After weeks of self deprecating admin, I felt the urge to dust the cobwebs off my journal and inject a burst of creative writing back into my life. I wrote the piece below as a response to a common issue women face around the globe…particularly after the holidays. I guess one could argue that this issue transcends the seasons, hence why I felt confident in posting it mid April. Earlier this year I made a vow to write more prose of a comic effect, and this piece was a start of said goal.
Ladies; Live.Laugh.Love..and realise that you’re not the only one.
…So exactly one week after another gluttonous Christmas and an absurdly alcoholic new year, I brave the journey from the family cabin, drive down the dusty road and back to the smoke. I enter my cluttered-come-amazon rainforest of an apartment and brace myself for what’s to come: The inevitable confidence knocker; the ‘will she won’t she fit into the denim jeans’ challenge.
I stopped weighing myself three years ago. After the tragic death of my ‘Ageing Young Rebel’ weighing scales, I’d convinced myself that measuring beauty via a novelty machine was juvenile. I’ll never have a beach friendly figure…but I’ll always have my jeans 🙂
I keep these size ** Prim-Arni’s (known to the rest of the world as Primark) in a gold skinned chest, along with my Nan’s old tooth, a lock of my Uncle’s beard and a photoshopped image of me on the top of Mount Everest- all invaluable treasures, holding absolutely no sentiment at all.
Nervously, I run the tips of my fingers across the chess. My heart pounds and I sweat profusely. Anyone would think I’d been dancing in the rain, and yet I’ve only climbed one flight of stairs…already onto a bad start.
If I can fit into these jeans, I’ll be more amazed than anyone, and if I can’t (which is the more likely scenario considering the copious amounts of sugar loaf and whole milk I’d been scoffing), I’ll reluctantly hit the floor and whistle a Mississippi blues of;
‘I am so fat;
I edge towards the chess. My shadow covers its lid creating a solar eclipse (not helping).
Slowly…ever so slowly, I unlock the chest and pull back the lid. It creeks like a rusty gate. The sound is so harsh, so articulate, so echoic, reminding me that a year of scoffing will make this seemingly menial task, the absolute impossible- a problem not even Einstein, Inspector Morse or Jeremy Kyle could solve if they put their heads together.
My ostentatiously deep sigh soon makes me aware of the suspended silence I’ve subjected myself to. In order to make this mission easier, I run to the radio.
‘Someone Left The Cake Out In The Rain’ blasts from the speakers- clearly the Gods are having a laugh at my expense.
I shake off the irony, and with the self control and discipline of a monk, I make my way back to the chess. Pity that self control wasn’t there when I tucked into that 4th mince pie…for breakfast!
Engulfed in humiliation and regret, I reluctantly remove my elasticated joggers. I squint to avoid the full view of the mirror.
The ambience born from the radio diminuendos, only to be overlapped by the thuds of my heartbeat and the inconvenient, condescending , all too late voice of reason: “You never should have headed south for the winter. You should have stayed in London with your genteel, grassy-field loving, hippy veggie friends, then you would have never exceeded your already wobbly sized **.” I shake my head in the hope of silencing the voice which sounds uncannily like my mothers.
The spirit of procrastination soon creeps in. “Perhaps if you sleep now and try the jeans on later, all will be well” it suggests. “A new rising makes for thinner thighs” it teases.
I resist temptation, stride towards the jeans and allow the kung fu zest of my inner power puff girl hero take over. Off comes the safety net that is the joggers my generous lower half is comfortably cocooned in.
I grab the challenge by the waist, wriggle the ends past my feet and around my ankles. I stamp and jump and stretch my way into the bottom half. Calves are in…now the thighs. I hula around the room while pulling the jeans up millimetre by millimetre. I’m knocking into one thing, crashing onto another, my neighbour is banging on his ceiling/my floor, but I don’t care. I’m on a mission. Right: Thighs are in…bum to go.
I clench my cheeks so hard I loose my G-string (arguably for good). I breathe in. My eyes pop. My brow sweats, but my zip goes up! Some would call this a holiday miracle, others would call it poetry in motion. I’ve never felt so alive!
I stride towards the mirror to marvel at my achievement (after all, seeing is believing).
Sure, I walk like John Wayne in these jeans, and sure, one could mistake my muffin top for an apron. But who cares? The zip is up!
I face my reflection head on. I push my shoulders back and give my ID the old constable style wink and nod of approval…and then I make the mistake of breathing out. The zip breaks, I lean forward and the button pings away. I fall back and manage to take a seat on what I soon discover, rather candidly, was a wonky chair.
I’m the only one here, and yet I cannot shake the feeling of social humiliation. The room grows darker; its closing in. The friction of my leg stubble grinds against the barbaric denim, causing an almighty itch and a burn.
Before I set the apartment on fire and cause all residents in the building death by thighs rubbing together’, I slip out of my jeans…well… I say slip…it’s more of a acrobatic-street dance-tae bo fusion movement that releases me from the denim shackles.
All modestly hangs low, unashamed and jelly-like. My heart sinks as I realise just how much this stinks 😦
…And very inconspicuously, anger encroaches- creeping from the pit of my stomach and tip-toeing towards my mind. “Screw this! Who needs those jeans anyway! You never liked them, hence why they’re always in the chess. Size ** my back foot! They just mix up the sizes to annoy you! Besides, the cut is so generic. If Primark really cared, they’d ensure that their range caters for women of all shapes, not just sizes! Don’t they know women of colour carry their pride in their backside? Yes, that’s what it is…Primark is racist! Yeah, I’ll drop these holiday pounds, but only cos I want to, not cos Primark says I have to! Down with the man! The revolution is on”
In coming: Rancid self-defensiveness. “Yeah!” I say back to anger. “It’s not me! It’s them!” Chest raised and shoulders back, I take a semi-militant walk back to the joggers. I kick my left leg through one hole and the right leg through the other. I wriggle them up with thrust and gust and umph, realise I’ve put them on back to front and amend the situation!
I march towards my Mac, grab my purse, pull out my debit card and purchase a block of gym sessions online. With each card digit filled in, I feel the pounds dropping. With each required field filled in, I see that cross trainer evermore vividly in my mind! I’m burning with a fire orange passion! I have a sudden craving for carrots…no…carrot cake! I think I’ve got some in the fridge. Is it still fresh? Does it matter? In this household expiry dates are vague implications, not adamant suggestions, so as long as it doesn’t have a moustache, I’m scoffing it! Sure there’s a calorie or two involved, but who cares? It’s Christmas…in less than a year!