Size Matters


All jokes aside… does size matter?

According to Racked.Com, 68% of American women wear size 14 — and above. And that number is steadily increasing.

The average woman is 5’3” (a mere inch taller than me), weighs 168.5 pounds, and wears a size 16-18.

I find these stats surprising; not because of whatever research resulted in these numbers (and its validity), but because, according to Racked, I’m pretty darned average these days. I’m a little bit shorter, I still weigh a bit more than their average number, but I actually have a few clothing pieces around that say size 14 on the tag.

Normal? Average? Me?

I have a cedar chest that holds the largest size clothing I ever wore. That includes a pair of jeans in size 32. At that time, that was the largest size the clothing store Catherine’s sold. I was absolutely horrified when I realized that — and yet, there I was.

And here I am. I’m thrilled to death to be under conventional plus sizes; regardless of how the industry looks at it, I go by what the clothing stores generally offer: up to 18 in regular sizes, plus sizes in 16 and up. (Racked considers everything 14 and up to be “plus” sizing, whether it’s marked that way or not.) Not because that number on the tag really means anything — other than price, availability, and style. For whatever reason, a lot of stores still consider anyone in plus sizes as dowdy, old, and shapeless.

The number on the tag doesn’t mean much to me. I know vanity sizing is a big thing; what used to be a size 14 years ago is probably a 10, now. It sells clothing when people think they’re in a smaller size, which just goes to show what a mental game size really is.

Right? RRRiiiigggghhhttt????!

Me, I’m more concerned with the actual measurements of the clothing. Like pretty much every other woman in existence, I have clothing in three or four sizes and they fit the same. There’s not much in the way of consistency. That’s not my point, though.

I don’t think of myself as average. As normal. There may never come a day when I am totally free of the mental idea of being a large sized woman, no matter how much weight I eventually lose. Maybe that’s a good thing, in the long run; I’ve stopped flogging myself for my clothing size, but a little reality check keeps me honest. I know when my clothes get snug that I’d better do something to keep the situation under control.

There are times when I feel like I’m in disguise, passing as a normal person. As if I’m really someone else, and if people look hard enough, they’ll see the real me instead of the poser in front of them. I sometimes feel as if I need to bring up my history as a morbidly obese woman as a way to establish myself. Maybe even apologize. What for, I have no idea.

These days, I make a big effort to fight that part of me that feels like a fraud in this body. Every day, I feel a bit more like I imagine everyone else feels; it just took me a lot more effort to get here. I often take a deep breath, remind myself that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my existence, and push forward. I am who I am; take me or leave me. After all, we all have a history.

So yeah, in a different way, size matters.

(PS: hubby will be thrilled that I’ve included yet another country song.)


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