No, it’s not your annual salary, or how many people you’ve bedded, or your PIN code. I am talking about:
The unholy trinity of insecurity. The reason why my driver’s license claims I was a full 42 pounds less than I actually do. The reason why in my mid 20’s I would claim to be 30 so people could gasp and tell me how great I looked. It’s the reason why I cut the tags out of my pants for years. Those lies didn’t change anything. In fact, looking back, they only strengthened the grip my insecurity (so often mistaken for vanity) had on me. Today, I’m planning to change that.
I am 37 years old. Yep, that’s right. I am in my late 30’s. In an arena ruled by trendy 20-somethings (many unhindered by family responsibility and, let’s face it, gravity) I have found myself fearing irrelevance. The women I so look up to like Nicolette Mason and Gabi Gregg appear so accomplished and influential and more than 10 years younger than me. I have often found myself doubtful that my contribution to the blogshpere is even relevant. But after much contemplation I have come to the conclusion that yes, in fact, it is! I hate to sound cliché, but variety is the spice of life, right? Age is more than getting older; it’s experience, perspective and even wisdom.
247 pounds. That’s what the scale said last week. In my adult life I have fluctuated from close to 270 pounds to a svelte 197 pounds, but I always land back around 230. It bears mentioning that the brief 6 months spent at my “slender 197” were the result of my (then) boyfriend’s constant comments that he’d “never been with a big girl” and how that was “okay because I was so pretty”. The shame and deep pain these “compliments” gave me caused me to drop close to 60lbs in 6 months, for all the wrong reasons. I’m not going to lie and say I would not like to be a bit more fit, but in my journey I’m just not there yet. However, the number is nothing to be ashamed of. I am more than 247 pounds; I am funny and kind and even pretty. 247 is just a number.
About 13 years ago I had the distinguished honor of being part of the development, launch and successful growth of one of the very first (if not the first) junior plus retailers. In early meetings we talked about sizes and garment labels: should we hide the tags lower in the garment so it won’t show? should we make them removable? should be create our own sizes, apart from the “straight” sizes? In the end, we chose to drop the “X” from 1X, 2X, etc…and simply use 1,2,3 and 4. And although I was never part of this discussion, vanity sizing was implemented as well. Now, all these years later, I find myself asking if that was the right thing to do. Probably not. Does the number on a label really matter? Do we think cutting the tags out of our clothes is going to fool the guy or girl in our bed who’s seen us naked? Or our friends when we’re all in a dressing room? Does it make my size 20 body appear slimmer if I lie? It does not, in fact. You know what it gets me? Gifts in the wrong damn size for my birthday, that’s about it.
So there we have it: 37, 247, 20. As I’m writing this and staring at them so bold on the screen I feel….well, lighter in a way. I’m not what some call a Fat-ivist, Fat Activist or whatever label is used. I admire many women who are, don’t get me wrong. I am, however, a supporter of women in general. I am a woman who loves other women and will use any opportunity I can to help other women find their strength, their self love and their freedom from the weight of insecurity.