As much as I hate sports analogies there’s one that is consistently true: life is full of curve balls. Last month I was wandering around Target contemplating dying the blonde parts of my hair pink when HR from work called me. I was being terminated effective immediately, thank you for your near-decade of service. I stood in the paper plate and Dixie cup aisle, my baby napping in his car seat, feeling all the air suddenly sucked from my body. I struggled to keep my voice from trembling as I calmly asked some clarifying questions. Somehow, I ended up on the opposite end of the store. I put away every non-essential item in my cart, called both my fiancé and my dad, then called HR back to schedule a time to get my things, then somehow drove home in a weirdly focused daze. There was sharp panic about how I was going to make things work. The fears of suddenly being homeless or worse crossed my mind. I felt like I couldn’t get enough air.
I also felt incredibly relieved.
In the near-month since that day I’ve come to realize that losing my job might just be the best thing to happen to me in a while, professionally. It’s giving me a chance to explore other areas of my life. I’m looking at a full career change. I’m also able to stay home with my son as he starts rolling through some major milestones. There is nothing better than watching your child suddenly become able to interact with the world in a meaningful way. It’s also an opportunity for me to get my life in order, too get back to the things that matter to me that I haven’t been able to attend to while trying to juggle new motherhood and my strange (but beneficial) schedule at work.
The first thing that I’m getting in order? Self-acceptance. Here’s the hard, blunt truth: I’m a plus-sized woman. My body is not perfect. I have extra weight, I have a significant belly, and I’m not always happy with how I look. Also true? I’ve finally accepted my body for what it is. This is where I am right now. This body carried my baby and this body serves me well every day. It’s exactly where it’s supposed to be today.
This is a big deal for me. I’ve been very thin and chic and then, near the end of my freshman year of college, I gained a lot of weight that I have never been able to shed. I was diagnosed, years later, with PCOS. But even with a medical reason for what was going on I still couldn’t accept my body. I fought against it. I’ve tried all kinds of diets and plans, but nothing lasted. Every single day felt like a war with myself. All of that changed, however, the week before I lost my job.
I kind of love LuLaRoe. It’s a MLM apparel company and I follow way too many consultants on Facebook. I can’t help it: those leggings got me through my C-section and those sleepless moments early in J.’s life. But they also have dresses and on a whim, I bought a beautiful, body conscious “Julia” style dress one size smaller than I usually wear just because I love the print. I put it on and expected to be so uncomfortable that I’d hide the dress away in my still-too-full closet. Instead? I threw on a denim jacket and wore the dress to a Radiohead concert. I’m fat, but I looked amazing.
That night is when it clicked for me. I’m plus sized right now and I feel just damn fine about it. This perspective change has also made me really look at my life. Where I’m at with everything right now is okay. It’s just fine. It doesn’t have to last forever, but I also don’t have to fight every second of every day. So I let my house just be my house for a while. I ate what I wanted for a while. And then I woke up on one day and decided to do things differently with the only rule being “does this feel good?” No stressing about the details, no comparing myself. Just letting myself make choices that fit for me. Today that meant a green smoothie for breakfast and starting to redecorate my bathroom. Tomorrow that might mean checklists and having a cookie.
It doesn’t really matter what the plan looks like. It just matters that I’m taking care of myself, listening to my body and my world, and taking this time between jobs as a chance to really get to know who I am now, where I’m going, and what I want.
And, of course, it makes mommin’ it so much easier.