I can’t believe I have now finished and shot my Language of Flowers bridal collection, two days before my 24th birthday. The run up to these things are just so intense. I took on slightly more than was comfortable to chew. This meant lack of free time and temporarily giving up ‘human things’.
I always gain weight when I create a collection. This time hasn’t been any different. The smooth slick 5lbs I have put on in the run up to this shoot are totally insignificant to the other things I have gained. I am aware I have a skill, a skill I need to keep nurturing and pushing to its limits, but a skill nonetheless. I am also blessed with a lovely home, family who care greatly for me and the best friends and social circle I believe any one could ask for. My weight does not define me or make me who I am; these factors do.
If I could tell thin 14 year old me, who used to count her ribs in the mirror, one piece of advice it would be this: ‘you will get fatter and you will get happier’. And she would’ve laughed in my face. Weight is such a big deal when you’re growing up, and to be 5ft 7 with wider hips than the other girls at age 14 seemed like my ultimate battle. But size 10 jeans seem like a long way away now, in a totally different life.
The point I am about to make may be a tad controversial. It’s my opinion, not meant to offend. The scales don’t define your worth, this is absolutely true. They don’t tell your story and the number really is just a number; but maybe they indicate how you feel about yourself. Maybe this extra 5lbs says to me (in a macho voice) ‘look dude, I may be 5lbs but I represent the way you went for days of barely leaving the house because you were weighed under your workload. I am the 8500 steps you didn’t take each day for a month, and the missed swimming sessions you never made because you pushed yourself too hard to get things done that you forgot about me. I am the yoga class you so badly wanted to take up but didn’t prioritise the time for. I am the 1am toast you ate to try and perk yourself up so you could keep going while the rest of the world sleeps. I am the jar of peanut butter you started to eat with a spoon at 2.30am because you were sure you could do just one more hour.’
I know that I am not huge, in fact I am ‘average’ size (whatever that means) for a UK woman, and I am in a weird place where I do actually love so many things about my life, and I genuinely don’t hate my body. How many women (and men) can say that? So no, your weight doesn’t define you, but maybe it lets you know how you’re feeling about yourself, and if you’re being kind enough to yourself and treating it properly.
Size 10 me hated her body. She made poor choices because of that hate, and never believed she would feel comfortable in her own skin.
Size 16 me has spoken publicly in front of big audiences, dressed celebrities, been featured in magazines, walked runways, shown at fashion weeks, travelled abroad for work and play, been a mentor, a friend, a woman-of-many-poor-dates, taken risks, graduated, set up a fashion label and still believes in the impossible. But she also pushes herself too hard sometimes.
The scales tell me to love myself and to treat my body better. They don’t define me: they remind me.