the rules of a body.

the rules were never explicitly spoken but they were meant to be understood, to be followed.

  1. don’t wear shorts; don’t wear skirts; don’t show your legs, even if you’re wearing tights. why would you want to expose yourself that way?

  2. don’t wear bright colors. don’t draw attention to yourself that way. bright colors make you look bigger, anyway, and you don’t want that.

  3. don’t wear white; it’s not slimming. stick to black, to navy, to darker colors. they’ll help you look smaller.

  4. don’t wear clothes that are so fitted they cling and expose your body that way, but don’t wear clothes that are totally loose and shapeless — it’s about creating the appearance of shape, until you can lose the weight.

  5. don’t show your arms. don’t wear those kinds of sleeves. your arms are the biggest part of your body, so you want to make them look smaller, so you look smaller.


i didn’t start thinking about what my style was until i was almost thirty — which isn’t me trying to claim that i’m stylish at all or that i have a full understanding of what kinds of cuts and styles suit my body. i’m sure i wear a lot of things that don’t necessarily flatter me. what i mean, though, is that it wasn’t until i was almost thirty that i even started thinking about what i wanted to wear, which kinds of clothes made me feel most comfortable in my body.

it wasn’t until i was almost thirty i started the journey of no longer giving a shit about what others might have to say about my body, how they might want me to change it, and just started trying to live in the body i have.

this is going to be a brief, choppy post because this is making me intensely uncomfortable. i still don’t know how to talk about body dysmorphia, about body shaming. i still do not like existing in this body of mine.

things i like to wear;

  1. shirt-dresses

  2. shorts with opaque tights

  3. button-downs half-tucked into shorts or jeans

  4. destroyed jeans (if i must wear jeans)

  5. leggings pants with tunic-y tops

  6. loose tops that don’t cling to my stomach

  7. plaid

my best days are days i don’t think about my body. it’s still too much for me to hope to look in the mirror and like what i see; i just want to move about my day and not think about my body. i don’t want to think about how i feel uncomfortable, how i feel too exposed, how the shirt i’m wearing is making my arms look huge, my upper body like a barrel, my legs short and truncated. i don’t want to think about how my clothes feel too tight or too loose, and i don’t want to spend more time than necessary worrying about my “outfit” in the morning. i don’t want to have to think so much that it matters that i don’t look perfect.

things i don’t like to wear:

  1. anything sleeveless

  2. a-line skirts

  3. flared jeans, bootcut jeans, straight jeans

  4. bright colors (still)

  5. white (i spill things)

  6. prints, especially florals, especially anything busy

  7. cap sleeves, short sleeves


but what do i hope for? is not thinking about my body good enough? because we exist in bodies, and is it too much to hope that i will have days when i look in the mirror and like what i see, days when i feel confident in my skin, days when i feel desirable and lovable? is it too much to hope that i will have days when i am comfortable, when i am happy being seen in this body of mine?

it’s hard to talk about bodies — it’s hard to talk about my body. like i said, i would prefer not to think about it, not to have to concern myself with its existence.

i try to be grateful for it, though, for the fact that it is able-bodied and capable of carrying me through my day-to-day. when the elevator was down in my building for weeks, i bitched every time i had to climb the six flights to my apartment, but i have a body that isn’t made worse for the wear by six flights of stairs. i don’t have to worry about whether or not a building is accessible. i don’t have to measure out how much i’m able to walk in a given day and plan obsessively, and i am able to clean, to function, to cook without being afraid of my body giving out on me mid-task.

in such ways, i am grateful for my body. it still doesn’t mean i like it.

i am still trying to learn how to dress my body. i’ll never be someone considered stylish or chic, but that is more than fine because i don’t want that kind of attention. i just want to look okay.

where did this post even come from?

there are these mirrors in my lobby, and i’ve found that, every so often, as i pass by, i like to take a photo. it’s not necessarily that i think i look good or anything; i like the narrowness of the mirror, the stripes on the wall on either side; and i like the ways it looks in photos.

and then there is this: as i’ve been trying to be more conscious about what i wear, trying to be more adventurous and venture out of my comfort zone, i’ve found it helpful to take photos, to see what i look like outside of my head. it’s weird to see my body, and it’s even weirder when someone else happens to take a photo of me. it’s weird to see me.

that’s all part of the process, though, to expose myself to myself, i suppose, to give myself glimpses of what i look actually like and not like i think i look. my body in my brain is grossly distorted — hence body dysmorphia, i suppose — and i’m exhausted with hating myself, with spending so much effort trying to disappear my body and to pretend that it doesn’t exist. i want my body to feel; i want it to respond to touch; and i want it to be the stupidly, annoyingly alive thing that it is.

i want to be able to open myself up to being loved, and i believe that desire is part of that. it is impossible to feel desirable when you’re dissociating from your body, though, so i’m trying to learn to inhabit this body i have. it’s the only one i have, and it’s not perfect, and it’s soft and squishy in lots of places, but, still, it’s the only one i have. i might as well try to make peace with it.

i don’t typically do this, but i figure why not? if you like what you’ve read and you want to support, especially in my current time of hardship, my venmo and ko-fi are jjoongie and my paypal is k.giaae@gmail. i like and greatly appreciately cups of coffee. (: