On dressmaking, self loathing and imaginary virtual rejection

Once upon a time, I had a waist line.  These days, I’m an inverted triangle on long skinny legs.  I’ve got annoyingly large boobs, and most of the fat I’ve grown in these last few insane years went on my middle, with the result that there is only a barely discernible difference between my waist and my hips. 

I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much my body departs from the fashion industry’s standard, and as a result I find purchasing clothing to be a mini trial.  It was my futile attempts this week to find a simple A-line skirt which started all of this.  I decided, therefore, to use my long days of unemployment productively and start sewing again. 

On my kitchen table at the moment is the beginnings of a pattern block. For those unfamiliar with dress making terminology, a block is the primary step in pattern drafting.  It records basic dimensions which, when combined with a design details i.e. bateau neckline, or V neckline and construction details like facings and seam allowances, enable a perfectly fitted garment to be produced.  Made to measure clothing was once the rule, not the exception.

Imagine my chagrin when, after making allowances for darts, the block curves outward between waist and hip.  Not inwards as one might expect.  And hope.  So guess what dear reader?  I’ve realised, in a very black line against white paper fashion, that I’m fat.  This is a bad enough realisation on its own.  It’s absolutely lethal when combined with internet dating.

I do know people who have found successful loving relationships through the net.  This is not my experience.  I’ve been rejected virtually far more often than I ever have been face to face.  But either way it comes, rejection is an experience that all of us hope to avoid. 

I gave him the link to this blog, and he returned the favour.  He writes beautifully, and he writes on a subject which has a significant charge for me.  His experiences and mine are light years away from each other and that frightened me a little.  I admitted as much to him and he took some time to get back to me.

Well. 

Talk about an internal calamity.  More drama than high school.  If it had been a musical I’d have called it ‘Hello shadow’. 

My head was being quite cooperative.  It was saying useful things like ‘there’s any number of reasons why he hasn’t written back you.  Long weekend, he could be away, he could have three essays due on Tuesday, he’s got the flu…’  None of that helpful cognitive disputing held any traction with the shadow narrative.  We all have them.  They are largely variations on the theme of self loathing.  Our fear that we are flawed, not good enough, not thin enough, stupid, worthless, lazy, talentless, ugly and in essence, unloveable.  These are stories which are deeply ingrained in us and which, as adults trying to live kind and meaningful lives, are neither helpful nor realistic.  But they stick like barnacles to the bottoms of boats, slowing us down and leaving us unable to respond to the present.

I decided that he had found my vulnerability and my writing repulsive, and had taken the easy option of silent rejection.  That he’d found another woman on the net who was thinner and had a shit load less baggage.  Of course, that was not true.  He liked my writing and was fully cognisant that the issue I’d identified was significant, and did I still want to continue talking to him?    

My assumption about silent rejection reflects my general experience in internet dating.  I’m writing as if I’ve done scads of it, but actually I haven’t.  Generally though, I’ve found that when a man has decided that he’s not interested in me, he just opts for silence.  Silence hurts.  Sometimes a lot more than words.  It’s not so much the fact that someone decides that you are not the woman they hope to meet.  That’s fine.  Statistically, it’s likely.  But silence protects only the one doing rejecting.  They save their own feelings of awkwardness at the other’s expense.  It says to the receiver of the silence ‘I don’t sufficiently care about your feelings to want to let you down nicely’. 

If this man decides I’m not the partner he is interested in, I’m sure that he won’t take the option of silence.  He’s been intelligent, articulate and sensitive.  Or the situation might be reversed.  I hope that I’ll be able to live up to my words, and be able to say, with kindness and grace, the thing no one wants to hear. 

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