My cheerleading uniform still fits.
And I’m sure you’re wondering, Just exactly how did you figure that out, Kat?
My parents are in the process of purging their house in preparation for a move next spring/summer. Which means that every week my mother appears with a new bag/box of things that we now must possess, which is only sort of tasking because we live in a two bedroom townhouse that we outgrew the moment Marcus moved in five years ago. So, lots of space for stuff and things, you know?
Last week’s adventures brought my mother to the discovery of a sweaterbox full of sentimental clothing items. Think: My infant snowsuit (I was a lamb), my first communion dress, Christmas dresses that my grandmother sewed by hand, the odd romper, and my high school cheerleading uniform.
It was sort of a reunion because I made some of my best high school memories in that uniform, but because I am a glutton for punishment, I absolutely had to try it on and face the heartbreak.
Except for the part where it fit.
Which was sort of unsettling, really. Because I honestly thought I would be thinner now than I was then. Yes, seriously. I’m sure at this point some of you are rolling your eyes thinking, Kat, you’ve lost us. At that point, I had lost me too. 11 years later, why did I feel that way? Why was that (of all things) my first reaction?
And so I had to think about that feeling and why, exactly, I felt it. What I realized is that while I am exactly the same size that I was at 16, I feel so much lighter.
When I was 16, everything was wrong. My hair wasn’t blonde enough, I wasn’t tall enough, I wasn’t thin enough, I was too loud, I didn’t watch the right cool movies, I didn’t know enough about music to know that the band OAR is pronounced by its initials and not like the word.
In short, I was a teenager and even though I had a very happy home life, friends, and things to do (band! cheerleading! newspaper! track!), everything was wrong because it sort of has to be at 16 years old. I doubt I feel the amount of angst in a year that I felt in a day at age 16.
It’s no small wonder I feel so much lighter now. When I look in the mirror, I truly love the person that I see 100% of the time. I know that 16-year-old me was not capable of extending that level of kindness to herself. She was ready to tear herself down before anyone else could even have the chance. It’s exhausting just to think about, you know? How thankful I am to have come so far.
Of course I am lighter now.