The other day, I went clothes shopping to spend some of my leftover birthday vouchers. It was all going well until in H&M I decided to try on a SUPER skinny dungaree set. I picked up a size 12, bigger than the usual 8 or 10 because your hips are often too wide for most fashion-y shop sizes (looking at you Topshop) but I still couldn’t get them past the knees.
I felt gross and unattractive because you were too big.
I don’t for a second think a size 10-12 is fat/unhealthy/overweight at all so why do I feel embarrassed telling others that you wear a 10, or even 12? I enjoy complimenting people and admiring how gorgeous they all are. I look at people bigger, smaller and the same size as you and adore the shape of their bodies and how beautiful they look but I have never been taught to look at you the same way.
Growing up you always fit in a size 4-6; you were always relatively average height with small boobs (little miss a-cup here) and always underweight, but you would always get compliments. I was 15 and being told by friends that they wished their legs were as skinny or their stomachs were as flat. You were seen to be so healthy but were actually so tiny because I would skip meals trying to keep you small. I had the worst relationship with food and was totally unhealthy but convinced that having a flat stomach and thigh gap would make us ‘perfect’.
I never once felt perfect. I desperately wanted you to have curves and bigger boobs and be more than just straight up and down. I would be so embarrassed about the size of you, envious of curvier girls.
Flash forward to the end of puberty and you’re now a size 8 on top (still with your little a-star pancakes) and 10 below because you decided to grow some wider hips and a bum. You went from being underweight to on the brink of ‘plus size’ (since apparently, size 12 is ‘plus size’).
Your clothes size has almost doubled, but my confidence in you has halved. Why is it acceptable to dismiss your beauty?
Why do I feel okay when I dismiss your beauty?
You are the strongest part of me. You have carried me through my 21 years with no breaks and a few bruises to get me to where I am today. There’s no need for me to feel ashamed of you because you’re a healthy weight now, but I still feel insecure from the lack of comments on you looking ‘perfect’. You are completely average in terms of weight and height and that’s okay. You don’t have to be super curvy for me to love you just like you don’t have to be super skinny to be loved.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to realise that the way you look doesn’t mean half as much compared to the way we feel, and I have become more confident in you once I left my teenage years. Of course, I still have those insecure days where your boobs are too small or your stomach is too big, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as before.
I know that we’re not the fittest or healthiest, and I give you way too much chocolate and nachos, but we’re happy and that’s the only thing that matters. I know that I want to tone you up a little and feel fitter, but for a while, I only saw exercise as a way to lose weight and keep you as that perfect, small frame that is apparently so desirable. I’ve now realised that the weight you are is perfectly okay and I’m determined to hit the gym to strengthen you and feel better inside, not because I want you to look better on the outside.
I am grateful that you have taken me this far and given me such unconditional support every day of my life. You have always been there for me, no matter what number you reached on the scale, and I will try my best to not let those numbers disappoint or excite me anymore.
This is my promise to you to stop letting clothes sizes and weights define how I feel about you (I’ve never been a numbers gal anyway) and to start focusing on the way I feel inside before I start judging the way you look on the outside.