Leaning into discomfort

Just a piece of fabric

I am thirty-six years old and am not model thin, so I don’t have any business wearing a crop top. But thanks to a growing body positivity community the societal requirements for wearing the crop top have all but faded away. I don’t have to be in my twenties. Thank god because that ship has sailed. And if I am size 2 that’s okay but I can also be a size 22. Instagram has been plastered this summer with images of women of all shapes and sizes wearing crop tops. This inspired me to buy one in June. I repeat I bought one. For me that was a big step. I even took the tags off. Yep Randi you can’t return it now. So why are they so damn scary? Teenagers wear them for God’s sakes and they don’t even drive yet. My fear was not the pattern or lack of material but the fear of being exposed. In the early 2000s I was in college and Ugg boots and jean skirts were the popular fashion. We weren’t making the best fashion choices then. I never wore sk

irts but one day I bought one and decided to wear it to class. I would have to walk right through the student square. I psyched myself up and did it, but I was so ashamed. Every laugh I heard I felt was directed at me, mocking me. I ran immediately home to change, missing class. And now this tiny strip of fabric sat glaring at me. It too was going to make everyone laugh at me. I would have to run home in shame yet again. But you know what the problem was with the jean skirt? I tried to be vulnerable, but I did not lean all the way into that vulnerability. I did not sit in the discomfort. The jean skirt was a representation of my life. I had been running away and losing out on important experiences in my life. I had not felt love. I had

7583605152_IMG_0025.jpgnot trusted another person. And I had not felt like I belonged.

During my therapy I watch a TED Talk by Brene Brown four times on vulnerability. Each time I was reminded that I had been hiding out. I was living in a world where I was not good enough and I liked it because I did not have to push myself. If I really wanted to be courageous I was going to have to learn that enough was good enough and I was enough. I would have to live with my imperfections and, shock and horror, let others see them. How does a crop top fit into all of this Randi? As a woman I am bombarded by the fashion and beauty industry every moment of my life. An eating disorder only compounds that. Clothes had represented so many hours, days, and years of my lack of fundamental acceptance of self.

After my eating disorder treatment, I have a new lease on life and I want them to show my vulnerability. I now want clothes to represent the fact that I am a little uncomfortable, but I am brave enough to try out love and trust. Enjoy the pictures from the day I took my crop top out for a spin for the first time.