Cropped (ish)

Limit #8: Fat people can’t wear crop tops.

For years I’ve had an incredible fear (I suppose it’s a phobia) of people seeing my stomach. I don’t know what I expected to happen if anyone ever did see it. Maybe they would explode out of sheer disgust.

But the real reason I have always kept it covered up comes from the part of my mind that has got self-deception down to a fine art. It believed that, as long as my tummy was covered up, nobody could actually know that I was fat. That bulge right there, that could be my clothes, it could be the way I’m sitting, I could have a cushion stuffed down there. You don’t know.

Having decided to accept the fact that I’m fat and it’s okay, even this bizarre logic isn’t a good enough excuse to keep hiding myself away. But this is a long-standing, deep-rooted, powerful phobia.  It will not go away overnight.

However, I am determined that it will eventually go away, so I’ve started working on it. With this top:

SAM_3054

Seems pretty innocent, right? Even standing up there’s nothing on show.

SAM_3057

But here’s the thing – I wore this top to salsa. I have never tried dancing salsa with my arms fixed down by my sides but I can imagine it wouldn’t work too well, and this is what happened when I raised my arms for a move.

SAM_3059
Vasilala con styling…ish

And there it is. Nobody’s exploded? Good. Then I’ll continue.

It may not look like much, especially considering most moves involve my arms being raised for a few seconds maximum, but walking up the stairs in Boteco wearing this was terrifying.

I will always remember the first dance in this top because the sensation of air on my midriff was so bizarre I could hardly follow my leader. It’s good practice to keep your free arm at waist height when dancing Cuban salsa, and I spent the whole dance resisting the urge to put it right across my waist to cover up.

But we made it through, still with no disgust-explosions, and I felt a little more relaxed. Then a few people said they liked my outfit, and you should never underestimate the power of a well-timed compliment. I started to think maybe I looked pretty good.

After the next (better) dance and another round of compliments, something fundamental shifted. I won’t say I was ready to run to Primark and clean them out of crop tops. Because that would make me a big snowman liar. But I could definitely see this becoming a regular part of my wardrobe, just another top like all the others.

So I haven’t exactly broken this limit, but I have laid some solid foundations and I know that one day I will.

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