By Dr. Paula Bloom
For some people it’s their age. Not me. (I’m 38.) For others it’s their clothing size. Not me. (I’m a 14/16.) For some it’s their height. Not me. (I’m 5’9″.) And for others it’s their weight. (Notice the absence of me revealing that information!) Women are made to feel self-conscious about numbers. Some of the most honest people I know wouldn’t think twice about shaving a few years off their age or adding an inch or two to their height. (How many people who are 4′ 11″ tell you “I’m just over 5′ tall.”) When did we decide that certain numbers were more valuable than others?
At some point in my adult life I wore a size 10 shoe. After the birth of our daughter I went up to a 10.5. After our son was born I was at an 11. I decided not to have more kids because I couldn’t imagine finding cute shoes if my feet grew. Okay so maybe my feet didn’t play that big of a role in our decision to have only 2 kids. But who knows, maybe if I had foundFootSmart.com (and their larger shoe sizes) sooner I might have a basketball team worth of kids. Hmmmm….
For years I was in denial about my shoe size and kept buying size 10 shoes. That was the biggest size many stores carried and I figured that meant that it was my only choice. I know, not the best logic, but don’t many of us decide who we are based on someone else’s idea of what we should be? Society says younger is beautiful and so we inject our faces with toxins and color our hair. While I may be one of the last women alive who has never colored her hair, I am not judging. Recently my 8-yr old daughter said I was getting “white highlights.” My first reaction was to explain to her the importance of self-acceptance, feminism and vehemently resisting society’s notion of ageism and beauty. My next thought involved calculating if it was best to start plucking the gray hairs out or take the plunge and finally dye my hair. Again, not judging anyone here.
Many women wear clothing and shoes that are too small and uncomfortable. They focus on the size rather than the fit. To me it is a deeper issue than just your dress or shoe size. It is about finally accepting who you are and realizing that no number really defines you. As I tell my clients, “Unless you are being sold by the pound your weight does not determine your worth.” Sometimes I find myself saying what I myself most need to hear!
Have you struggled to come to terms with a change in your shoe size? I’m always looking for advice on how to be more comfortable with who I am and what I wear. I’d love to hear from you!