There they are hanging in your closet. Maybe they’re front and center. Maybe they’re somewhere in the back. Either way, you know exactly where they are, and you regularly think of them.
Maybe you bought them in hopes you’d fit into them by now. Maybe you wore them years ago, or even just months ago.
Every time you walk into your closet, it’s almost as though the jeans are mocking you. Every time you see them, you can’t help but sigh—or sob. You can’t help but feel like an utter failure. An embarrassment. A goal breaker. You can’t help but feel the hot ache of shame.
They are both your enemy and a prized possession. You hate them because you yearn to put them on. But you can’t. They’re one, two, or five sizes too small.
You remember the glory days of when you did fit into them, and you wish you could go back. Or your mind wonders about the beautiful life you could have if you could actually pull them up and button them up. You visualize this wonderful life. You daydream about it. You can feel it, and you can taste it, and see it, and hear it. It is so vivid, so visceral, so wanted.
Those skinny jeans are a tangible reminder of everything you’re not. You’re not thin or attractive or young. You’re not happy or fulfilled.
But I could be, you think. If they actually fit.
You keep trying to change and mold yourself so you can actually wear them. You’re counting calories, or on some meal plan. You’ve bought smaller plates, and sworn off sugar. You’ve started following fitness bloggers. You weigh yourself weekly, maybe daily. You have an accountability partner. You’ve decided to start exercising every day. You’re trying some new shake thing or detox.
It might sound simplistic and obvious and maybe even infuriating, but what if you just threw them out or donated them? What if you went into your closet, and let the jeans go?
Maybe once they were gone, you could let your beliefs go, too. The belief that weight loss is some magical panacea. The belief that beauty lies in a certain shape and size. The belief that your worth is wrapped around your weight and waist, so tightly that they are one and the same, so tightly that you can’t pull them apart.
Maybe the real freedom and fulfillment reside not in fitting into those jeans (or some other article of clothing), but in no longer clinging to the past or forecasting a fake future. Maybe the real freedom and fulfillment reside in grieving our desire for weight loss and a specific appearance, and in figuring out how we can create a beautiful life exactly as we are.