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My Actual Size

From the point in my life where I truly became “aware” of sizing (more specifically mine), I was a Size 4. Comfortably. Over time, I started to identify with this fact. That sounds weirder than it probably is — all I mean is that I knew easily and without hesitation that I had brown hair, freckles and was a Size 4. I had nothing against other sizes per se.  Those other sizes just… weren’t mine. I was a Size 4.

As I transitioned into maternity clothing, I was not the least bit worried about growing out of a Size 4. I assumed it would be a temporary adjustment and that with time, I’d come back to my “normal” size. After my traumatic labor and delivery, I was in no rush to return to a Size 4. Losing weight was the last thing on my mind. I did however, continue to assume that in the future I would eventually be a Size 4 again.

At roughly six month postpartum, I set out to lose the weight. It was relatively easy for me. I started working out a few days a week. I cut down my nightly wine habit. I brought a healthy lunch to work instead of ordering delivery. Before long, I was once again comfortable in a Size 4. That journey, if anything, only cemented in my mind that I was indeed, a Size 4.

But here’s the thing… that’s changed.

It has taken me many, many months to admit that’s changed. Not necessarily because I’m ashamed of no longer being a Size 4 (I’m not) but because being a Size 4 has been such an active part of my identity for nearly my entire adult life. It felt odd to disassociate myself from it.

However, over the past several months my mood instantly soured when I got dressed. It took me awhile to figure out the reason. One day, it hit me: The act of getting dressed made me feel bad about my body.

Each time I’d zip up my Size 4 pants, my self-esteem would plummet. Sure, they zipped. I could even sit in them and somewhat breathe in them. But they were not actually comfortable to me. In fact, I’d find myself unbuttoning them if I sat at my desk for long periods of time. Or immediately rushing to take them off when I got home. Once off, I instantly felt better about myself.

You see, I like my body. I like my lifestyle.
I didn’t like my pants.

I was allowing an arbitrary tag number sewn into a waistline determine how I felt about my body and my lifestyle. I realized that the pants hanging in my closet are 100% within my control. I was literally choosing to feel bad about myself.

Is it silly to identify with being a particular size? Maybe; maybe not.
Is it silly to continue to identity as any particular size when it is making you feel bad about a life and body you are otherwise content with? YES!

“If it costs you your peace, it is too expensive.”
Being a Size 4 is too expensive for me in this stage of life.

In this stage, I’m putting in extra hours at the office.
In this stage, I’m only able to hit the gym on occasion.
In this stage, I use my downtime to play with my toddler and catch up on self-care.
In this stage, I want to occasionally enjoy ice cream or cupcakes with said toddler.
In this stage, I enjoy unwinding with hot baths and cold glasses of Chardonnay.
In this stage, I am a Size 6.

In the next stage, I may be a Size 4 again. Or not. I could be a Size 8 or a Size 10.
Hell, in the next stage I may no longer be a brunette (hello age!).
That’s going to be okay with me too because being healthy and content does not come only in particular sizes or colors.

I’ll be 32 in a few months. I’m ashamed that it has taken me that long to learn that cornerstones of my identity may need to fluctuate. For me, that was the size of my pants. For you, it may be something else entirely. Either way, it is okay to be happy being something other than what you’ve always identified yourself with — time and circumstance molds us all.

Today, I’m happy being a Size 6. And being nearly 32. And being a brunette — but I now truly understand that all of the above are subject to change.

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