Behind The Curtain

I always bring a 13 year old mean girl with me shopping. She steps into the dressing room with me, flashlight in hand, insult loaded in the gun. She is quick to make a list of all the reasons why I can’t be seen in the white pants, why this dress or that one wasn’t made for a person like me. If I only had worked a little harder, maybe I’d be able to pull it off, but if I walk out of the dressing room looking like I do, every one will laugh at me.
She saves me a lot of money; her disdain and disapproval echoing in the sound of her gum popping as she shakes her head, seated impatiently in the corner of my mind.
She groans as I hustle myself out of the shop empty-handed again.
Sometimes she will be silenced by my feminist spirit animal. The one that teaches me to be kind to myself while never discouraging the drive to be better.
The two characters serve me, both providing necessary truth-telling. When I’ve been too kind to myself and the rewards for my hard work start slipping into bad habits, sometimes the only person I will listen to is the sneering preteen saying “ugh, are you really going to eat that?” And oppositely, when I can no longer take the barrage of self criticism, I’m allowed a little relief by saying, “ok, today you can’t wear those pants, but look at how far you’ve come.”
It would be unrealistic for me to imagine a day when the girl with the smirk will no longer have a voice. It is what I choose to do with her words that really matters. It is the action one takes when faced with unpleasantness, self imposed or not, that defines one. Do I cry into a glass of chardonnay and a jar of peanut butter, or do I take the feelings of anger and dissatisfaction and push harder and farther and grip tighter to my resolve? Do I let her keep her job as physique critic, or do I show the little bitch whose boss and make sure she doesn’t have a thing to say the next time we’re alone together behind a curtain under the fluorescent lights.

kid me


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