I am 41 years old.
5’ 2 and ¾” tall.
I weigh 154 pounds.
I wear a size 6 in pants.
I wear a 36 DD bra.
I have 3 children.
I was married for 9 years.
I have been divorced for 9 years.
I make $50,000/year.
Do you now have a vision of who I am or how I live or what I might look like? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not, as they are, after all, just numbers—numbers that have risen and fallen easily and often, but which I have nevertheless clung to my whole adult life, as if they define me. As if they determine my worth. I am constantly stepping on and off the scale; looking for a new and improved, better-paying job; hating my bra size; and hoping to fit into that size 4 dress in my closet. When the pant size goes down, my confidence goes up. When the salary increases, so does my quality of life. Divorce made me a failure as a mother and I am just certain that a husband will make me happier. Married is better than single. And when that goddamn number on the scale goes down, I am more desirable.
These are the lies I have believed for all of my life, but now I say F*&% that. Thanks to a gift I received a gift in the mail recently.
When these cute, Booty by Brabants leggings that I had had my eye on for quite sometime arrived in my mailbox, I was so excited to try them on. And when I did, the first thing I looked at was the tag on the inside of the pants. I wonder what size she sent me? I knew that the answer to this silly question was either a compliment (small: oh yay she thinks I am skinny) or an insult (large: yup, I am fat).
But these leggings had no inside tag, no size, and no number. The pants had absolutely nothing to say about my shape and size. Further research showed that the pants are one size fits most and so I was left with just a pair of leggings. A pair of comfortable, cute leggings that offered no insight into my worthiness, no silly number (or letter) to define my body or sabotage my self-love or boost my confidence, no compliment or insult attached to the gift.
Just a pair of leggings. No numbers. But maybe a message.
Numbers lie, friends, and it’s time we start screaming that from the rooftops. We need to let go of everything that we have ever associated with our stats and live life from the inside out.
You are not everything you have ever associated with your age. That number that appears on your cake once a year as you celebrate with dread? It lies. It is a mere calculation of the current year minus your birth year. That is it. A mathematic equation. It doesn’t speak to your individuality, your personality or your vibrancy. You are as young as you choose to be.
You are not the number that pops up on your digital scale in the morning. That number is altered by things like water intake or lack thereof. That number lies, too. That number doesn’t account for muscle mass or breasts that fed 3 children; it doesn’t weigh your heart that is so full of things like love and guilt and a desire to be better every day. It doesn’t account for the value of that ice cream you had with your daughter to celebrate her hard-earned A on a Geometry test. It doesn’t measure the memories that come with the cupcakes you made at 10 p.m. for the soccer team while singing Party in the USA by Hannah Montana with your kids. That number doesn’t care about the carb-heavy dinners and the drive thru meals that sometimes just have to happen. That number doesn’t boast with pride at your stretch marks, which are freaking battle wounds leftover from the miracle that is childbirth. That number, that measurement of pounds, doesn’t reveal the strength, courage and love that defines you from head to toe.
So let’s say goodbye to numbers once for all. Don’t waste anymore of your memory-making, living, breathing and blessed moments focused on numbers. Let’s stop calculating them, proclaiming them, and giving them power. Stay off of the scale and throw that size 4 dress your hoping to squeeze into away once and for all. Accept the body you are in and be grateful for it each and every moment. Don’t act your age. Act your spirit, act your soul, act your energy. Don’t celebrate your birthday, celebrate every damn day. Look in the mirror and love your reflection and if you don’t, well then practice loving your reflection because self-love can be learned. Wear Booty by Brabants leggings because you don’t need a stinking number to compliment or insult you.
Choose the best for yourself and do things that make you feel good, loved and full of life. Do all the things that make you proud to be who you are on the inside. Be strong. Be brave. Be carefree. I am more than a number and so are you. Let’s remind each other and ourselves of this a little more often. Let’s rip out our tags and say goodbye to numbers once and for all.