Life is not like shoe-shopping or buying the perfect dress. It’s slightly more complicated. You’re not born into a perfect life, you grow up trying to fit into the life you’ve got sometimes being too big, sometimes too small. I grew up wanting that perfect fit, where everything feels right. Yet, that meant cutting back on things that gave me happiness like giving up chocolate to please your calorie-counter. Of course, after a point, you give in because you don’t think it’s going to work, but then you live wondering what it would have been to feel that perfect fit.
From my experience, it’s easier to fit into a dress than to fit into my life. Maybe that’s because in the former case you can see tangible results. Lately, as I’ve been thinking about it and life seeps away like a leaking tap, even though I’ve closed it as tight as I can I realise that I’ve no idea what I’m really doing. I’m starting to get pulled in different directions having to desperately decide where I really want to go.
Whenever I made a decision I was told I had to make the choice that would positively impact my life, but if only I could see that far. As a teenager, the perfect fit made so much sense because I clearly knew which standards I wanted to meet. I think with age people lose perspective. With time you spread yourself thin, trying to juggle more than you had to before. The meaning of the ‘perfect fit’ has also changed so much.
There was only one Cinderella, and perhaps there is a reason for that. What even is a perfect fit, even if you look at it in the most basic terms you find that in our lives we change sizes within days, we fluctuate, our tastes change, our sizes do too, everything. Yet we walk into a shop hoping to find a shoe or shirt made for us.
I’m on meds and as much as I need it, it’s been particularly tough for me to combat the weight gain that comes with it. People in my position would understand. I lost weight before I was on the meds, becoming paler and unhealthy. With the meds, I began to gain weight and I was told I had to control it. I had to exercise twice as hard than I had before just to maintain my original weight. When it began I found myself angrily throwing clothes out of my cupboard, crying that I didn’t fit into them.
As someone who has always been athletic and fit, it was a huge hit to my self-esteem. I went back to being my fifteen-year-old self who was struggling with being taller than the other girls, adjusting to the new body I had thanks to puberty and judging myself every time I got on the weighing scale. I only came to terms with it at fifteen when my coach told me that I had the weight not because I was fat but because I was gaining muscle.
I was a runner, I played Badminton and Squash, I used to skate and I used to work out every day regularly because my Dad and my sister were both sportspeople and I learned watching them. But I still felt bigger than I had to be, every girl seemed skinnier and prettier. I only felt like it was ok when I was on the court. I loved it too I won’t lie because at that point sports was the only thing I was good at.
Eventually, I came to terms with it, when I was able to play my best game, was stronger than my Dad and was able to beat my time every time I ran. I realised nobody could take that strength away from me, even if I wore an L and not an M. But when the meds came into my life and my body suddenly changed, I was back trying to feel good about myself but only wanting to hide.
Much like in life, you can only spend so much time pitying yourself. So I threw myself back into working out this year harder than I had ever before. I was ashamed to admit to those who noticed, a lot of people didn’t get why I was out of shape, relatives and friends pointed it out because that’s what they do, and I had to defend myself.
Everybody knew I was on meds and I was going through depression but they still found my weight gain a surprise. They’d say, “What happened?” And I had no idea what to say. I wished then that I had always been overweight so if I put on a little weight people wouldn’t point it out like it was a surprising fact. I was warned by the doctor about the weight gain but it was shocking to see it happen.
Out of anger, I worked twice as hard, and suddenly my trainer and my therapist pointed out that I had come back to the weight I had previously been. I was still seeing a bloated person in the mirror and to test their claims I pried the pair of faded jeans I was wearing since I was fifteen, from the back of the cupboard where I had thrown it because I couldn’t fit into it and tried it on. I remember crying when it finally fit. As someone who has always played sports I knew one day I’d return to being fit, but when the pair of jeans fit comfortably I finally believed that I could change anything.
There is no perfect fit, and it’s not about the perfect fit. I used to pin all my hopes on that perfect fit, in clothes, in love, in education, everything. As a five-year-old I proudly said I wanted to be the tallest girl in the world and have the biggest muscles, but as a teenager, I prayed every day that I wouldn’t grow another inch and that my shoulders which had become muscular because of training hard would go back to looking “feminine” and smaller which now seems so stupid of me to think.
I’ve since then learnt (and for the second time re-learnt this year) that if something doesn’t fit it’s time to accept it and look at the positives, that’s why we have so many sizes in the world and that if it doesn’t fit now it doesn’t mean that it won’t fit later. It’s time I gave up the perfect fit for my fit. If someone doesn’t think I am not the perfect fit, maybe they’re not the perfect fit for me.