This post is a tricky one for me to write if I’m honest. Last weekend I had a bit of a body confidence crisis that involved crying in the middle of a Debenhams. But I kind of felt like I needed to write about it, mainly to get it all out, but also because we all have days where we want to write to H&M and tell them to sort out their sizing. It just so happened Saturday was mine.
First, some context. In 2013, aged 20/21, I lost a lot of weight. I got diagnosed with coeliac disease and it kind of kickstarted something within me to lose weight. I think in total I lost about 2 stone, maybe 2 and a half. I think the lowest I got down to is about 9 and a half stone. I think I was happiest at about 10 stone, although even then still a bit critical about my own weight and appearance. Then I met Pete, got comfortable and gained a bit of weight, which was fine. I can’t really blame him entirely for my weight gain, lets be fair… Then endometriosis hit at it’s worst and I gained that 2 and a half stone and a bit more. Which brings me to now… Post surgery I thought I’d have lost weight. I had images of my tummy just shrinking due to lack of endo tissue and adhesions and cysts and all would be well. I’d lose that extra two stone and life would be great. Yeah, oddly enough that didn’t happen. Instead I somehow managed to put on more weight and none of my clothes fitted. I put it down to bloating and vowed to lose weight. I’ve got more determination now than ever and I know I can do it, even if it is a slow process. Before, I couldn’t walk properly, let alone work out, and although I tried swimming as much as possible, it’s tricky to exercise when you only feel human for about four days a month. Now, post surgery, I’m feeling so much more energised and happy and I actually want to go to the gym. Which is just insane and I’m pretty sure something must have gone wrong if I actively want to exercise to be honest…
So, back to the weekend just gone. Last Saturday I dragged Pete out to Guildford to find a new black dress for a funeral in a couple of weeks time. It’s difficult to find a black dress in the Spring/Summer season anyway, but I’ll be honest, it was horrific. Everything I tried on I was finding I had to go up a couple of dress sizes, even then I was finding that so many I couldn’t even do up. They’d get stuck round my hips and my tummy, clinging and looking awful. I lost count of the amount of changing rooms and shops I cried in. I stood under the lights in H&M, New Look, M&S, Debenhams… And cried. I cried because I missed the body I’d once had, I cried because I knew I had a long road ahead and I cried because I was so bloody mad that this disease, this stupid endometriosis, is still finding ways to screw everything. I might be pretty much pain free post surgery, but that isn’t stopping the psychological, weight based stuff. I came out of Debenhams changing rooms and cried on Pete in the middle of the jewellery section. I felt awful about myself and I felt angry at retail fashion sizes. I have clothes at home that are size 10 that still fit perfectly, albeit a little tighter than before, but I was trying on size 16s in those clothes shops that wouldn’t even go past my thighs. I was just confused and angry and upset. How are people meant to feel good about themselves when clothes sizes are so massively varying and different? I know you shouldn’t base your self worth on your clothes size, trust me, I know, but clothes shops absolutely don’t help. So instead, Pete took me off to Coffee Culture, bought me a cappuccino and a jacket potato and tried to rebuild my confidence. Then I went home and found a dress in the cupboard that I could wear to the funeral and carried on with my weight loss plans.
Now let me be clear – I am a little bit chubby, I’m not under any illusions there, but I’m generally relatively happy within myself. Yes, I want to lose a bit of weight but as Megan (the amazing bodyposipanda) talks about here, I in no way experience the fatphobia so many go through every day. My thin privilege is well and truly checked. However, the struggle for me was I have been trying so hard to feel good about my body. My tummy has been through incredible things. It’s managed to survive two surgeries so far, helped me recover through both and it’s surviving endometriosis every day. My body is amazing for that and I cannot thank it enough. So although I’m going to try hard to lose weight, just a bit, I’m also going to try hard to be grateful for everything my body manages to do. It manages to bounce back from major surgery quicker than even I expected and I should be incredibly thankful for that. It’s an amazing body, albeit a little bit chubby around the edge. Body confidence is something so many struggle with. I struggle, so many friends struggle and I guess this weekend showed me that high street stores still have a long way to go with helping women (and men) feel good about themselves. But until then I’m going to try and remember not to measure myself by their standards and by the number on the scales. I’m wonderful and beautiful and I just need to remember that. We all need to remember how great and beautiful we are.