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Actress Jenn Lyon, who plays Jennifer Husser on the TNT show "Claws," has battled an eating disorder and spent time in rehab to overcome it. Now, she's hoping to pass along some of her wisdom about blaming the clothes that don't fit instead of trying to change your body to fit some unrealistic goal.
Why don’t we blame the pants more often? What I'm trying to say is, why is that every time I try to squeeze myself into a skinny jean or slim-fit pants (or whatever the new, hip style is called), do I not tell the ill-fitting bottoms to take a long walk off a short pier? Why is it that I tell my body that it should just walk into the ocean forever? What if the pants don’t have my best interest at heart?
If the pants in question were a person, I would end that relationship because I’ve simply outgrown them. They literally no longer fit. I wouldn’t berate myself for not being small enough to make this person (or, actually, pair of pants) happy.
I’ll tell you why I haven’t blamed the pants in the past. Because those pieces of clothing represent something aspirational to me — the better me that's flatter, smaller, more acceptable to some unattainable ideal for which my body simply isn’t made. I am a size 14/16 right now, but have been both much bigger and much smaller. I have been a size 0, which is fine if you naturally are, but to attain that with my build meant starving myself, throwing up, using laxatives, compulsively exercising and even eating the pages of a food magazine because I was so hungry and the pictures of cake didn’t have the calories of actual cake. But it seemed worth it because it made me finally have a love affair with the pants.
Any and all pants fit me and the pants and I were so happy together. We were in love! We went everywhere together! But, over time, it proved to be an abusive relationship. If I stepped out of bounds in the slightest, if I disobeyed the narrow confines of the pants, the pants would quickly tell me the real truth about myself. They would scream that I was way too much and would never be enough all in the same breath.
Many men and women have a healthy, symbiotic life with pants; they wear pants with the absence of this fraught push and pull and the pants get to do what they do best, which is be worn. However, I know so many people who are funny, smart, kind, charming, impressive, complicated, wild and wonderful and yet are enmeshed in a very volatile and isolating battle with pants. Whether they fit or don’t fit into the pants absolutely rules their day and gives them the most crucial and critical updates about their place in the world. What if we just blame the pants that hurt us and get better pants? Pants that may be sizes up or down and don't act as a measure of our worth?
I frequently try and blame the pants but I also blame my fiancé for secretly drying the pants smaller even though he hasn’t done the laundry since 2003. So, I get it. I still struggle, but maybe just for an experiment, I now blame the pants.
Break up with the pants in your closet that make you feel like a failure. Pants don’t make you. You make you. And you’re so much more than a pair of pants.