May 20, 2016

It Doesn't Matter

The pair of jean capris on the left are a size 14. The black exercise capris on the right are a size 4/6. Somehow... they both fit me. The pair of culottes I have on currently are a size medium, and they are slightly tighter around the waist than the size 4/6 capris. I have a pair of size 12 jean capris that I bought last year that I can't even get zippered . I'll state right now that the size 4/6 is a huge anomaly for me, and it must be due in part to the miraculous stretchy fabric qualities of exercise pants, because I don't remember how old I could have been when a size small pants would have fit me on a regular basis.

 For a long time, I let my weight define what worth I gave myself as a person. I moved away from that, but over time the size of the clothing I wore took the place of my weight as a marker for my self esteem. I watched as the size clothing I could comfortably fit into got larger, and favorite pieces of clothing had to be abandoned because they didn't fit into me anymore. I will be the first to admit - for a long time, I did nothing to counteract my slow, steady weight gain. Over the winter, I eventually came to terms with the size I am and realized that it doesn't really matter what the number on the tag is as long as the clothes fit me well and make me feel confident and happy.

 Of course, I'm only human and I have plenty of days where I find the loosest outfits I have because I don't want to look at the multitude of curves that hang out in places I wish they weren't. Whenever I read about how the actress Amy Schumer gets dubbed as plus size for being an 8, I cringe and shrivel up a little inside because I'm regularly a 12 or a 14 on occasion - so what do people think of me???

I would love to lose a few pounds and be able to wear more form fitting clothing without being self conscious of the curves of my stomach that make me wonder if someone glancing at me might think I'm pregnant. While I do think I look a bit better with my more rounded face compared to the narrower face of my youth, I'd really love to lose the double chin that likes to sneak into photographs.
Discovering the pair of 4/6 capris the other week really drove home forme that clothing sizes are very arbitrary and it really. doesn't. matter. It doesn't matter how much I weigh. I'd love to lose a few pounds, and losing a size or two would be great - because there are some skirts and dresses I have that I love and want to be able to wear again! I'm working out again, but this time I'm going to focus on becoming strong, not losing weight. My goal is to be fit and happy with who I am, not obsess over the number on my clothing tags that society has decided is a marker for how valuable of a person you are.

If you read this, I hope that the next time you try to wear something that doesn't fit the way it used to, or you grab a shirt off the rack that you love only to find out it's way too small and you become discouraged and disgusted with yourself that you take a moment to remember the size of your clothing isn't important. YOU are important. You are a wonderful, amazing human being who has the strength to refuse a number the power of defining your worth.

May 12, 2016

Tomorrow, I am Graduating

Tomorrow I will graduate with my Associates Degree in Hospitality Management. It's been a long road to get to this point... I began my college journey at North Central College in Naperville, that lasted for a year and a term before it crumbled down around me and left me standing lost in a pile of my plans and goals. It took a while to get myself out of the debris of my old dreams and find the motivation and start building a new one.

I picked HM on a whim, but it wasn't long into my first semester at JJC before I'd fallen in love. This career is where I'm meant to be. The hospitality industry, and especially hotels, are my people.

It's not all joy and exhilaration at finishing. I sometimes feel that I'm a little bit of a failure because I'm 24 and only just now have an associate degree - not even a bachelors. I feel like I should be more than what I am, and what I've done isn't good enough. The ceremony tomorrow itself won't be without some sorrow. Due to circumstances beyond our control, my boyfriend won't be there, and I never in a million years thought I'd walk across the stage without him sitting there. But he's been there for me, loving, encouraging and supporting me every step of the way and I know that him not being there in person doesn't mean he won't be doing just that tomorrow as I take this next step in my life. I wouldn't be here today without him and his unfailing confidence in me and my abilities. I also wouldn't have gotten here without my parents and their encouragement, or without the inspiration of my two awesome teachers.

Even in spite of my doubts in myself, I'm proud of who I've become and what I've accomplished. It may not be picture prefect, but tomorrow I'm accomplishing one of my dreams. Tomorrow I am graduating, dammit.