Body Image

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I went to buy a swimsuit today. It was a painful ordeal. It forced me to pay attention to the ugly bits of my body. It enforced how fat I look because nothing looked nice. It doesn’t help that it’s end of summer, in this small town, nobody sells swimsuit anymore. One of the surf shops sold bikinis and bikinis only. Yeah right, like I was gonna wear bikini. It’s bad enough when I have to wear swimsuit, let alone bikini. Myer had ridiculously small collection but they’re mainly bikinis as well. David Jones had some one piece suits but the choice was very limited, especially for my body size and type. I tried at least 10 different swimsuits, all of them I looked fat in, but that’s a given. When you’re fat, you’re fat. No swimsuit can hide that. My goal was to find something that covers as much as possible. Some showed way too much boobs, some made my boobs looked saggy (they are saggy but there’s no need to show that off), some had no built in bra and nipples are everywhere. You can tell by now boobs are where the problem lies. Anyway, so finally I tried one that claimed to be ‘instantly slimming’. I thought it was one size too big but heck, it fit perfectly (it’s always depressing when you find you’re one size bigger!). Boobs are not falling out, fat lumps on the stomach are quite hidden although it’s of course still bulging, my back isn’t overly exposed, and it’s black. And oh, I CAN breath. I didn’t look good, I still looked fat, but at least I don’t look like a plus size porn star.

So I felt rather lucky to have found one in the limited choice I had, until I saw the price tag. It was equal to what I would spend to feed the family for one week. Damn it. It wasn’t on sale like the other swimsuits. Why? Why?!!! Must be the whole instantly slimming deal. Hmmph. Although it made me a little bit relieved, at least that means a lot of people have the same issue thus this item must be in demand therefore the no discount thing.

After asking the cashier to check the price I took it back to the rack. I stood there for few minutes trying to look for alternatives. Tried on a few more, but I looked disgusting in all of them. I didn’t want to be in agony for any longer so I decided to buy it.

It made me think about body image. I needed that swimsuit because my old one ripped. Swimming is my attempt to fix this body image issue. It’s the only exercise that works effectively for my situation. It’s fine I could afford the price tag but what if I couldn’t? Does that mean I can’t swim anymore? I would feel like I’m stuck in this ugly body, I would feel helpless and unhappy.

Then I walked pass the chocolates section of the shop. 50% off Easter confectioneries. Had I not been able to afford that swimsuit, I would feel so depressed because I can’t swim anymore, and I would buy some chocolates to make me feel better, because that I can afford, then I’ll get fatter, and I’ll get more depressed. Then I’ll hide from the world because I feel so ugly. I will have no confidence, I cut off ties with friends, eat more chocolates, and get even fatter. And one day I would die alone and fat and ugly. How depressing is that?

Anyway, my point was, it’s awful how society judges people based on how they look. I have a friend who likes to whisper and made fun of overweight people who dresses badly. She doesn’t whisper to me because she probably knows I hate it, but she does it with her other friends. I think it’s so cruel. Fashion sense is a gift. Not everyone has that gift. Some people tries to be fashionable but it’s not their talent so they fail. Is it necessary to poke fun at them? Make them feel like an outcast?

I was one of those who’s fashioned challenged. I don’t know what looks good or what looks bad. My aim when I choose my clothes is not so I look pretty or so I stand out. My aim is to not attract the attention of the fashion nazis, to look as ordinary and as plain as possible, to be invisible. When I put an effort to look fashionable, I end up looking like a clown and I’m sure I’ll be the target of whisper and stares of those fashion nazis.

So if you happen to stumble across this post, I hope the next time you see a badly dressed person, you have mercy on them. Don’t point or stare, don’t whisper and don’t tell your friend. It’s usually enough torture for them having to get out of their pajamas and choose something to wear. There’s no need to add to their misery.

And if you have a friend who dresses badly, offer to help. Play dress up, choose clothes for them. Teach them what looks good and what looks bad. They’ll be forever thankful.

And oh, the next time you see an overweight person with a badly fitted swimsuit, again don’t point and stare. Maybe her old swimsuit ripped, it was end of season, nobody sells swimsuit anymore and she can’t afford the ‘instantly slimming’ one that costs one week’s worth of grocery. She had to buy the next best thing, a cheap badly fitted one, just so she can go swimming and lose weight and hopefully look better.

Please, just don’t judge people by what they wear. Nobody purposely dresses badly. They don’t go out of their way trying to be a sore in your eyes. They just aren’t gifted with a good fashion sense.