I was on an airplane sitting next to a fabulous woman two days ago. We talked about everything, as one does on airplanes.
At one point I was telling her all about my “make gorgeous clothes for larger women” fantasy. I tried to describe my core concepts, using existing designers as baselines – for example, “the clothes will be similar to Eileen Fisher’s flowy linen stuff except the shoulders and sleeves will be cut in a flattering, tailored way.” It was kind of exhausting and reminded me that I need a better elevator pitch.
In any event, I got deep into describing a linen skirt I wanted to make that will have an elastic band inside the hem (just there so it will stretch when you walk, but it wouldn’t touch or pinch your legs if you’re just standing around). It will look a little like a marshmallow from the drawstring waist to the gathered hem just below the knee. At which point I said “because it has to go slightly below the knee – I can’t stand my knees anymore.”
And that’s how stupid body shame found its way into a pleasant woman-to-woman confessional chat on an airplane. I didn’t try to correct or retract what I had said, but my mind immediately registered it. I had slipped backward. I was perpetuating dumb ideas about what a woman can and can’t be proud of with regard to her body.
The next day I was sitting in my house just watching PBS newshour when I noticed I just couldn’t get comfortable. My knees were aching and the ache didn’t stop when I switched my crossed legs or propped my feet up on an ottoman. It was annoying. Not terribly painful, but irritating.
My first thought was: dammit, I need to exercise more. I’m so out of shape and lazy that my knees hurt when I’m just sitting around doing nothing.
Second thought: my knees are mad at me! “Talk shit about us, bitch, and we will get you!”
Today my knees feel just fine. And I will take them out for a walk because they probably do deserve a little love and attention. And maybe I’ll even show them off with pair of shorts. Take that, lizard brain that keeps saying hateful things about my body and refuses to die.