Thursday, November 1, 2012

Matters of size

I have a love-hate relationship with many things in my life. Reality TV. Cheez-Its. Facebook. Wine. Dating. Also on that list? Size tags.

I can remember being a size 18, thinking, "That's it. I will not let myself go any bigger." Then I said the same thing when I was a 20, then a 22 and finally, when I was barely squeezing myself into my size 24s. I hated those tags--the literal labels that I let define me.

As I started losing weight, those labels became a marker for me as I watched the numbers get smaller. The 22 that meant what I was doing was working. The 18 that meant I was finally back in the teens. The 14 that meant I could shop in non-plus-size stores. The 12 that meant I was smaller than the average American woman.

I've been a pretty solid 12 for a while now. Some days I'm sort of OK with that. Other days I long to be in the single digits (which, by the way, I'm pretty sure I haven't worn since I actually was a single digit). I'll see an infomercial for a weight-loss product where a woman portrayed as a success story cries about being a size 12, and thank goodness she found this AMAZING contraption/video/magic powder that finally made her a size 2. "Oh my goodness," I think. "You're crying because you were a size 12? I cried the first time I fit IN to a size 12."

So, how much does size matter? The right answer is that it shouldn't matter at all, right? The real answer--for me, anyway--is that I, unfortunately, let it affect me way too much.

A couple of examples.

My best friend is getting married in March, and I'm excited to be one of her bridesmaids. Those of you who have been in weddings before will probably nod your heads in agreement, but bridesmaid dress shopping is not the best for a girl's self-esteem.

First of all, I know not a single person will care what size I'm wearing in her wedding. All eyes will be on my stunningly gorgeous friend on the happiest day of her life. But thanks to some sort of twisted reverse vanity sizing, bridesmaids dresses tend to run small. And I had to buy a 16. It made me sad, even though it shouldn't. I mean, in some ways, I'm like the lady on the infomercial, crying because of a size I once was thrilled to have to buy.

And on the other side of the spectrum, I recently went to Kohl's and, at the insistence of a friend, tried on a size 10 pair of skinny black pants from the Jennifer Lopez collection. I'm in no way a size 10, but my friend had tried them on in a smaller size and they fit her. I told her that if they fit, I was buying them, no matter what they cost.

They zipped up with room to spare. Buying them was a no-brainer. Although leaving the tag on like some sort of deranged Minnie Pearl may have been pushing it. OK, I'm kidding. Sort of.

It was funny how I felt about myself in those size 10s. Sassy. Confident. Powerful. Very different from how I felt just a few hours earlier wearing my size 12 jeans.

I wish these numbers didn't matter. I mean, clearly clothing manufacturers aren't that concerned with consistency. Seriously, try on two of the same things in the same size at, say, Old Navy. I'll bet you $100 one fits and one is too small or too big.

I'm rambling, as usual. The point is that I know these numbers shouldn't define me. I know there are people, who, like I once was, would be thrilled to be wearing the size I do now. I need to try to remember that if something fits me well and is a size 14, I should feel just as empowered as I did in those size 10s.

But, for now, don't blame me for hanging that tag on fridge. With a heart magnet.


cd said...

Tag shmag - that's what I say - sizes are SO ALL OVER the place these days - you go into one store, and you're 3 sizes bigger than you think you are - then you go into another, and you're buying a size 6 when you're really a size 10 - I say - you buy what makes you happy!!! :) Size shmize

Anonymous said...

I was a perfect size 12 for 20 years. Oh how I would love to be a size 12 again!! You are doing terrific -- buy whatever size that makes you feel good. I once bought an ugly suit only because it was a size 10! You are doing terrifc!

Kellynn18 said...

I wish I could tell you to be above it all, but I TOTALLY do the same thing! I really think that whole bridesmaid/wedding dress thing running small is just mean. I have cried in way too many dressing rooms over the size I had to wear. These are just the bumps that are a part of the weight-loss journey. You are beautiful and amazing, and I know that it will get easier. Keep up the awesome work!