moments of deep insecurity, but at the same time, I'm so much more accepting of myself than I was a hundred pounds ago. I think because I've had to face and deal with my size that I'm actually a lot healthier then a lot of women about how I feel about my body.

There is such a huge fear of fat in our culture, and in some ways, I've overcome it. I'm fat. I lived. I am still me, I am still loved. My fear of being fat when I was younger was huge, took up an obscene amount of time and energy, and um, I wasn't fat.

So this was supposed to be a short assignment about the topic of drop waist dresses. Short story: they don't look good on me. I don't want to hide, and besides, wearing something baggy doesn't hide anything, it just makes you look bigger. I began to dress sexy and in bright colors and in fitted clothing because I was saying, look, here I am. I may be a fat girl, but I can still rule the world.

I have fun with clothes. I don’t jiggle or show too much skin. But I dress like I am comfortable in my body. I dress like I like myself. What may have started out as a form of rebellion against our culture’s expectations about fat people is now a part of who I am, what I’m known for, and a form of self-expression I really enjoy.

I am a part of a very balanced and healthy program at the Duke Center for Living that is helping me let go of weight. I’m healthy, but I’m concerned for my future, and I want to be able to live a more active lifestyle (here I want to say that I completed a sprint distance triathlon at my current weight). But I know absolutely that I have to approach my health from a place of self-care and kindness, NOT of shame and self-hate.

So, in conclusion, drop waist dresses look very nice on other people. But not on me.


YellArose said...

Interesting, Dawn. I never gave a thought to how much you weigh. I only think of you as colorful, creative, bright, and beautiful. Plus you have a lot of wisdom, an envigorating laugh, a humble heart, and a good ear for others... whatever you're wearing. I only notice when you wear bright pink and orange. The rest of the time I just see ... your smile. Pink, I think.

Lauren said...

This is such a well-written, honest piece. Thank you for writing this. :)