And so for years, I internalized all of this messaging. I wore all black. I always stood in the back for group photographs. I made sure not to laugh too loud. I was petrified to raise my hand in class. I avoided conversations about clothing like the plague, terrified that someone would, for whatever reason, discover what size I was. And, despite the fact that I grew up in a place with frigid temperatures and lake effect snow, and even when the temperature was freezing or below, I wore the thinnest or smallest coat I could find. I couldn’t stand the idea of enhancing the size of my body, even if it was for a functional purpose.
I wonder how ridiculous I looked going to class during a midwestern February in nothing but a hoodie, trudging home from work during a snowstorm in a leather jacket,or standing outside of a bar in 20 degree weather in nothing but a blazer. I was freezing, yes. I was miserable, certainly. I caught approximately five colds per season, no doubt. But for me, the only thing that mattered was that I didn’t look bigger. The idea that I’d actively choose something that made me take up more space than I already did was unfathomable.