DAY 82: WORLD…

DAY 82: WORLD…

I had a really insightful and thought provoking experience in a clothing store today that I wanted to share and talk about.

\In my lunch hour I popped into our department store for a quick browse, and passed through World, as I always do, to swoon over their to-die-for fragrance selection. However I found that all of the perfumes had been cleared out and the entire store was having a clearance sale, to allow them to move to their new stand-alone premises in a few months. As a result everything was drastically on sale – like down to $20, $50, and $100. Amazing bargains.

I have only ever bought one garment from World because of 1) Price – nothing is usually less than $400 and 2) Sizing – it all runs a bit small and stops at a Large, which is about a 14. Loose fitting things are sometimes okay, but anything tailored isn’t going to work on me. And the whole thing intimidated me so much that I usually don’t even bother trying anything on, as a result.

However, today, my eyes fell upon a dress that I’d seen a few months previously – the colour was what grabbed me. A most vivid, royal blue, dress. Not only was the colour amazing, but it was in velvet – my favorite of all fabrics.It was down from $500 to just $50. Which is an incredible deal.

The style is cut as a very tight, form fitting, wiggle dress – Joan from Mad Men would happily wear it. Which is a style I do wear when I’m in the mood – but being World I had immediately dismissed it as something that won’t fit so I never closely looked at it last time.

However this time I picked it up, they had it in a Large, and I noticed that, despite the velvet exterior, the dress was actually made from literal wetsuit material – thick knit stretchy scuba. Interesting and unusual – but this actually gave some hope that it would stretch and mold over my curves.

Not feeling the most confident about myself today I hesitated on deciding whether I’d try it on. I didn’t feel in the mood to be disappointed and made to feel shitty and insecure if it looked awful on, or worse wouldn’t even get over my shoulders.

But I was curious, because it was so unusual and I wanted to see how that fabric looked on. So I took a big breath and embarked on the changing room with no hope or expectations. The assistant warned me that it is a struggle to get on, which helped, and made me persevere and not get disheartened as I fought to get it over my bust. And, well, it took a lot of wiggling and holding of breath, but to my surprise, I got into it! I wish to note that this is purely due to cut and fabric and not because I’ve lost weight or anything like that.

It was very tight, but then it’s meant to be, and did wonders for my posture! However I  felt very insecure in its tightness – as I was not wearing the right underwear, my tummy felt very prominent. And although the assistant told me it looked great, I didn’t really believe her.

All I could see when I looked in the mirror were the bulges and lumps in my mid-section. But then I also saw that  it showed off my features – my boobs and small waist – wonderfully and that I was feeling like this because I’m just not used to seeing myself in this shape of dress.

I knew that with the right hair, heels, underwear and accessories (and a couple of gins) I’d feel 10x more confident and strut into the room like I owned it. I still wasn’t sure though.

Usually this is a sign for me to walk away. But the colour and fabric kept drawing me in.

Then I realized that my main considerations on whether I bought this garment had dramatically changed from how I would have thought five years ago.If I’d have been in this exact position five years ago I’d have thought like this:

1. It’s an absolute bargain, just buy it because it’s very cheap and this is a great deal, even if it’s not right you’d be stupid to miss out on this price

2. Buy it for when you’re 5kg lighter. Then you’ll be able to wear it with confidence. It’s not quite right now, but soon it will be. Just buy it now for the future.

Instead, today, my thoughts  went like this:

1. It’s an incredible bargain. But if I’m not going to wear it then it’s a waste of $50, so it’s not about price

2. I have to be comfortable and happy to wear it as I am right here, today. No thinner, not when you’ve dropped a size, or started the diet,  but just as you are right now

I paused, and I considered, and in the end I decided that I do accept myself as I am in this dress. That I would wear it this weekend. That yes, I have a tummy, and hips, and it’s very revealing of my shape, but just as many people will be looking at my good points, as the bad, which I am naturally pre-disposed to fixate on.

And so I bought it.

And I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since because it felt really significant and important because it was a way of thinking I’d never really experienced before, as I’ve been in something of a fashion comfort zone for the past few years, and have until now avoided this dilemma by avoiding this kind of shape.

It was a moment where you suddenly realise how much you’ve grown, changed and become at peace with yourself…all without really realizing. It was fascinating to see how I’d done such a 180 in how I viewed  things.

And it felt really empowering, great, and liberating. I now have this amazing dress that I know I can wear right away, not “in a few months”, or when I wake up as the perfect version of myself (NB: this date is NEVER).

That I accept myself just as I am.
x

DAY 79: RUN…

DAY 79: RUN…

CW: Weight loss, shitty relationships

When he went all quiet and sulky on me for three hours, and I begged and pleaded and cried at him to tell me what was wrong, what I had done, what could I do, he eventually told me that he thought I was getting too fat. So then after I cried and sobbed a whole lot more and told him I would do better that I would change for him* then I stopped eating meals and instead I started walking a lot more then that walk turned into a jog and then that jog became a run and well that was how I became a runner.

And I ran and ran and ran, every morning and every night. Before work, after work, lunchtimes and in the weekends. I fed my eternal hunger pangs with laps around the park. I dealt with my feelings of hurt, insecurity and fears by stomping at them under my feet. And with every kilometre I ran I felt like I lost a kilogram and got inched closer to his undying love and approval.

