I learned an important lesson last week and it is this: Do not wear clothes that you know might be too small on you. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it.
Think about the last time you wore clothes that were too small for you.
How did that make you feel?
What did you do?
I’ll tell you how I feel when I decide to wear clothes that no longer fit my body.
I feel lousy, like I’ve let myself go.
I feel big, like I’m exploding out the seams of my clothes.
I feel an urge to do something that might alter my body.
And what do I actually do when these feeling onset?
I become moody.
I become mean—to myself—and sometimes others.
I get jealous of those who live outside my body.
Too many times I’ve put on a pair of jeans that were too tight and mistakenly left the house in them, having to unbutton them as soon as I was out of public to release the tension. More than once, I’ve made the decision to wear shorts that were too short and too tight, making the circulation of my legs cry out for mercy everytime I sat down somewhere.
Why do I do it?
- I’m stubborn. I have clothes I’ve spent a lot of money on. Items of fabric I love being able to call mine and get compliments on each time I do decide to wear them.
- Sometimes I can’t find anything to match whatever else I have on, so I ignore the feelings and wear the tight clothes anyways, forgetting how long I’m going to have to be in them for.
- Deep down, I think wearing the small clothes might just motivate me to stop being so out of control with food and get my weight under control.
Getting dressed the last four years of my life has become very frustrating. I’ve altered my weight more times than I’m proud of, and in 2015, lost more weight than I even knew my body was capable of. At that time, my family and friends saw my loss of weight as shock, while I counted it as a place of victory I had succeeded.
I got rid of all my bigger clothes, laughing in my closet about how “large” I once was, and how it was a size I would never dare let myself get to again. I was redoing my wardrobe with tiny, double zero jeans and extra small shirts thinking these were the items that defined my beauty.
The day I hauled out bags of clothes that no longer fit me from my room, my mom told me to pause and reconsider.
What if I got back to that size one day?
That was a lot of clothes to give away.
Was I sure I wanted to do that?
But instead of reconsidering or even giving the concern of my mother thought, I laughed at her.
That’s not going to happen mom.
I’m never going to get back to that size.
This is who I am now.
It did happen.
I am that size now.
It’s who I am.
And that’s okay.
I’ve taken two bags of clothes that no longer fit, to my local Goodwill down the road and this time, I’m sure I won’t ever be needing to wear those clothes again because I know that for me, healthy doesn’t come in a double zero and extra small. For some people, it does. But when my body was that small, I was not well.
Giving clothes away this time was not as easy. With each item I tossed in the bag, there were hesitation and thoughts that crossed my mind about getting back to that size. For two weeks, the bags just sat in my storage room. I couldn’t bring myself to give them away because I for so long, I placed my identity into tiny clothes and thigh gaps.
So, I held on to them.
I got curious. Why do I want to keep these clothes?
I cried. Why am I still struggling with disordered behaviors?
And then one day, I just did it. With God and community by my side, I felt strength to forget about the money and all the matching/perfect outfits, and to remember my promise to God and to myself, to never go back to the scary depths of my eating disorder.
However, I’ve still hung on to certain items because change doesn’t happen overnight and I’m a work in process. When I put on a pair of too tight leggings the other day though, I didn’t feel too good. I started to feel shame for taking up the space I do in this world and grabbed at my thighs while picking myself apart in front of the mirror.
I’ve noticed an incredible difference in the way I feel when I wear loose clothing, or clothing that hangs on my body in a flattering way. Jeans that don’t hurt my tummy when I sit, and shirts that compliment my figure for what it is—not what this world sometimes tries to force it to be.
I’ve realized that my too small clothes only bring me back to scary thoughts and tolls of anxiety. They make me feel like I can’t have that piece of chocolate or cup of ice cream I crave after dinner. They feed me lies.
Some days I find myself upset, being reintroduced to a foreign body after already adapting to a small body once before. I don’t always look forward to the dressing room and there are times when I still curse the cellulite on the backs of my legs, or my well nourished limbs and belly.
But we don’t have to feel shame for taking up space in this world—regardless of how little, or how much space we take up.
I’m reminding myself constantly, how much stronger I am both mentally and physically since finding my healthy. I no longer possess brittle bones and have a newfound strength through the Lord that guides and leads me when I start to forget my worth or go atray.
My clothing size does not define me, and neither does yours. Your name is worthy, and it’s a name that’s been given to you by a King whose name is greater than any other.
So, the next time you find yourself in clothes that no longer fit, do yourself a favor and tell them goodbye with both grace and compassion for the person you were, the person you are, and the person you still have yet to be.