Each year I have used my denim jeans as a right of passage into a new season. After a summer of wearing shorts there was a certain security and satisfaction in knowing my jeans still fit. As one who has struggled with eating disorders and body image, I have put an inordinate amount of pressure on myself to keep everything the same. I’ve struggled with keeping contempt at bay when “things” just didn’t fit like they did last winter. There have been years of violent behavior over “things” that were changing…shifting in my body that felt out of control. There were times I felt I would never be able to reconcile these changes.
Recently I went through my stack of jeans tucked away in drawers I seldom visit. I found myself pulling out those jeans and trying them on. Some fit…some didn’t. I had out grown some of my jeans. Really? How did that happen? Was it just a few years ago that I wore this pair? I found myself connecting then and now, examining my aging body and questioning, “What’s so wrong with now? “ I began to reminisce about some of those jeans, where I bought them, where I wore them, why I stopped wearing them and why I loved them. These memories caused me to smile and my heart softened because each pair played a part in my story…one that is unfolding even now.
You see even when I wore those jeans I realized I still was not happy with who I was and how I looked. There was a striving to conquer my size and my body…to somehow win with a certain pair…however my best efforts were never enough. My heart was dead to my body and my eyes saw imperfection. There was a disconnect, and try as I might I could not figure out how to bridge the gap. I just determined to try harder.
Yet I’ve noticed a shift recently…one where my heart and my body are embracing the changes and the beauty that come with aging. It is subtle and kind. It longs for more and cherishes what is. It remembers with sadness and goodness for where God has brought me. It remembers dancing, celebrating and loving relationship connected with those jeans. It remembers miles of walking, flying, riding and meeting those I love. It remembers…those jeans.
So here I am today…on a journey with my heart and still loving my jeans. Oh, yeah, and “I’m OK, my jeans still fit…at least some do and I’m really OK with that.”
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.