Arbitrary Numbers

05 July, 2013

While putting together this post, another blogger post a link to the following article via Twitter: A 157lb Dissection. It's similar but from a different perspective and definitely well worth the read.

On any given day, any of the following numbers could be used to describe me:
They will tell you my age, measurements, for how many years I have been on some kind of a diet, my height (in centimeters), weight and dress/pants size.

But what those numbers won't and can't do is tell you I am: smart, funny, sarcastic, intelligent, caring, thoughtful, shy, independent, loyal, cool, sensual, introspective, moody, carefree, sexy, hard working and artistic (I certainly could have come up with more adjectives to describe myself but I didn't want to over do it).

Despite all of that, we are judged on that set of numbers every day. And for some, at times including myself, our self worth is based on those numbers as well.

I've spent a lot of time hating those numbers. But even more time being ashamed of them. Judging myself when I'd see a number climb when I didn't want it too after failing miserably when trying to make it go down.

I cringe at how much time I have wasted because of those numbers. But because of that time, I  am (shockingly) in a place where I no longer let those numbers define who I am. To be honest, it doesn't really phase me anymore to say I wear between a 16 and 20 depending on the store (XL or XXL for those stores that don't use numbers) or that my weight is somewhere in the area of 230 but can't say for sure (the last time I stepped on a scale was 2 months ago at the doctors office). Not that anyone should really care, but my inseam is between a 30 and a 32, bra size is 42 and I supposed I'm about 5'8".

What does phase me though is the reactions from others when they hear (or read) those numbers. Because when they do and then hear me say "Not all that worried about any of those numbers" (ok.....that is a lie......I'd like to be taller, but I digress), their perception of what I am saying is that I've given up on my myself.

Rest assured the last thing I have done is give up on myself. My realization that I am more than "just a number" and that my happiness and comfort with who I am is far more important than what that list of numbers might say about me. It can't be be measured in the traditional sense.

Instead it's measured by knowing that when I look in the mirror I no longer hate what I see looking back at me. I no longer poke my belly wishing it was flatter or hating the way my hips curve out in that way. I no longer cry over the lumps and bumps I see or the stretch marks and scars I have that never seem to fade. I no longer dread having to pick something out to wear because an article of clothing might go against some arbitrary fashion rule that if you exceed a certain size you can't wear a certain style, print, etc. I am no longer obsessed with trying to hide my flaws or figure out how to draw attention away from them.

It is measured by my ability to let people in to see who I really am and not who they want or think I should be. It is measured by my knowing my depression, which has always been fuel by low self esteem and terrible body image issues is starting to ebb. It is measured by the fact that I smile more and that I laugh more. It is measured by how many mornings I wake up, happy to experience a new day.

Getting to a place where one truly loves who they are is not an easy path to take because it goes against almost everything we are taught by the media, society and sometimes even our friends and family. But I promise you, taking that leap of faith and deciding to that that path is 100% worth it.

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  1. Such a lovely, honest post... I love that you don't care about the numbers because you're right, they're not important! Well done.

    Meanwhile can I say that the number that I was impressed with is your height? Wish I were that tall! :)

  2. Wow, this is such an amazing post. You are so brave with such a balanced point of view. Thank you for this.

  3. I love you.

    This inspires me so much. I've been struggling with my own self acceptance lately and been working on loving myself, and this just hit the nail on the head. I too, would say that my depression was caused by and then fed into my self hatred.

    As you said, self acceptance is not giving up - it's more like you're giving yourself more than you could before!
    Also, I'm 5'8" as well and am constantly wishing I were shorter! I don't know why this is so hilarious to me.
    xo Kristina Rose

  4. Thanks!
    And yes.......I do love being kind of tall. It does have it perks. :)

  5. Thanks for reading!

  6. Thanks so much for reading!
    And you're right--it's not giving up on yourself, but giving yourself more. I love that perspective.

  7. This is a wonderful piece, and I really needed it today. Thank you, Meg!

  8. Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing that what I write has a positive effect on people.

  9. I loved this post. It was well written and so honest; I think I'll pass it on to some friends. And no one has the right to say you've "given up on yourself" - and even if you felt like that's exactly what you were doing, it is not their place to say where you are on your own path of self-acceptance. There are ups and downs and no one should judge where you're at. No matter what though, I really needed to read this today and I'm glad I did. :)


Thanks for reading!