I threw away some clothes this morning. Some clothes which don’t fit any more. They are too small and if I wear them for too long, they leave marks on my skin as if I’m still wearing them even when I’m not, some sort of reminder that they don’t fit the me that I am now. I didn’t think twice about it, placing them into a charity bag without a second thought and went on with my day.
The me that I used to be would have cried over my lack of self control and be ashamed; the me that I used to be would have been ashamed that I had let myself go. The me that I used to be would have seen that as a red flag and spent hours wondering how I went wrong and how I could rectify my ‘mistake’. There was a time where I would weigh myself 20 times a day and tear myself apart over the number on the scale – that number defined me as a person for years yet however low the number, it was never enough yet I was always too much. I have spent more time that I care to mention with my head down a toilet, my knuckles raw, hating myself more with every purge and every binge. I have spent more time than I can bear to think about counting out how many calories a 100g portion of sugar free jelly and a litre of Diet Coke contained; that was my staple diet for 6 months and anything else I would punish myself for consuming. The scars on my back are still there from where my mattress would rub my spine when I slept and I’ll openly admit that I’m still a little scared by mayonnaise; I think I always will be.
It’s taken me eight really, really long years to be able to look at myself unclothed and not hate what I see. It’s taken me 4 relapses, one emotionally abuse relationship and one daughter I was told I’d probably ruined my chances of having to realise that I am worth more. I am worth more than any number on any scales and any number on any label inside my clothes. It’s taken counselling sessions, freak outs over full fat yogurts and my mum asking me not to slip away from life on my 16th birthday to finally feel happy within my skin. For the first time, I feel like the me I should have been all along. The me I was searching for wasn’t the girl who passed out during her GCSE drama exam because she hadn’t eaten in two days or the girl who carried a tape measure around so she could see how big her waist had become after drinking a coffee.
I am the woman who goes out for lunch and doesn’t read the calorie guide on a menu. I am the woman who can take her daughter out for hot chocolate with all of the marshmallows. I am the woman who eats cake, a lot, because I like it and it’s what I want to do. I am the woman who lets her fiancé see her naked and most of the time, believes him when he tells me I’m beautiful. Most importantly, I am the woman who doesn’t define her worth based on her looks any more, because I am stronger now that I have ever been before.
Maddy is mama to two year old Poppy and spends most of her time working long hours in a coffee shop. She lives in Hampshire, England, with her Tinder sweetheart Mat. She can be found baking for no good reason (dreams of being a modern Mary Berry) and carting around a camera regularly.