THE SKINNY LITTLE BITCH PROJECT: When the Clothes Don’t Make the Woman
The Skinny Little Bitch Project is a biweekly feature dedicated to examining the role of weight in celebrity culture and the impact of size in one woman’s daily life. The entries may be triggering should you suffer from an ED or body image issues. For more info on the project, or to read it from the beginning, please go here. This is not a health plan we are endorsing, we do not promote dieting and hope this project will increase awareness. Please read at your own risk.
It’s weird when you lose weight and all people want to talk about is your clothes.
In a way, I set myself up for this. I’m a notorious clothes horse, and when I’m feeling confident I like to rock things that most ladies my size have been trained to back away from – the body conscious dress being one of these. For the past eight months or so I hadn’t been feeling my grooviest, or most confident, so I’d been hiding my body beneath a plethora of shirts that are best described as Ina Garten Chic. Now, experimenting with the idea that changing how I present myself to world could change how the world responds to me, I’m back to taking some fashion risks.
I should clarify – it’s not that I’m dressing badly, it’ s just I’ve started wearing clothing that is tight enough that before I leave my apartment I have to turn to someone and could, “Okay – prostitute check – would you mistakenly offer me money for sex?”
I experimented with fashion to a hilarious degree when I was in college, before a stylish friend and a steady diet of Vogue temporarily bred the weirdo out of me. I used to wear a bright red polyester pants suit of my maternal grandmother’s. It had giant navy polka dots on it and navy colored cats to accompany them. I once bought traditional Indian menswear which I donned around campus, asking a male friend in a moment of weakness if I looked fat. “It’s not that you look fat,” he said, “So much as it looks like you’re TRYING NOT to look fat.” Then I murdered him. While I’m not bull-headed in the way I dress myself now, I occasionally look back on my past fashion failures (HELLLOOOOO SKIN TIGHT LACE BELL BOTTOMS PAIRED WITH T-SHIRTS!) what impresses me about Becca of yore is her attitude. I might not have been doing it consciously, but I was definitely operating under the notion that since I was an affable outsider, prone to attracting stares anyway, why not give them something to stare at? It’s one part wild bravery and confidence and one part quiet self-loathing. It’s the same potent cocktail that had me dress up as a dog for Halloween in middle school. If you’re sitting there eating the dog bones, anyone who calls you a dog is just stating an obvious fact.
This is my inner vain bitch’s anthem. Only with less Grey’s Anatomy references. Mostly.
Still, now as an adult, it’s often too easy for me to look back on my past behaviors with sadness and judgement. Instead of doing that, I should applaud the side of my personality that was advising them, through sartorial design, to go politely get fucked. That girl needs to exist a little bit more in my daily life, and little by little, body conscious dress with bra-exposing mesh by body conscious dress with bra-exposing mesh at a time – I feel her coming to the surface. Is this the bitch I worried a thinner version of myself would become? Is this just a product of growing up to a place where I not only love myself but finally seem to enjoy the pleasure of my own Take No Prisoners personality?
Whoever she is, this inner voice had a tough time when she was greeted with “nice dress!” instead of “you look nice!” She wanted to snarl, “The dress looks like a dress, man – I look awesome.” I think this could be the ecstatic cockiness that comes from changing your physical appearance – people think you don’t want it pointed out, and you’ll tell them you don’t want it pointed out, but then when no one does you want to slap them! The dress doesn’t look good, guys – my boobs look good in it. My makeup doesn’t look pretty – I look pretty. You hear yourself thinking stuff like this and you’re embarrassed and ashamed – or at least you are if you’re me. You look for excuses – people know you’re doing a project, and besides that you’ve got every all confused with your loudly admonishing them about body acceptance and then suddenly going on a diet, the guys who complimented you in said dress all view you as a sister and it is probably weird to see your sister’s boobs. But the truth remains, there exists in you this little bitch who has started to view herself as desirable and does not want to be treated like someone’s sister. This is a different sort of bitch than the one you thought might initially rear her head – the bitch of carb cravings. So far that bitch is weirdly nowhere to be seen.
