Taking My Time (previous blog post)

Taking My Time

Sophie Johnston


I peered over at my mother wistfully, letting out a long sigh.

I squeezed, sucked in, held my breath. Seventeen dresses, not a single one fitting the way that I wished it would. I was stubborn; I refused to buy a plus-sized dress. I wanted what I wanted and refused to settle for less (or more, in this case). My mother pleaded, trying to bargain with me, telling me that one size up wouldn’t hurt, but I remained silent, tears threatening to fall. I had grown to believe that beauty lay within size, that self-worth can be read off of a tag attached to a dress. After a painful moment of silence, she walked over to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. We both stood there in front of the mirror, both holding back tears, both torn apart by the cruelty of unrealistic standards’ until she spoke: “A number cannot make you less beautiful. Your time will come, love.” For so long, I couldn’t understand what she meant by my time. I waited and waited, but nothing changed. I spent so long avoiding the mirror, finding clothing items that were considered slimming and staying as far away from dresses as I could. Skipping meals, fad diets, weighing myself each day became normality. I had convinced myself that changing my body into something it wasn’t was the only answer. Nothing that I did could change the way that I felt. Nothing was making me happy. I was so tired of feeling uncomfortable and trapped in my own body.  I had tried so hard, waited so long, but my time never came.

With an eventual awareness of so much time wasted, I  finally decided to take my time. I am taking back the years of my life that were consumed by self-hatred and embarrassment. I will no longer allow myself to be defined by a number on a tag. My stomach does not need to be ‘cute’, it holds my internal organs. My legs do not need to be flawless, they carry me places. I cannot force someone to love a body that even I do not love. My worth cannot be defined by models on the cover a magazine, a number on the scale, or the size of a dress. Slowly but surely, I am learning to love my body. I cannot shame my body into a smaller dress. Two years ago, all I could see was the way my hips curved out further than the girls’ at school, the ugly white marks scrawled across my stomach and the backs of my legs, or the way my thighs pushed together when I stood straight. When I see myself now, I see hips curving out like those of a goddess, white lightning bolts scattered across my skin and legs that could carry me anywhere I need to go -- a body containing life, one worthy of love. There is no weight limit in matters of love.

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