Quite unexpectedly on a shopping trip yesterday I saw a crop top, tried it on and decided to buy it. My first ever crop top in the 29 years I’ve been on the planet. Hurray, hoorah… does it really require a blog post though? Well, actually I think it does. Let me explain why.
On Instagram, someone asked me why it had took so long. I replied in the usual fashion, but I was shying away from the truth.
When I was 19 at university, I briefly went out with a guy who dumped me because he thought my stomach was, and I directly quote him: “fat and disgusting.” On one occasion he actually pinched my stomach and said it to me again, telling me I needed to lose weight. I’m 5’7 and weighed around 9 and a half stone, for your reference. He even went up to his friend at the time and told him he should dump his girlfriend because she was “fat” too.
As daft as this now sounds, for years afterwards I became very self conscious of the way my stomach looked, especially as I have always been prone to bloating and whenever I do put weight on, as it always goes on my stomach area.
What I found disappointing at the time is that my “friends” around me mostly said nothing, and continued to be friends with him after I told them what he said. Were they just too spineless to challenge him, or did they agree with him, or did they just not care because it wasn’t being directed at them? Either way, you realise that most people in life are “associates” not “friends”.
Fast forward a decade, and 29-year-old me is a very different beast to the 19-year-old me on so many levels. For one, I would now most certainly not wait to be dumped because I don’t reach some absolutely pathetic ideal that such a crass, warped individual has decided I should adhere to. But, trying on that crop top yesterday and buying it without feeling self conscious of my stomach area was a great feeling, I’m not going to lie.
Yes, I do work out and I do a lot of cardio (I have thoracic outlet syndrome which prevents me from lifting, so cardio and pilates is pretty much all I can do!) But, if anything this is more for my mental health than anything else. Though, losing a couple of pounds every so often is a great feeling even if it’s not my main goal. Plus, you can very easily put the “weight” back on with muscle, which is more denser than fat.
Whilst negative comments can jolt people into a healthier lifestyle, they can also be incredibly damaging. In my case, the comments were not well intended, they were aimed to mock and chip at my confidence, probably in response to the fact he didn’t feel that confident so took it out on my self-esteem. 19-year-old me let it happen, and I wonder how many other people have changed the way they dress in response to one persons stupid, idiotic comments which have absolutely no bearing on how we should be able to present ourselves?
So I bought that crop top yesterday, and I might even buy some more in the future. If I look a little bloated towards the end of the day, does anybody really care? If you do care enough to tell me, quite honestly there are much worse things going on in our world, and to it that could really benefit from your tenaciousness instead.
Over the years and particularly as a child who was heavily bullied at school I’ve come to realise that humans can make some pretty awful, soul destroying (at the time) comments. On reflection, what I’ve learned is that these comments are never about you in the way you think they are, rather about the person making them. All that really matters is how you feel about yourself. If you want to wear something then, go out and wear it.
This got me thinking? How many people out there now don’t wear something they’d like to because they are afraid of being ridiculed? It’s time to stop and life your life exactly as you wish, wearing the clothes that you want to.
P.S: Mums who don’t teach their boys manners and respect towards other women, do better please. This is a good place to start. Ta.