It’s one of those facts you eventually have to face up to – at twenty-six years old, I am no longer the same size I was when I was eighteen.
This isn’t exactly a brand new revelation. I have an underactive thyroid and mental health issues that I frequently treat by indulging my sweet tooth. I’m less active now; I spend a reasonable amount of my time at my desk when at least in retail I was on my feet for those three hours a day. I still exercise once a week and walk places a lot, but I’ve put on about three to four stone in the last eight years.
When I was eighteen I was pretty slender, so this isn’t as much of a problem as it could be. I have boobs now, for one, something that A-cup eighteen-year-old me would’ve killed for. I am curvier, I am chunkier. I’m a size 14-16 in jeans, trousers and skirts, and a size 12 in tops. Generally I’m okay with this. I’d like to be a bit fitter and stronger (although asthma doesn’t help the cardiovascular shit), but I do my damndest not to let the world fat-shame me into hating my body. I had an eating disorder when I was fifteen, and I’d rather not do that again, thank you.
The trouble is, I’ve not really been at a financially comfortable point in the last eight years either, and so the vast majority of my tops and such are all from that time period. Some – the size 8s – have long been given up as ‘not a chance in hell’. Some of the size 10s are old enough and comfy enough that I can still wear them. Others are just that little bit too tight – around the arms, around the chest – and more and more I’m starting to realise that I’m not doing myself any favours with regard to my self image by constantly struggling with clothes that are too small.
Most of the new clothes I’ve bought in this time have been from charity shops, and if I ever do manage to put some money aside to get more, that’ll have to be where I go this time too. Even places like George at Asda and Tu at Sainsbury’s, while decently priced, will quickly add up and make getting the vast majority of a new wardrobe very tricky. At the moment I have no money, and so I’m torn between going through and sorting out all the doesn’t-fit-comfortably clothes and taking them to donate, leaving myself with a very limited wardrobe, or waiting and enduring. It’s a dilemma I’ve been weighing up (hurr, weight) for the last two years, probably.
I’m starting to lean towards it being time to get rid of the clothes that are too small.
It’s going to be at least six months of scrimping and being incredibly tight-fisted before I get back to point zero and can consider saving up to actually buy things. That’s assuming that no unexpected expenses come up in that time, and that I basically ignore Christmas for the most part. A painful possibility but when you only get just under £60 per week, that’s the way it goes. Nonetheless, each time I pick up a top I used to love and pull it on only to find it pinches my upper arms or is stretched ridiculously tight over my breasts, it chips away at the sense of self and confidence that I battle to maintain, and that’s really an unacceptable cost.
It’s been long enough. Time to face facts: I’m not a size 10 any more.