I had to buy some new trousers recently (pants, for my American friends). I signed up to an online shopping service where you put in your style and size and they have a magical personal shopping elf squirrel around in storerooms to come up with some amazing ideas of clothing that don't look old and haggard (85% of the rest of my wardrobe).
About a week later, a box arrived and in it were two tops I'd never wear, a skirt that would have been fine if I was running for Prime Minister (which I'm not, tempting as it is at the moment...) and a jacket which looked lovely in the box but made me look square when I put it on.
However, item five was a pair of the softest jeans I've ever come across. They felt like bunnies and kittens and were the shape I wanted and tend to wear. I tried them on and the fit was perfect! Hooray for personal shopping elves!!!
I boxed up the other items to send back and popped the jeans into my drawer.
A few days later, I got out my jeans for an evening out with some girlfriends. As I slipped on my soft-bunny-jeans, I smiled at what a genius idea it was to get jeans this way. You see, I HATE clothes shopping. As someone whose size is right between 'normal' and 'plus' buying jeans is complicated.
And we all know that the number on the label means EVERYTHING. And we also all know that whoever makes jeans NEVER follows any kind of size guidance. You can try 10 pairs on, and they'll all be different sizes. Anyway, jeans shopping is hell.
So here I am, having bypassed hell with soft jeans that actually fit.
It was several hours later after I'd been out feeling fancy and looking swell, that I took off my new bunny-kitten jeans only to discover they're a size up from what I usually buy.
WT actual F.
I could feel this wave of shame rising up.
Why in that moment, did everything about these jeans suddenly feel completely different?
They still looked the same.
They still fitted the same.
They hadn't changed at all.
They were still soft enough to have been made out of bunny tails on a spring day.
They still looked and felt great.
The only thing that changed was that I allowed a culture voice from 'out there' somewhere to scream 'NOT GOOD ENOUGH' at me. I was happy until suddenly I didn't measure up. AND NOTHING HAD CHANGED.
Here's the truth. It's so easy to be happy and content with something that fits well and feels great until a giant external voice tells you otherwise.
Your salary. Your work. Your platform. Your marriage. Your home. Your car. Your follower count. Fill in the gap.
How often are we happy with what we have until we measure it with someone else's measuring stick?
The next morning I cut out the label and wore my kitten-bunny jeans in defiance of a world that tells me I should be wearing a smaller jean size if I want to be happy with myself.
And now I am looking at all the areas in my life where I need a metaphorical label cutting proces. I am choosing to cut out anything that stops me measuring by my own standards and starts letting others measure what matters, what's good and what counts in my life. Nope. Hell, no. No, siree.
Here's to super-soft well-fitting pants and giving less f&cks about external measures that tell us bad stories about ourselves.