I spent a majority of my younger life hiding myself. When I was 14 years old, I celebrated the last day of school with my group of girlfriends at Revere Beach in Massachusetts. (Which, if you’re from the area, you know is basically the eighth wonder of the world.) All the girls had on their cutest summer outfits with bathing suits underneath.
I, on the other hand, was wearing an oversized men’s Gap sweatshirt and an oversized pair of men’s pajama pants.
“Patty, it’s literally 101 degrees,” they said.
“I know. I’m fine.” I said, as I slowly died inside… and outside. Y’know, because of the heat.
I was mortified to be on the beach in that attire, but not as mortified as I would have been wearing A SHORT-SLEEVED T-SHIRT. The horror.
My body issues are deep rooted and they are dramatic as shit.
Over the years, I’ve been in and out of love with my body and myself in general. I’ve dieted, I’ve exercised, I’ve taken up yoga, I’ve given up running, I’ve tried Atkins and Weight Watchers and giving up alcohol. The last one never seemed to stick so well. Go figure.
But last year I hit a good point. I was eating healthy because I wanted to, because I was tired of feeling sluggish and I was tired of the constant backaches I was having that I attributed to an unhealthy diet and/or lifestyle. I started working out as a way to calm my anxiety, but ended up sticking with because it helped everything. #SavedByYoga
Then, on Easter, I was out with a few of my friends eating brunch and bar crawling around Hermosa Beach. My friend told me to take my jacket off, and started to do it for me, and I freaked the fuck out. He said, “Why do you wear so many jackets? Why don’t I ever see your arms?!”
And it hit me that even though I was approaching 30 years old, I still had the same negative stigma about my body that I had when I was 14. I still felt that if my arms weren’t tiny and perfect, or strong, or whatever – they weren’t allowed to be shown in public. Even though 99% of the time I was uncomfortable and nearly dying of a heat stroke. Guys, it’s hot in Los Angeles!
At that point, I started to force myself to come out of my leather jacket shell. I wore more sleeveless dresses, tank tops, t-shirts – your typical arm baring clothing. And when nobody publicly mocked me or stoned me in the street, I started to gain a little more confidence in myself. I was also actually comfortable for the first time in a long time.
This past summer, I was in my best friend’s wedding wearing a strapless dress. If it were just a year prior, I would have woken up hyperventilating. In fact, I was in a wedding ten years ago where I had to wear a sleeveless dress and I woke up puking with nerves. OVER MY ARMS.
But this time was different. In fact, it was one of the most fun days of my life and I was feeling extremely confident. And the reasons I was confident had nothing at all to do with how I looked, even though I did feel quite beautiful because of the general wedding attire and make-up situation. It’s crazy what a pair of false eyelashes can do for the ol’ self esteem! I was confident because of who I am as a person, because of the friends I’ve been lucky to keep for over half my lifetime, and because of the Adderall I had stolen from my sister’s medicine cabinet.
Hey, I’m 30… I can’t stay up as late as I used to.
I’ve been a lot more conscious of my health and yes, I’m seeing positive changes. But even if I lost 100 more pounds this year (and somehow survived because that would be ridiculous), I’m happy with the way I look right now. I’m fine with all the parts that aren’t photo worthy and the fast-approaching wrinkles on my face and the curves that fill out a pair of jeans kind of okay and also make it extremely impossible to find cute, supportive bras for under $70.
There is so much more important shit in the world to worry about than what our bodies look like. (I mean, have you been watching Leah Remini’s Scientology show? THAT SHIT IS INSANE.) Our lives are quantifiable in much better ways. Hating myself, any part of myself, is so boring. When I look back on the happiest moments of my life, I don’t think about the state my body was in – I think about who I was surrounded by, what I was doing, what I was accomplishing, the risks I was taking and the moves I was making.
So, now that I’m well into my thirties (I’m only 30), I’m making the decision to let go of the dumb body shit. I’m going to live my damn life instead. I’m going to eat cheeseburgers every now and then and do my yoga and free my arms from the tyranny of sleeves!
Just like Leah Remini and Mike Rinder freed themselves from the tyranny of Scientology! (SERIOUSLY YOU MUST WATCH THIS SHOW.)