A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Self Love. I said that the time at which I felt this overwhelmingly, was after I had been travelling. A lack of mirrors, a sense of freedom and free from any sought of ‘societal pressure.’ I knew that maintaining this feeling would be hard but, I’d been doing quite well in practising what I preach, until…I went into Mango changing rooms on Oxford Street.
Firstly, why the fuck do high street shops not understand that in order for me to purchase their clothes, I need to look good in them. Don’t light the changing rooms with a bright white light that enhances every lump, bump and strain of cellulite. Normally I wouldn’t have persisted when I knew that I wasn’t feeling myself, but I had to exchange a Christmas present before the end of the return period. So the pressure was on. Especially as the Jeans in question were a constant reminder of how large my thighs are.
With piles of trousers in my hands, I stood in front of the mirror and began to change. Most of the items failed to get past my knees and on 5th attempt of pulling on a pair of uncooperative trousers I began to sweat. Hot from the bright light and the stress of the fact that nothing in this fucking shop fucking fit me.
Don’t get me wrong I am well aware that I’m carrying a little Christmas weight but, the fact that I am bigger than the biggest size in this shop, is pretty unacceptable.
And so I arrive at last chance Saloon, the last pair of trousers. I’m now standing with my top lifted up in an attempt to cool myself down, trousers around my ankles and tears in my eyes. It’s pathetic really, but those trousers began to represent all of the times that I had been called fat, or looked in the mirror and didn’t like the reflection looking back at me. Like all of the other pairs, the trousers did not fit. To be honest they would have been better suited as sleeves.

Feeling deflated I put my own jeans back on, which now felt like a hug from an old friend, pulled myself together and left the changing room. I politely shook my head when the lady asked me if I wanted to keep anything, and decided to head to my comfort zone. Dresses. You can’t go wrong with a dress, doesn’t even have to be a dress, it can be a kind of kaftan or a shmock. They always fit.
So with a plethora of dresses slung over my arm, I headed back to the changing rooms. A little less hot and a little more optimistic. The only slight problem with dresses is that in order to try them on, you have to remove 90% of your clothing. Not ideal when you’re feeling a little plump and as though you’re standing  in that 360 mirror that Trinny and Susannah used to put people in. Nonetheless, I persisted. Determined to replace the jeans that reminded me constantly of my thunder thighs (thunder thighs, of course is not self-love, but this is how I felt at the time.)

I was however, mistaken. In this instance dresses were not my friend. They didn’t fit, nor did they make me feel any better about myself than the trousers had. At one point I had this dress locked over my head, with the thought that my only solution would be to walk out of the changing rooms, arms and dress in the air and cry for help. Luckily I managed to wriggle my way out. Exhausted I threw the dress on the floor and stood in front of the mirror, and cried. Writing this I feel embarrassed, silly and quite hypocritical. As you know I write a lot about loving yourself no matter what, and in my everyday life I spend my time fanning the flames of my friends, so that they know how incredible they are. Why in this situation could I not have done this for myself?

Sadly, the high street shop is a perfect personification of the boxes that we must fit into. The numbers on the hangers suddenly carry so much significance. A ladder that you’d rather scale down than climb up. And when like me, you reach the top and still haven’t found a step that you’re comfortable on, the next one is falling off the top, leaving you without any step to stand on. Of course this is changing, there’s positive movements plastered all over the fashion industry for inclusion. But, it didn’t stop me weeping in a pile of clothes that I had allowed to define my happiness.

That’s when I pulled myself together. They’re clothes for God sake. I’ve got a wardrobe at home full of them that fit me just fine, and have enabled me to work, dance, pull, laugh, run and feel like a sex machine ready to explode. So no, these clothes, in this changing room will not be defining my happiness any longer. I handed everything back to the same lady, that has now taken 22 items of clothing from me and I strutted to the shoes. No matter how fat or thin I get, my big feet will always be big. A pair of white Cowboy boots were the only thing that could replicate how fabulous I needed to feel. And fabulous they are too.

Sitting in my room, they now mean so much more than a pair of shoes. They remind me to never determine my beauty or level of self-love by external forces. That goes for clothes but also for far more dangerous things; like other peoples opinions. These delicious boots will forever be a statement of how little the size on the tag means, and how little the way that you look actually matters, because it’s all about how something makes you feel. I didn’t feel good in any of those jeans that were incapable of reaching over my knees, so I didn’t get them. I feel pretty spicy in these boots, so they are staying.

If you’re feeling a little under staffed in the department of ‘feeling yourself’ (not banging on about masturbation again, I mean feeling good about yourself) then please feel free to take this advice. You can’t feel 10/10 everyday, that’s okay. But, remember that allowing your beauty to be defined by things that aren’t actually important to you, is detrimental. One high street shop is not important. Nor is one negative person, or a pair of scales. Your beauty has to be defined from within, it sounds wanky I KNOW but, you’re pretty much stuck with yourself. The sooner you start to accept that, and the sooner you join your own team, the faster you fall in love with you. That’s beauty. Fuck Mango, their badly lit changing rooms and their unforgiving waistlines. I’ve got skin doing pretty magical things everyday and you’ve always got a pair of comfy trackies: cue Regina George.

‘Sweat pants are the only things that fit me right now.’

Yes they are, and you’re still rocking them.

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