Hell is a commercial fashion outlet change room. Hell is no hooks to hang the clothes you’ve chosen to try on and nowhere to put the clothes you have on. It’s blinding light, mirrors all around and an advert for a product that promises you’ll be hair free in unsightly spaces till the day you die. It’s taking the size you think you are plus a size bigger “in case the cut is weird.”
There was a time in my life where I didn’t buy any clothes for the fear of having to actually wear them. It was set in motion by a shopping spree after pay day. All of the stores were having an end of season sale and I needed to spend a little money on a new pair of jeans. My thighs touch when I walk so I often wear out the middle portion of my jeans quite quickly. I also only usually have one or two pairs of jeans at a time because the process of buying new jeans is so harrowing that I avoid it until I have literally worn holes in the pairs that I do have.
I had found 8 pairs that I was willing to try on. I took all 8 into the change room with me (along with a size bigger in each pair). The woman at the entrance to the change rooms saw me approaching with a wad of jeans draped over my left arm. “You can only take 6,” she said. Feeling a bit daft, I split the small textile factory in my possession in half and chose my favourite 6.
None of them fitted. Still feeling like there was a mission to accomplish I went back for the next 6. None of them fitted. Feeling slightly disheartened I walked back to the woman and took the remaining 4 pairs. I had tried on a dozen pairs of jeans. I was so moeg that I just wanted to be done with it. So when I put on lucky number 13 and the pockets bulged out I just stood and looked at myself.
I’ve never really had a particularly good self image and I’m the first to admit that on some days I feel great while on others I feel like a freshly unearthed potato – but at that moment I felt the worst that I ever have.
I sat down on the ground in that bright, little square room and as quietly as I could – I ugly cried. I took the bulgy jeans off and without even glancing at myself in the triple mirror, I walked out.
I’m happy to say that I have since bought several pairs of jeans. That was just a bad day. A day when I didn’t feel good about myself and while I still feel uncomfortable in that tiny room of scrutiny I still brave it from time to time. In fact sometimes I walk out victoriously with an outfit that makes me feel like a french fry – crisp and saucy.
It goes without saying that woman’s clothing is riddled with cuts that are unflattering and pockets that are sewn shut. There’s a load of issues in the fashion industry that need a dressing (pun intended). There is also definitely a problem with how we are made to feel about ourselves and how we do feel about ourselves from time to time. I’m happy and grateful for my body but I forget how incredible it is when I’m in that space. What helps me is remembering that the world is more than a meter squared room without any hooks. The world is yours and it’s off the hook.