We grew up thinking the world was black and white. There's tall people and short people. There's old people and young people.
There's fat people and skinny people.
But as you get older, you realize there is a lot more in between those two ends of the spectrum than you ever thought possible. Especially when it comes to weight. And you do a lot more realizing if you're in an awkward position on that scale... Literally.
1. People always tell you to stop saying you are fat
Obviously, your friends SHOULD prevent you from talking negatively about yourself. And if you only saw you when you were fully dressed, you'd probably tell yourself to stop saying you're fat, too.
2. And are kind of surprised by your actual weight
You've definitely had friends who are shocked by the number on your scale because you can carry it pretty well when you are fully dressed.
3. Sometimes you feel like a catfish
Have you ever changed out of your super cute, flattering outfit and looked at yourself in the mirror and thought... Wow, am I lying to people?
4. But you know this is probably true for most people
When you're wearing clothes, typically the parts of a body that bring about insecurities (stomach, namely) are covered. No matter the body type, you realize most people are more comfortable in clothes than out of them.
5. Your confidence is often contingent on the month
November? Yep, won't need to be in shorts or a bikini for about 7-8 months. I am good to go.
February? I'll need to be in a bikini soon.. I could use some work.
6. You are thrilled by the one-piece bathing suit making a fashion come back
A resounding 'thank you' to whoever decided it was time to give one-pieces a try again. The stomachs of us in-between gals are appreciative.
7. Crop tops are 95% of the time not your top of choice
Yeah, okay, clothes are supposed to work for me and not against me.
8. You honestly don't understand jean sizes
I have fluctuated in weight a lot of my life, most recently losing 25lbs, and I still did not budge in jean sizes.
9. You wonder what other people think when they see you
Do other people see me as thin in clothing? Or fat in a bikini? What size am I perceived as?
10. Shopping is kind of a nightmare
Have you ever found about 27 items you liked, added the prices and thought, ah, it is going to be so tough to choose from all of these items? Only to go into the fitting room and realize only 2 of the items fit you well? Yep, me every single time I go to the store.
11. You're thankful that at least you've got boobs
You can kind of hide them in clothes, and then let them steal the show away from your tummy in a swimsuit.
12. You have a hard time setting weight-loss goals
You aren't really sure how overweight you are (if you are, at all) and you don't want to be at an unhealthy weight on either side of the spectrum.
13. Body positivity comes and goes
There are days, weeks or even months when you feel like the most beautiful person on the planet, and then something happens (old jeans don't fit, you try on a new bathing suit, etc.) and you convince yourself that all of that confidence was wrong and undeserved.
14. You always try on the biggest size first
Either this or you're in a weird limbo between the smallest plus sizes size and the biggest generic sizes size.
15. Half of you knows every body is a bikini body, and half of you is convinced that yours is not
You know that your body is worthy of wearing whatever you want to wear, but looking at yourself and seeing what society (and you) sometimes deem as unattractive can eat away at that knowledge.
16. But you also know self-love and confidence are key to beauty
Even if you have to fake it, you know that feeling confident is going to carry you pretty far.
17. Being in a bathing suit is a constant game of readjustment
Okay, I am sitting. Pull the bottoms up to cover as much as my stomach as possible and the back of the top down to cover any back rolls.
18. You've avoided the mirror after a shower before
You know that you are just going to lose all the comfort you felt in your body during the day when you see yourself, so sometimes it is best to just avoid it.
19. Ultimately, you know your beauty is not contingent on what you are wearing
The goal for everyone should be to get to a point where it doesn't matter if you're in a snowsuit, a bathing suit or a birthday suit... You can see your beauty no matter what and feel confident despite what you have on. It'll take time, but falling in love with the way you look is worth it.
It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.
But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.
First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.
Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.
Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.
And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.
But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.
Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.