I have a problem with pants. It’s something I don’t hear the other women talking about, but pants and me are not friends. My body has changed so much since giving birth twice. I have a front paunch that hangs over my groin like a mama kangaroo, and it has not disappeared in the nine months since I delivered my second daughter. Some women give birth and immediately look like their old selves. Bully for them! I am not of their tribe. None of my old clothes fit. No clothes seem to fit at all. Everything bunches in strange places and gathers where my flesh folds. Pants are impossible. There’s too much fabric in all the wrong places.
I do not recognize my body anymore. When I pass myself in a mirror I frequently surprise myself. Is that me? Did I fall into a taffy pull? I had two babies in three years and everything on me stretched a million-which ways. Flesh hangs off me now in great rolls. Skin that had been pulled taut like canvas over my rounded belly now dribbles over itself in loose folds of skin. It’s a body we don’t see. It’s invisible on the screen to the average male 18-39. But it’s honest. My flesh might be the truest thing about me. It is covered in dimples and lines. It’s a roadmap of a girl who had a good time. I’ve earned every inch of it.
Leggings, I hear you saying. Sure, leggings are nice, but it’s still the end of winter in Maine, so I would like a little more fabric between the wind and my witchy parts. I’m a northeastern girl born and bred in New Jersey, so I can handle the cold. But Maine isn’t cold. It’s stupid. Truly it’s a dumb level of cold, as in, “This is so cold it’s stupid why do we live here?” It’s that cold for months and months, and people still want to head outdoors up here. Maine moms dress like they could survive in Alaska for a month with a packet of matches and a jack knife. They are infinitely prepared in layers of thermals and waterproof fabrics, and their children are responsibly fashioned in their LL Bean snowsuits and Scandinavian knitwear. It’s messed up. Meanwhile, I give myself a medal if I remember to bring gloves.
It is tough finding clothing to wear in my size and shape that is both warm and comfortable. If I were a wealthy woman this is where I would announce to you the launch of my outdoor gear line for plus size women, a banner idea if I ever heard one and a sorely underserved audience if you ask me. But I am not a wealthy woman, so instead I float this notion out there into the interwebs hoping that some fellow size 18 philanthropist out there will stumble upon this blog and make all my hiking fantasies come true by launching her own line of outdoor gear for those of us with hips that won’t quit.
All the stuff is coming for them someday. All the noise that screams, “You are not enough.” My daughters will face down those demons in time. I’ve no intention of helping them along with my own special brand of self-loathing.
So I need better pants. Pure and simple. The world would be a better place if I could get good pants.