For most of my life, I have felt like the fat friend. Or the uncool friend, or the worst dressed friend. To overcompensate, I try to be the funny friend in what I like to think is a Chandler-esque way but to most, I likely come across as the loud and obnoxious friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I am funny as hell but I do use humour as a mask when I feel uncomfortable, rather than making changes or working on my self-doubt. It wasn’t until a recent trip away with friends that I realised how strong these insecurities are and how much I compare myself to my friends.
On this particular trip, I felt like the odd one out the whole time. I didn’t always want to do the same ‘cultured’ things they wanted to do, my outfits weren’t as great and I had to be careful with what I was wearing because it was hot and there was a lot of walking and I didn’t want my thighs to chafe (if you know, you know).
To top it all off, I had a meltdown because I packed when I was hungover and didn’t pack all the outfits I wanted and was too fat to borrow any of my friend’s clothes. I even spent half a day trying to find a new outfit because the buttons on the front of my dress kept popping open. Partly because the buttons are badly designed but also probably because I was just that little too big for the dress.
It got to a point where I didn’t really want to go out. Part of me kept thinking, ‘you’re only going to feel like shit, so why don’t you just stay in?’ but, I was in a foreign country, I wanted to go explore and live my life instead of crying into a pillow because I ate two lots of gelato in the space of 4 hours.
When I got back home, I realised the shadow it had cast across my trip and that upset me. I have always pretended like I don’t care that I am bigger than my friends, or that my outfits are five-year-old River Island as opposed to straight off the catwalk but, I do care. In fact, I probably care more than most.
I will probably never have the same passion for high-end fashion as some of my friends and It’s genetically impossible for me to have long slim legs but a lot of what was making me feel crap, I do have complete control over.
I can lose weight and work on my body, I have to for health reasons anyway, I can easily wear clothes that make me feel more comfortable and, the hardest part of all, I CAN get in the right head space where I can appreciate my friends for being different but most importantly, I can feel comfortable about being different from them.
For too long I have been putting myself down. Yes, we all compare ourselves to each other and that can be positive in terms of inspiration and pushing us to be better people but there is also a very sinister side to it. A side that I have let rule my life since my early teens.
There are enough people in this world trying to bring us down without us having to do it to ourselves. So, I pledge that from this day forward I will take the steps needed to become more confident in the way I look, be comfortable in my own skin and most importantly to stop comparing myself to others!