I wonder where that girl went sometimes.
I don’t understand why she disappeared – surely you’re supposed to increase in confidence as you get older? You learn about the world, become more solid in your convictions, care less about what others think about you. Where did I go wrong? Nothing totally horrendous happened to me after uni other than the general knocks and bangs people get in life. Who stole my confidence away?
Sometimes I see glimmers of it reappearing (like every Thursday evening after Stitch & Bitch when we visit Sainsburys to check out the reduced section) and I try to catch hold of it before it slithers away.
I think there have been 2 major culprits responsible for keeping my confidence hidden away recently.
1. Being in an unhappy relationship. (I really did think I was happy, but looking back, my confidence and happiness and general “me”-ness was being slowly sucked out of me)
2. Putting on weight
It’s hard to maintain confidence when nothing fits and everything that does fit looks crap on you. It’s hard to maintain confidence when you know that you’re out of control with your eating. It’s hard to maintain confidence when you know that everyone is thinking to themselves “My god, how big has she got recently?!”
Readjusting to wearing nice clothes has been one of the hardest things about losing weight. In a way, when I was bigger it was easier, there was a limited selection of clothes to choose from and that actually makes life kind of comfortable. Now that I’m a size that high street shops stock I am completely bewildered and overwhelmed.
I suddenly realised the other day that a similar pattern emerges when I go shopping now. I see something I love, go over to it and then a little voice goes “Yeah but can you get away with that?”
It’s always that phrase. Not “will it fit?” or “does it suit you?” It’s “can you get away with that?" It’s a bizarre phrase and one which always seems to work on me because I put down the piece of clothing I love and turn away, too scared to give it a go.
It didn’t used to be the case you know. Back in the day if I liked it, I bought it. I wore tops with zips and tops that tied at the back with bits of string. I wore a dress to the Halls of Residence Christmas ball that was some asymmetric number that barely skimmed my behind. I had jeans that were emblazoned with the word DIRTY in bright pink capitals on the back (for reals). But then this was the girl that was happy to introduce herself to a building full of strangers and ask them to come on a night out.
So I am trying to re-programme myself and trying to keep hold of those shreds of confidence that keep appearing, with the aim of knitting them together into some kind of Cloak of Confidence.
The work’s Christmas do is tomorrow and I went to look for something new to wear to it. I didn’t go last year. I got all dressed up for it and walked halfway down the stairs and then didn’t go out because I felt so fat and disgusting. Bad times. This year I feel like I am actually a different person to that one a year ago – I need to dress like it too. Nothing shapeless and nothing bloody black.
I saw The Dress some time ago and it’s been in my brain ever since. It was love at first sight. But the niggle was there – “Can you get away with that?” it said. So I decided to put the voice to the test and I marched into Next, grabbed my size off the rail (oh what a refreshing feeling to be able to do that) and went into the changing rooms. I tried it on. I looked as critically as I could (not a hard task as every woman can appreciate) and I came to the conclusion that I could wear this dress. It did fit and it did suit me, the only thing holding me back was the voice.
9 years ago I wouldn’t have hesitated about buying this dress. So I summoned up the 18 year old me and told the voice to do one.
It hangs on the back of my bedroom door and I feel a little faint when I look at it. It is about 48 inches shorter than anything I’ve worn for a long time. I’ve had my wobbles.
But come Friday 17th December I’m going to be wearing it.
And it’s going to be fabulous. (I might just need a couple of vodkas to steady the ol' nerves is all.)
In other news: This is my 100th post. Hurrah! There will be a giveaway in the New Year methinks.