This weekend I tried on one of my favourite dresses, one I haven’t had the chance to wear out yet. Despite my husband’s best efforts and a hefty dollop of elbow grease, it wouldn’t zip up. I’ve already sized up in some items over lock-down and here I am, clearly another size bigger than the larger size I’d already accepted.
So you know what I did? Absolutely fuck all. I pulled on another dress and got on with my night.
This isn’t something I would have taken lying down a few years ago and it’s certainly not something I would have accepted as a self-conscious teen desperately trying to hide my curves – but I refuse to beat myself up about putting on weight during the most uncertain and brutal period of our lives. Or at anytime, honestly. Right now, all I can give myself is kindness and keep reminding myself that fat isn’t bad. I should not have to justify my fat or feel as though I should hide it. In fact, it is my right to take up as much space as I possibly can – be loud and proud of who I am.
And that’s been the hardest lesson I have ever learned about myself – that I’m worth shouting about and nobody else is going to do that for me, so I should take my place in the world and own it.
Back in May, I pondered this topic after a period of listening to people around me complaining about their COVID-19 weight gain. It hasn’t stopped altogether but with the easing of lock-down regulations, people are moving outside more so it seems less prevalent. I haven’t joined them, I’m still gently dipping my toe back into normality and it’s only natural that the sofa, working from home in my underwear and not walking anywhere is going to add up to putting on the pounds.
We’re so far coping with a global pandemic which is going to have mental health consequences for many of us, myself included; a deep recession in the UK (and again possibly world-wide), an inevitable second wave of COVID cases and therefore further impact on our economies, Brexit/Trump and everything else that’s battered us over the last six months – and my thighs and expanding waistline is the issue? No way.
I’m taking all the time I need to feel better, to feel comfortable again in my own environment, around people and life. I’m not even thinking about dress size or substituting crisps for kale. I’m much more concerned now about the state of my mental health and whether my husband’s okay after being made redundant. And that’s not to say I’m criticising anybody else for their own concerns, everything is relative – I’m just saying, why should we be so hard on ourselves?
On Friday, Helen did an OK! magazine style shoot of us in our new home and I looked at the photos of my abundant curves in the second choice dress and I thought I looked absolutely banging. Taking up more space than my tall slim husband, just like it’s meant to be.