I was never a fast, lithe, or elegant runner. Every step was a clunky pounding on the pavement. My knees hurt. My back hurt. I was not a natural in any way shape or form, but what I lacked in skill I made up for in an inclination towards obsessive compulsive behaviours.

So I ran and I ran and I ran and then one blistering hot morning in January I ran an entire half marathon.

And he was there, waiting for me, as I limped across the finish line with my busted, swollen, knee. Me, the last across the line by a good twenty minutes.

He hugged my bony body tight and told me he was proud of me.

In eight years that was first time and last time that he ever said that.

In the car on the way home, I ate a single green dinosaur lolly, and promptly vomited.

He never asked if I was okay.

x

* OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DAY 18: DIET (VOL.1)…

DAY 18: DIET (VOL.1)…

CONTENT WARNING: DIETS, WEIGHT LOSS 

I was nine when I went on my first diet. 

My Auntie Paula (who was actually my Mum’s cousin, so does that even make her an Aunt?) announced her engagement to some bloke called Dave in the Spring of 1993.

Auntie Paula lived just up the road, but I’d never met her. I kinda knew her sister, Auntie Sandra, because she was a dinner lady at school and she’d come round and peel our oranges for us if we got stuck on the tough skin.

So it was quite the surprise when Auntie Paula phoned our house one day and asked Mum if I’d like to be a Bridesmaid. 

I wasn’t exactly a girly-girl who fantasised about these things, but I’d never been a Bridesmaid and it felt like a rite of passage so heck yes, I wanted to be a Bridesmaid! I was well aware that I was nine years old, and with puberty on the horizon, my days of being a Cute Bridesmaid were numbered.

A few weeks later, on the walk into school, Mum and I were talking about the wedding and how fun it was going to be to be a Bridesmaid. I’d get a dress! A dusky pink one! I’d get a posey of flowers! I’d get silky ballet slippers! Unfortunately I’d not long had my hair cut off, into a chin length bob, so we agreed that I’d have to start growing it right now, if i wanted to wear it in a nice pretty style, like a bun or French plait. 

Then just one more thing. Just one little idea to really top everything off. What if I cut down a little bit on the sweets and cakes? It wouldn’t need to be much. Just a bit. After all, this is a really big day and we all just want to look our best in our nice outfits and photos, don’t we? Mum would be doing it too. It’s something us girls could do together. And, besides, if I keep walking to school like this, and go outside more often over the Summer, it really wouldn’t be a big change at all.

How about we make it like a game, and add an incentive?

For every pound lost, I would be paid a pound in money. 

If I lost a stone, well there’s fourteen pounds in a stone. Fourteen shiny gold little coins, all for me. That’s a new Barbie and new Barbie’s were the only thing that really mattered to me, especially as I’d not long had my birthday and Christmas was still a great number of months away. 

Well. Okay, on that basis, why not? I’ll do my best. After all, I just want everyone to proud of me and like me. As a shy kid, the last thing I ever wanted to do was let anyone down, or get in trouble. Especially not on the biggest day of someone’s life. Scott and Charlene in Neighbours didn’t have pudgy, embarrassing, bridesmaids, did they?

And just like that, with very little thought, I stopped eating sweets, cakes or anything that Mum’s Slimming World magazines said were BAD FOODS. Instead, I ate a lot of apples. Apples – crunchy and sweet – like nature’s biscuit! 

After a few weeks I discovered that, whilst I was at it, I may as well also stop eating the sandwiches and pots of yoghurt that were in my lunchbox. It made sense. Why bother with that extra bad stuff when an apple would do just fine. I’d just hide them at the bottom of my lunchbox, until we were allowed to go out and play, then discreetly, and swiftly, slide them into the big rubbish bin on my way out. I’d never been so agile and skilled at anything before, I impressed myself with these sneaky feats! 

You know, I’d like to make a song and dance about hunger pains and obsessively thinking about food, the trauma, and memories of tracking my weight but I can’t remember any of it. It was that easy, that insignificant, such a natural state for my mind to click into. My mum was endlessly on a diet, she had been my whole life, and so that was just what living was about. There was no need to make a fuss about it. That it would become my existence, also, just felt inevitable. 

Sure enough, eight weeks later, that stone was gone and I was in Toys R Us picking out my new Barbie.

It felt pretty cool. My little brother was really pissed off and upset that I was allowed something and he wasn’t. My Mum just said that I’d worked really hard at something and I’d earned it, but never said more. I liked having this little secret between us. The Grown Ups Diet Club. No boys allowed! 

On that September Wedding day I wore the dusky pink dress, held my bouquet, and had grown my hair just long enough to get that French plait. 

In the photos I looked like a normal kid. I wasn’t thin. I wasn’t fat. I was just normal. 

Everyone said that it was such a shame that one of my front teeth fell out the week before the wedding, leaving a gappy grin in all of the photos. Such a pity. Nevermind. 

It seems no matter how hard you try to be the perfect version of yourself, you’ll never please everyone.  

I often wonder whether if I ate less apples, and more cake, in those previous months, would the tooth have made it to the day?

x