Instead it’s the preening bitch of vanity, the mutated product of years of self-loathing, this creature has finally realized she has value and is furious at everyone – most of all herself – for taking so long to realize it. This is the bitch that insists on heels and late nights, this is the bitch with the red lipstick clamoring for notice. It’s tempting to give in to her, that fierce little monster (and not of the fun Lady Gaga variety.) But instead of that, I fall back on my critical eye and try to turn that focus back to the things that actually matter – how I relate to others, how others relate to me, the strength of my relationships. While how I look will absolutely factor into certain aspects of certain relationships, I can’t bring the bitch of vanity with me into my current relationships because in doing so I’m making a massive group of people pay for a crime they didn’t commit. This little bitch who demands to be seen, is a lot like the dual cocktail of middle school emotions I mentioned earlier. Rather than be ashamed of her, I need to applaud her for her bravery, and then quietly discard her as the captain of my operating system because her bad-ass shrill modus operandi is in direct contradiction with my new, open-hearted life.
In contrast to the vain bitch, the reasonable one – who I mostly am – came front and center when I went….jean shopping this week. A pair of dark washed denims caught my eye and so did the brand – Seve7. I knew enought o know that I’d probably not fit into the things, but I let the vain bitch force me into the changing room. Under the fitting room lights they fit like a dream and I was shocked to find that their were detailed with this almost formal type of snakeskin print. “See if they have it in blue,” vain bitch whispered, “go a size smaller in case these shrink.” I thought it was cute that she wanted to push the boundaries of my weight loss, I thought it was funny that I have this hookerish inner tween who wants nothing so much as she wants to flash her camel toe at the world. But I didn’t listen. I bought the pants and paired with a shirt I felt more myself than I had in a really long time – it was a look that just enough without being too much. It was a testimony to the woman I am.
I think the careful acknowledgement and demotion went well, as far as I can tell there has been no mental mutiny. Being forced to face this girl and politely acknowledge her very existence didn’t send any sort of shock waves to my system. In a way this aspect of my personality wasn’t foreign – we’d met before. We’d met on Saturday nights when I wound up going home alone, we met each time in college I’d try to wear something like a sheer shirt with a transparent rendering of the Bayeux tapestry screened on to it. It’s the sad, obsessive voice insisting on its worth. It’s a voice I don’t really need anymore because my sense of self-worth is so fundamental to who I am.
Outside of the mental stuff, which is proving more interesting and challenging to me than the actual food stuff, I had a couple of ridiculous dieting moments this week. After celebrating another successful performance with my cast and crew I found myself standing with a group of people eating pizza which I politely declined. I was mildly embarrassed to be the girl not eating pizza, it was one of those tragic dieting moments where you feel like your very joie de vivre has been stripped from you. But I didn’t dwell, and when I got home with my friends from out of town I exacted my revenge by ordering late-night takeout and making one of them answer the door for me – I even included an order of cheesecake for the door-answerer to prove that I was not a bitch, but rather still a magnanimous glutton with Iggy’s irreverent lust for life.
The real Becca wears no shirts and rocks hard.
I’ve got two more performances left and I still absolutely want to dress in a certain way for each show. Fat or thin I think the idea of dressing up for a play – in one way or another – will always be important to me. In its way, what I way to a play is a part of my process, it demonstrates respect for the work I’ve done, and, this may sound silly, I feel like that by looking my best, I’m letting the actors know how much I believe in them – I believe my Sunday best in them. I believe that they are going to do something so wonderful that I really ought to dress up for it. I don’t think, however, that I’ll necessarily let the vain bitch dress me for these final two shows. I’ll let her advise sagely from the sidelines, but I think the bitch-free version of myself, the confident, nothing to prove except for her happy existence version, she will be the one who makes the final decision.
STARTING WEIGHT: 205 lbs
GOAL WEIGHT: 130 lbs
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 68.6
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 63.6
TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS TO DATE: 11.4 POUNDS.