Today’s message is a short one. But sometimes that’s what we need. Because we can do all of the work, we can read the books and articles, follow the right accounts and preach self-love until we’re blue in the face, and it isn’t enough. We still look in the mirror and cry. We still shove those crop tops and dresses to the back of the cupboard, waiting for a skinnier day. We still consider ourselves to be a ‘before’ image; we put our lives and happiness on hold until we’re thin.
I’m guilty of this too. I’m guilty of not following my own advice. But I recognise that, and I’m working on that, and today’s short message is something that helped me get a step closer. It helped me finally recognise that sizing is there to help, not hinder us, and even so, sizing is crap.
Let’s forget about our bodies for a second and think about our feet. No, this isn’t a post about loving your feet, although you shouldn’t hate them either. The point is that we usually don’t have very strong feelings about our feet, not to the extent that we do for our thighs, bum or stomach. Feet are just feet.
Shopping for clothing can be a tear-jerking experience, but shopping for shoes never seems to be as bad. You stroll into a store and look around at the various footwear on offer. You pick up a pair, and you ask for it in your size. You don’t feel embarrassed to be asking for a shoe two sizes bigger than the model, because it’s just a number, just an inch or two. The assistant comes back with the shoes, and you try them on. Maybe they fit, maybe they don’t. Perhaps you’re disappointed, perhaps you’re not. Either way, you let it remain about the shoes. You determine that the shoes don’t suit your feet or aren’t comfortable enough. You don’t extend the negativity to your own feet or place the blame on them.
I have wide feet, so a lot of fitted boots and sandals don’t fit, and it can be frustrating to find shoes that fit. But this frustration remains on the shoes. I don’t equate this to my worth the way I do when a pair of jeans or a skirt doesn’t fit. I allow my feet to be wider than average, yet I don’t extend this courtesy to my thighs.
If the shoe doesn’t fit, you look for another pair. If the top doesn’t fit, you blame yourself and think you’re less attractive for it. Why can’t we treat our bodies like we do our feet?
Your feet are not made to fit into shoes, instead, shoes are made to fit feet, and sometimes they don’t fit them all. Your body was not made to fit into clothing, instead, clothing was made to fit bodies, and it can’t manage all of them, because there are so many variations. And yeah, many clothing manufacturers only produce clothing that fits a specific shape, leaving the rest of us struggling to find something that suits our frame. But that isn’t on us; that’s on them. This is clothing not being made to fit our bodies. The solution isn’t for us to starve our bodies into fitting these items. The solution is to encourage the brands that produce clothing to accomodate different shapes; it’s searching for the clothing that we made to fit your body.
You were not made to fit into clothing. So the failure is not yours. So when you’re cramped into a changing room with tears brimming at the jeans that just won’t budge over your thighs, remember that. Remember that the clothes are failing right now. The only thing that needs to change is the love that you offer your body. The perception that your body is to be valued.
When the insecurity soars, when the words of self-hatred rise, think of whether you would feel this way about a pair of shoes. Treat your body like you would a pair of shoes. When a piece of clothing doesn’t fit, keep trying until you find the perfect Cinderella fit. Find the item that makes you feel great in your body, that looks like it was made precisely for you, because it is out there.
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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