LIFE

I’m not that size anymore

MEL NOAKES
The Self Care Coach

I recoil in horror as I look at the label.  The commentary in my head goes something like this  “it can’t be … it just, I mean, it’s just in this shop…..it has to be.  Right?”

 

I know I am not alone in standing in a changing room on the brink of an utter meltdown.  I know that at some point you will have wrestled with the way you felt as a result of what a label said in a piece of clothing.   I know that the number on a piece of material can make or break a day, week, month or even a year.

Standing in that changing room that day, the number on the label sent shock waves to my soul.

 

Why was my body changing and why couldn’t I just control it?

Photograph by Igor Ovsyannykov via Unsplash

I can vividly recall the flood of emotions.  The tears.  The guilt. The shame. The confusion.

On top of the normal everyday struggle, we have as women, on that particular day I was early into my recovery from my eating disorder. This early stage of my recovery was probably one of the hardest, most confusing and lonely experiences I have ever had to face.  I know, sadly, I am not alone in this, nor will I be the last person to have to endure this.

Recovering from an eating disorder of any kind is not an easy road. Accepting that I was ill was one thing, accepting recovery – well, that was quite another. You see for me to get “well” or “better” or be on “the path” or whatever the hell you call it, required me to gain weight.

The very thing I had avoided and fought against for years.

 

The label in my clothes that day said “well girlfriend, you’re changing”

Realising that the size of my clothes had changed meant accepting a number of things that were bigger and more overwhelming than the number on the label.

For me, however, the number on the label represented so many things.  My head and body were battling to find a way to organise the world without an eating disorder that had characterised most of my life.  I had to confront the fact, standing there in the changing room, in my undies, that I wasn’t sure who I would be without it and I wasn’t sure that I knew how to handle life without it.

 

Clothes are a celebration of who we are and how beautiful our bodies are

Photograph by Igor Ovsyannykov via Unsplash

Looking back now this day fascinates me

With the power of reflection and hindsight, what fascinates me when I look back at this moment is just how often we grow out of things. Change happens to us, often without our consent, and whatever it is, it is not often welcomed or embraced.

Change almost always means stepping out of a comfort zone, a groove, we’ve been in and it’s almost always a shock to the system.

When I look back at my life I can see many instances where I no longer “fit into something”. I left my job because I wanted more than the job could offer and I wanted a reward that wasn’t available.  I wasn’t that size anymore – I’d grown.

I left my job because I wanted more than the job could offer and I wanted a reward that wasn’t available.  I wasn’t that size anymore – I’d grown.

I parted ways with friends whose bonds of friendship were once so strong and prevalent in my life but over the years we had simply grown apart. We weren’t that size anymore.

A relationship that I thought would be the modern day love story (insert laughter, it makes me feel better!) ended abruptly.  I wasn’t that size anymore.

We grow, change and adapt all the time.  That’s what we do throughout our lives.  We are constantly learning and growing and never more so than in this tech abundant, multi-cultural digital world that we are both blessed and cursed to live in.

I understand that to stay the same size in anything can be limiting rather than empowering.

 

We grow, we change – that’s what humans do.

Photograph by Reed Angelo and Ryan Moreno via Unsplash

So what do I do now?

Now I just cut those damn little labels out of my clothes and never give them a second thought.  I understand that the number itself doesn’t define me. It doesn’t signify my beauty, my ability, my personality, my strength, my courage – or anything else for that matter.  I feel liberated to go into a shop and buy clothes that feel good on body and that make me feel good about myself.

I invite you to do the same!

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