As I was idly scrolling my twitter feed today, I came across a tweet referencing ‘diet season’; with a link that followed. The link was telling me that I should heavily restrict my calorie intake for the next 4 weeks in order to fit into my Christmas party dress. It’s the type of post that makes my heart sink.
I recall around the Christmas period last year reading that a survey had been conducted which showed that two-thirds of women cancelling party plans did so because of body image concerns and “having a fat day”. There is something terribly sad about this as a reality.
No-one cares about what size your party dress is – other than you!
If you reflect honestly, I wonder, have your most treasured Christmas memories, the best parties, and your favourite experiences followed squeezing into a dress that 4 weeks ago was 2 sizes too small? Or, perhaps, instead your most treasured memories came from crawling around the living-room floor in your pyjamas, that party that you nearly didn’t go to, or the Christmas you got snowed in somewhere with your best friends?
Life is for living – it’s a cliché, but it’s true. We don’t regret the things we do; we regret the things we don’t do. And, really, 10 years from now, when you look back at this Christmas, are you even going to remember what size your sparkly dress was? Probably not. Perhaps you won’t even remember what colour it was, or whether it was designer or high street.
What you will remember is the laughter you share with your future husband (or wife), singing karaoke with friends, your child’s first Christmas, or that time you overcooked the turkey, nearly burnt down the kitchen, and ended up eating whatever was hidden in the freezer. You will remember the experiences as each year that passes blurs into one. Your dress will simply be something to cringe at in old photographs when the fashions have changed.
The thing about an item of clothing is it comes in one of a dozen standardised sizes. You are not standard. You are beautifully unique. You are one of a kind. You cannot easily be turned up, or taken in. You are not cut from some bargain polyester; you are cut from the cloth of your family and by the hand of the life you have lived.
So, this Christmas I hope that my gift to you can be a little bit of perspective; a little seed of a thought that you can plant, and grow and take with you into 2017. Your dress size is not important. You are. Embrace your life.