My daughter, in her baby sized jeans
The scariest thing in a woman’s closet?
Her skinny jeans. Boooooooo.
I bought my last pair of skinny jeans after I had a week-long bout of the stomach flu. I was so excited to fit into them that I didn’t care about the ridiculous price tag, or that they belonged on a tween. I was thin! I was hot! Wait- I was really hot… and... queasy…
Flash forward one week later, these same jeans went from making me fab-u-lous to flab-u-lous. The last time I tried fitting into them, I had to do deep knee bends to loosen them, lie down on the bed, suck in my stomach, and pull with all my strength until the button closed—grunting out loud at the effort.
Once closed, thinking I had achieved success, I looked in the mirror and saw a muffin top large enough to feed 25 supermodels spilling over. Only after my husband walked into the room and he busted out laughing did I—mortified—concede defeat.
Sure, I’ve got plenty of reasons why they don’t fit. I had a kid 8 months ago. I don’t have any time to go to the gym. I moved to suburbia. The dryer shrunk them. Aliens came in the middle of the night and zapped them and made them smaller. But the simple truth is that, while I’d like to fit into my size-6 jeans, I’ve got a size-10 lifestyle. And I can play with the numbers on the scale, but the jeans don’t lie.
And I’m at peace with the size that I am, even if the fashion industry isn’t. And I’m tired of obsessing about my weight, it’s been a lifelong endeavor. I was a zaftig kid and, at my heaviest, I weighed 200 pounds. Although I lost 70 pounds by high school and managed to maintain my weight, I have always hated my body. Even at my thinnest—a size 4—I still could only focus on losing those last 5 pounds, not the accomplishment I had made.
And then I had a daughter, and my perspective changed.
For starters, I now appreciate my body for the extraordinary things that it is capable of. It can create a human being and nourish a child. That seems more important than wearing a brand of jeans made by people who think women shouldn’t have hips. (And please, someone tar and feather the designers that think even pregnant women should be thin.)
I look back at the things that I did that risked my health to be thin and I am grateful to be healthy, that I didn’t do any damage (that I know of) to my body. I can’t imagine doing any of that now. It took a while, but I’m old enough and wise enough that my self-esteem is no longer linked to a number on a scale, or a size on a tag.
That’s not to say it’s easy to keep this attitude going. I have my fat days. We all know that societal pressures to be super-thin are ridiculous, illustrated by the recent story of Ralph Lauren allegedly firing a model, 5’10”, 125 lb., for being too fat. Studies have shown that good-looking, thin people enjoy more success and opportunities than those who aren’t. Simply put, we are as a whole, a superficial and judgmental society. It’s enough to drive you to… eat!
But the reality is that 5, 10, 15 pounds up or down on a scale really don’t matter. We are beautiful, no matter the size we might be. We just need to hear it and remember it on the days when our skinny jeans don’t fit.
Speaking of, I still have those skinny jeans tucked away in a box somewhere. A part of me hopes maybe I’ll fit back in them some day. But I think chances are the next time they see daylight they’ll probably be on my daughter as part of a Halloween outfit (sooooo millennium…) She just better share the candy.