My mom is in town this week, and on her last day here, we decided to go clothes shopping. She found a few shirts that I adored, and offered to pick them up for me. I grabbed my customary ‘M’ off the rack and started to leave.
I stopped myself just short, staring down at the shirts in my hand. “Yeah, I should probably try those on.”
It was good that I did, because my customary ‘M’ reduced me to a sausage. Time to move up to the new customary “L”. I switched the shirts, and we made for the register. Except, as we walked, and she made joyful small talk, I felt like I wanted to cry. Like I’d been punched in the gut. I felt miserable.
It’s the same way I felt upon realizing recently that I have two pairs of jeans left that fit comfortably. The same way I feel whenever I step on the scale. I weigh about 180lbs right now, give or take a few ounces. It’s the same amount I weighed when I gave birth to each of my sons. I’ve officially gone up a size and about 15lbs in the past year.
I came to terms with the fact that I will never be a size 0 a long time ago. At nearly six foot tall, it is literally impossible for me. However, I still can’t handle going up a size. “I used to be a nine!”, I say. Single digits! That was awesome. And here I am, back in a size twelve. This is not awsome.
When I feel like this, my inner pep talk kicks in. I tell myself: “Girl, you’ve had three kids. Give yourself a break”. Or “There are too many things in this world worth eating to be skinny. Eat all the things”. Or, my favorite “You’re beautiful on the inside. You’re smart and your funny, and you’re nice. That’s enough”.
You know what, pep talk voice in my head that’s trying in vain to make me feel better and is really only succeeding in making me feel worse? I have something to say to you: Go straight to hell. You, and the feelings that bring you out, can go jump in a big lake of fire. Feel free to take the media industry that conditions little girls to strive for flat stomachs and huge tits right along with you.
Cause here’s the thing. All of those pep talk things are true. There IS a plethora of amazing food out there, just waiting to be devoured, and I really enjoy devouring it (Not to mention beer. Don’t get me started on beer). I AM a nice person. I’m generally kind, and honest. I tell a hell of a joke. I’m a wonderful mother, and yes, my body has brought three amazing little people into this world. Those three people are also kind, and honest, and incredibly funny, in part due to me. More than any of that: I am happy. As a person who hasn’t spent a good percentage of her life being happy, happiness is golden.
Maybe (probably) I should feel guilty because I spend more time working, and mothering, and yes, eating, and not enough time exercising. But these are choices I’ve made, these are priorities I’ve set. I should be able to own those things, and the bigger clothes those choices bring, without this deep nagging feeling of self loathing.
I should worry about my weight because of my health, or because of the example I set for my children. I should NOT worry about my weight because of what size some yahoo at the clothing company decided to throw on a label or where the dial stops when I step on a scale. Because neither of those numbers define me. Neither of those numbers will make me any happier than I am now.
And really, possibly the hardest thing for me to accept: Neither of those numbers will make me any more attractive. I felt ugly and miserable at a size nine. So, no, it wasn’t really that awesome, no matter how much I tell myself it was. I feel ugly and miserable at a size 12. The size doesn’t change how I feel.
Being happy, though.. that changes everything. I feel beautiful when I’m playing outside with my kids. I feel like a rockstar when I serve them a great meal. I feel great when I make someone smile. And when I’m smiling, I couldn’t give a damn about how I look.
The Truth: I am the most attractive when I’m happy. When I’m smiling. When there are absolutely no fucks given over what size my damned jeans are.
So, from me to you, Pep-Talk Voice: Fuck you. Fuck the excuses I make to myself to explain away why I’m gaining weight. I don’t need excuses. I don’t need permission to gain weight, not even from myself. I DO need to be happy. I DO need to own my choices and either be okay with them, or change them.
I DID need to write this, so thanks for reading.