You know what it’s like. The end of a long week, and I mean the working week so a Friday, and I just needed something to perk me up. I saw someone wearing some kind of plaid skirt but rather than rush around town trying to find something new I thought it better to pop into my wardrobe and dig out one of my older but under used similar skirts. It was going to be another Friday night in but with a glass of red waiting there was every reason to leave work early and get home.
It’s all a bit silly chucking on a short skirt before dropping some pasta into a pan of boiling water but I’m unlikely to be wearing something this short anywhere anytime soon. Given its length, or lack of, wearing of the short dark blue plaid skirt of the Miss Selfridge kind was going to be confined to my home. The thing must be nearly ten years old but even so it’s lasted well.
Pulled out a load of clothes from that part of the wardrobe that conceals those clothes from my past that the hoarder in me just can’t throw out. The keepers of my youth. The late twenties when ‘I’ started going outdoors. There it was like a jewel amongst other cotton threaded jewels. It came out from between the clothes perfectly uncreased. I pulled it up just past my hips towards my waist and pulled on the side-zip which stopped with a yanking grip. It just didn’t fit. With some lateral thinking I pulled the skirt a little higher towards my waist and pulled at the zip again. It moved no more than a finger nail width. I pulled the skirt up again but soon realised that the bottom of the skirt was no longer covering rearward things that needed to be covered at an age where my twenties have slid away and where covering said things was the done thing.
Had I really put that much weight on? With all the running. I’d never been so disheartened but it wasn’t just noticing a little more skin-clad-fat or struggling to pull up some jeans. This wasn’t just getting the zip to the top. This was the feeling of boobs juggling a little as I ran down the stairs yesterday. Sure, I seem to have a little bit of an A cup now but this is purely increased size from comfort eating rather than estrogen-fuelled and thighs slowly being lined with shards of Cadburys Flakes. To top it off I’m bless with a bit of bloating, another gift that mostly affects the female population that I’ve picked up over the last few years. Compounded, these complications put me in the direction that I don’t want to be. I haven’t let it get me down. It’s just time to increase my exercise. To supplement my running with an aerobics DVD, dusted down and played twice this week.
This week I found a rip in my jeans. I didn’t have time to repair them. It was late and I had to get up for work early enough for it to be a struggle for me; which generally is any time before eight. I rummaged around in the wardrobe. I was sure there were another pair of jeans that were smart enough for work and without sparkles on the bum pocket or slices across the knees that would give cause for concern. I found them. Why had I not used these. I tried them on and realised that those shards of Flake had made them a little tight at the top of the thighs. ‘They’ll just have to do’, I thought.
I arrived in work the next morning and before I could get to my desk I was ambushed by a project manager wanting a conversation before I’d even got my head straight. I don’t rely on caffeine, but even so, this was a difficult time to get anything useful out of me. After a little conversation about some very dry project problems he turned to the new boy, who we shall for the sake of anonymity call New Boy. He’s not a boy, he is a man but in his mid-twenties with a face so cleanly shaved through lack of any real stubble growth to cut and china white skin and the fact he’s only been with us for a few weeks – I feel justified in naming him New Boy rather than something fictional like Greg, Lloyd or something really bizarre like Picon.
“So yeah, if we catch up about it this afternoon.”, he said which I had no real idea what he was referring and it would be at least half an hour before I’d even consider what it was that was so important that we’d speak about. “We’ll go through it and…”, and then his eye’s wondered down similar to those who just can’t talk to a woman without talking at their breasts but in this case it was my jeans and crotch. May be tightish women’s jeans are just too much for men. His eye just didn’t shake away until we finished talking.
My size twelves are now either too small or getting too tight. The few size fourteen I have are just about right and the few size tens just make me look pregnant like I’m about to give birth to a few pints of ale. One of my favourites, a red plaid cotton skirt that is so light though I have to be careful it doesn’t catch the wind, is a twelve that fits just right but I can feel it just starting to just grab my hips like a tight belt. This was the shock I needed to get me exercising more and reducing the sugar intake.
It’s not the clothes I’m doing this for. It’s for my body. I know how I feel when my body is the right shape. There has been the odd year here and there where I was just in the right shape. No real tummy other than the curve I want. No deposits of morning breakfast croissants around the hips and legs that are slender enough and curved from a pair of running shorts that I feel proud of and comfortable showing. Tight t-shirts for running that doesn’t provide a shelf of a belly to put my breakfast on. It’s not even about vanity. It’s about self awareness. Spiritual belief in how I feel I view myself and that mind image matching the outer image to others and to myself in the mirror. May be it’s spiritual-vanity? Whatever it is it makes me feel happy and when I don’t have it, when I’m in conflict between these two images, then there is a spoonful of constant unhappiness.
The recognition of this unhappiness is enough to push me into that exercise routine. Enough to get me to run the sea front twice rather than once or even twice and another half just for good measure. We will just have to see how it works out. Fighting against the body’s desire to add a little more winter protective layers; as we all do.
I’m apprehensive about buying those new jeans I so greatly need. The last thing I want to do is buy some that I love and adore but then I end up shrinking from what would probably be a pair of fourteens and no longer be able to wear them.
So here is to the next eight weeks or so to get myself back into my favourites. Wish me luck.
Until next time.