It happens innocently enough. You’re tackling your closet, deciding what to wear.

You make a mental checklist of the requirements needed to craft today’s outfit: Will I see someone I want to impress? Have I been photographed on social media wearing this look? Did I shave my legs? What’s the weather like? Why is my phone buzzing so much? Oh crap, is that the time? Wasn’t I supposed to leave for my appointment 15 minutes ago? Shouldn’t I quickly get dressed instead of standing here asking myself rhetorical questions?

Then you see it. Hanging deep in your closet, behind the same three shirts you always reach for, is the dress. That dress. Even when you had tried it on in the store eight months ago, it hugged you in all the wrong places. You hated how it drew attention to that part of your stomach that kept getting fatter. But, you convinced yourself, it was on sale! Plus, buying it would remind you to keep up with your squats and crunches. So by that logic, the dress would be the equivalent of an affordable personal trainer. It would be your goal dress, your own little victory. You would be able to wear it in no time and feel great about yourself!

Now, eight months later, it smugly hangs there with the tags still on it. The dress looks all skinny and perfect, taunting you over the fact that you had only done sit-ups once or twice since you bought it, before remembering how much they suck. Instead, you had justified to yourself that bending down to pick up the TV remote was the same as doing cardio.

You had loved the dress, but you hated how it made you feel about your body. It was supposed to motivate you, not bring up your insecurities.

Sure, people tell you that you look great and that it’s all in your head. But you know that if your love handles got any flabbier, no one would be ready for that jelly. Never mind that you’re somewhat comfortable with the rest of your appearance; anytime you try on clothes, you’re fixated, nay obsessed, with how that area looks. This part of your body is the one that’s going to determine how you ultimately feel about yourself.

It’s crazy isn’t it? Yeah, being healthy is important and all that, but is it healthy to obsess and restrict your wardrobe because somewhere along the way, someone decided what the “ideal” body shape is? There’s a whole industry dedicated to making otherwise confident women feel bad about themselves!

It’s not the dress. It’s you. It’s what you’ve built up in your head. For all the time you spend cursing your genes/Oreo-eating habit/water retention/lack of fiber/laziness, the sad truth is no one will even notice your problem areas because they’re too busy worrying about their own.

Put on the damn dress. Own that bi*ch. The camera may add 10 pounds, but don’t let your mind add a 100.

More importantly, instead of standing here and having an internal monologue, you were supposed to be out the door 30 minutes ago.