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Arbitrary Numbers

It was my moment last weekend; I was having a Martine.

Although I was going nowhere, I felt compelled to perform one of my most solid quarantivities and get all dressed up just for me.

I had a luxury shower – the kind where you can’t move for products and the bathroom window needs to be open for at 45mins after to clear the steam. My body was lavished with creams, my hair treated to a blow dry, my make up the finest Amy Winehouse impersonation (I’ve been doing it since I was 19, it’s all I’ve got and I like it). The outfit of choice came in the form of late-night Zara purchases after a day of listening to the entire back catalogue of The Strokes – Breton striped t-shirt and black skinnies.

With a hop, skip and jump I pulled the jeans on, and for the first time in my life I was wearing a pair of size 10 jeans – not jeggings, jeans. This should not mean anything too me: my yoga wardrobe (aka stuff I live in) ranges from XS to XL and wearing such a combination has solidified the notion that clothes sizing follows the same rhythm as hard style music – none at all. But I am still a child of the 90s and that grew up in dance; there will always be something inside me that applauds smallness.

The jeans aside, in my mind and my body, I was feeling good. I had boxed off the fifth week of a training programme that at times had been both brutal and boring but had reduced both the number of injuries I collected and recovery time. My sleep had been solid. My diet had been varied, delicious and mostly guilt-free, even if it had involved crisps – because crisps are happiness and happiness is life. I looked in the mirror, eyeballed the hippy sixth member of The Strokes that in my mind I now embodied and thought – phwoar!

So what did I do? Well, I thought there must be some way of quantifying this feeling, of expressing it as some kind of data. My training programme required me to take measurements to track my progress, and they had been slowly moving in a Shakira-like direction (waist a bit smaller, arse a bit bigger, breasts not to be confused with mountains). But this was not enough – I needed the numbers to be confirmed by the disapproving family member/shitbag partner of household appliances. So I took off all of my clothes (and jewellery…and had a quick wee) and got on the scales.


There is a reason why I stopped weighing myself at 15 – I’d observe and accept the numbers I didn’t understand, then go read a Heat et al where they’d have the cast of The OC, Paris Hilton, an Olson etc on a double-page spread with their age, heights and weights (how did they get away with that, it’s horrific). The latter being considerably smaller than mine. Teenage me realised I could not win and sacked it off.

Adult me in the past two years has peaked curiously at scales in the hope of re-configuring my relationship with them, particularly when it came to lifting; I felt hard af when I realised I was squatting almost my whole body weight. But aside from that realisation, the numbers had never satisfied me, they could be anything and they would be wrong. It is the just the way I’ve been conditioned, the way most women have been. It is the element that stops us from taking the extra slice when we’re hungry in fear of being seen to be…well hungry.

There is a part of me that feels failure. That this arbitrary number between my toes was not smaller. Because that is what the entire female population and I were trained to want. For the same reason I felt satisfaction at size 10.

Be smaller, be dainty, be petite, sexy in a tiny way. That’s how to be a woman. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Take up space, but not with your belly.

Unpicking this thought process will be a life’s work – one that maybe you can relate to, even though I really hope you don’t.

This is where knowing the ‘why’ behind our actions is so important. Particularly when it comes to personal development work – where it is totally paramount. It is so easy to fall out of alignment with the reasons behind why we do these things in the first place. If we do not realign and remind ourselves of our reasons, then we can slip back into negative feedback loops dangerously quickly.

For me right now, this momentary scale-based carnage can easily rebirth the underlying thought process that ‘I’m not good enough’, that this is something I am ‘failing at’, and even reinforcing a notion that I don’t actually like myself very much. None of these things are correct for Kate 33 in Handforth, but they most certainly were at different points in my life, namely 27 Chorlton and 21 London. Even though it sounds tiring and painful to be in a negative feedback loop, these comfy worn-in boots can be a lot more inviting to the subconscious than the sassy gold platforms required to stand fully in our power. Weird huh?

So, why am I putting myself through rigmarole of this training programme? To get fully realigned with myself, I’ve gone back to my New Year Intentions. Under the ‘Mind’ section we have ‘To continue to invest in my education for both work and fun’. I enjoy study, using the John Lewis Gym Garage as a laboratory has already enabled me to help myself and some of the squad, which is excellent. Under ‘Body’ I wrote ‘Look after my knees, hamstrings and take care of my physical healing’. Which is what this programme has allowed me to do. With this in mind – I’m doing alright.

I am going to complete the 12 weeks, adding in a lot more yoga and dance because my soul is so boreeeeddd without it. And I’m going to scrap the scales. Metrics are good, but this is not one I need or can align to. There was a reason why Kate 15 in Walsall scrapped the scales – not matter what number is there, it is never going to be a number I want, so why bother with it.

My friend Nicki, the most glorious of PT’s once said to me - The number on the scale does not represent your worth, nor does it tell an accurate tale.


There is no metric for feeling good.

So ride the wave while it’s here, guilt-free and fabulous.

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1 comentário

Megan Farrell
Megan Farrell
09 de mar. de 2021

Absolutely brilliant blog. I’ll have to read and re-read this when I’m feeling shit about myself and my number (which is every s i n g l e morning)



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