I keep buying THINGS. Mostly clothes and shoes. Oh, and makeup. I think it might be developing into an actual problem. I told my boyfriend last night I was going to return yet another pair of boots that didn’t quite fit, and that I was really going to try to cut down on all my online shopping in order to start saving more. Because you know, taxes. And down payments. And other boring adult things.
And yet I JUST bought a bunch of clothes online. As in, 30 seconds after I hit “purchase” I started writing this. I mean really though, it was buy one get one half off so it almost would have been irresponsible NOT to buy them now, right?? This is the warped logic I can use to convince myself of just about anything. I work in sales and I like to think of myself as a fairly persuasive person. But when it comes to myself, that shit is dangerous.
I know I need to cut back a little, but clicking and spending and buying is so much FUN. It is, you can’t deny it.
But I’m running out of room for all the things. You see, when my boyfriend moved in he got zero hanging closet space – just a consignment nightstand with 2 drawers I shoved in the back corner. That’s it. I kept the rest of the space, and even then, my stuff was overflowing.
So for the sake of our relationship, I’ve been forced to purge my closet at least twice since he moved in. As in, 4 or 5 garbage bags worth of clothes to donate to Goodwill. Not counting shoes. Seriously, I had so many clothes I needed to get rid of.
But that’s the thing when you have fluctuated in size from a 12 to a 22 in the span of about 5 years. You hold on to all those size 12’s because, come on. They are so cute. And so small. And it wasn’t THAT long ago that you fit into them.
On top of which, you spent good money on them, and someday they’re TOTALLY going to fit again and it would just be a waste of money to re-buy everything. They’re sexy. And inspirational… and such a tease… and actually kind of soul-crushing when you start to think about it too hard and hold them up and realize that isn’t you anymore.
So you purge. But purging your skinny clothes is hard. It feels like defeat in so many ways. It feels like admitting you’re in this fat body for the long haul, and don’t believe you’ll ever get back to that size. It makes you feel so crappy about yourself that you want to sit down and eat a whole bag of Goldfish. Or is that just me?
Anyway, I purged. I said goodbye, because you know what? It was time. And I needed the closet space. And not just so my boyfriend wouldn’t have to store his clothes in the trunk of his car. But because I finally decided in the last year or so to really start shopping for my current body, and to start dressing it in things I actually liked.
I’ve always been a person who loved fashion and took a lot of care in the way I dressed, whether it was silver platform sneakers and matching metallic jacket, or the perfect maxi dress and beaded necklace. But something happened when I got to a size I didn’t like. I stopped shopping. So I literally had nothing to wear, since nothing in my closet fit me anymore.
I relegated myself to yoga pants and baggy tops pretty much every day. I didn’t go out and supplement my wardrobe, didn’t get different sizes in the styles I actually liked. I had this warped idea that I should not be spending money on THIS BODY. That THIS BODY wasn’t worth anything, financially or otherwise.
That somehow, I’d magically lose the weight and be back in a body that was worthy of love, and worthy of fashion. And in the meantime, I would dress my ugly, frumpy body in ugly, frumpy clothes. And stare at my size 12 jeans and halter tops while I wept into a bowl of ice cream. (The reduced fat kind, because you know, that’s healthier.)
I almost felt like if I punished myself hard enough for being in this fat body, I might somehow shame myself into changing it. Turns out, that’s not how it works. It just starts to feel hopeless. You start to value yourself less every day.
But at some point last year, something clicked. Some part of my brain recognized I am still beautiful, that this is not the final destination on my journey, and that I deserve to decorate, celebrate and otherwise embrace myself as I am right now. Size 2, size 12 or size 22.
Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I was in a great place in my life – good job, great friends and family, and the most supportive boyfriend on the planet. I have to give Gil a lot of credit for helping me learn to love and accept myself again because he’s played a big role in it. And honestly, he still loves my body more than I do, but I’m working on it.
So I shopped. I clicked. I bought. And I remembered how fun it could be. Especially since there are a lot more plus size options available today than there were a few years ago. I filled my closet with leopard-print tops, black leggings, wide calf boots, bold print maxis, V-neck tees, fitted blazers, and SO MANY STATEMENT NECKLACES.
It didn’t feel like defeat – it felt amazing.
And then a weird thing happened. Over time, I started to like how I looked a little more. I started to feel a little better. I started to want to celebrate my body in other ways, like trying yoga for the first time. I mean obviously I’ll have to go shopping for some yoga outfits first, but I’m on the right path.
Turns out my incessant shopping has actually been an important step in the right direction for me. At that’s exactly what I’ll remind Gil every time a new package shows up at our front door.