I’ve worked in retail for four years, there are parts that I don’t necessarily love, but that’s work . On the other hand, there are parts of my job that I truly enjoy, one of those parts being working in the fitting rooms. Working “fits” is satisfying for a whole host of reasons.
First and foremost, I’m a talkative person, and it means I get to talk to people all day. Not only talk about clothes, but I’ve gotten music, podcast, movie, and recipe recommendations. I’ve had in-depth nerd chats about Marvel movies, psychology, and financial planning. I’ve met people with incredibly interesting jobs. Retail allows you to meet a large variety of people, and working fits means I get to interact with all these people.
Second, I love shopping. I know it’s a cliché that women love shopping, but I do. It’s not even the act of buying clothes but there is a shopping “culture” that I really enjoy. And in helping other people shop I get to live a bit vicariously through others.
Finally, I get to make other people happy. Shopping, specifically jean shopping, can feel very defeating. There is variation in wash, material, style and size, leaving so many variations that the whole process is daunting and exhausting. Additionally, women’s clothes is atrociously inconsistent in sizing, which can be frustrating. I personally have felt defeated by jean shopping and it’s not a nice feeling. However, working in fits, I get to ease the experience for other people, or at least that’s what I try to do. Finding someone their new favourite pair of jeans is satisfying because I know how I feel when that happens for me. No, I’m not curing cancer or building houses or saving puppies, but I get to help give people those little moments and that feels really nice.
And despite loving this aspect of my job, I’ve noticed something over the last couple weeks that I find frustrating, so I’m sharing it with you. Toronto just came out of lockdown round 2 and people are ready to get out and move around a bit more. We were all stagnant for 100 days, and the cabin fever hit us pretty hard. People coming into the store often want to chat and want to engage, because we have all been lacking some social connection. And many of the conversations I have are unique, however, there is a common thread – especially with female customers: “I’ve just gained so much weight during quarantine”.
And if it were just this comment, I wouldn’t really care. It would simply be a factual statement. However, it’s never just this comment. It’s followed by a parade of comments where women comment that they’ve gotten fat, or feel ugly, or are disappointed in themselves, or have been “bad” over the last couple months, and so on and so on. Essentially, the women are constantly dumping on themselves for their bodies changing over the last couple months/the last year.
And I hear so many women say, “I was so bad over quarantine, I ate so much”. Bad? Food is allowed to bring you joy, especially when there is not much else going on. We need to stop associating our food choices with morality, as if you could actually “be bad” by eating something that tastes good. Something that brings you joy. I drink Starbucks hot chocolate more often than not when I’m at work. It’s about 3 zillion calories and has enough sugar to power the energizer bunny. But it makes me smile and I know it makes me just a little bit friendlier at work so I’m not going shame myself for drinking it.
Of course, I want you to take care of yourself. I want you to get 10,000 steps and eat your vegetables and drink enough water during the day, but most importantly I want you to be kind to yourself. I want you to allow yourself to be human, and part of being human involves weight fluctuation, especially in times of change. It’s okay to acknowledge change in your body and have feelings about it. But don’t be hard on yourself over changes that occurred while in lockdown.
Women of all sizes are complaining about how their bodies are inferior, when that is so far from the truth it’s laughable. My sister told me once, “when you hate your body, think of all the things it allows you to do”, and I try to do that. When I grab the wrong size of jeans and feel “fat”, I remind myself that my body ran 10k this fall for the first time in 6 years, it can sing a C#6 and it can walk around for 8 hours a day, 5 days and week and sell jeans like it’s nobody’s business. It can also eat an entire pizza in one sitting, and that’s pretty impressive.
I just want you to be kind to yourself. You’re a lot more than what a scale tells you, and frankly, it’s not worth the energy you put into stressing about it. You’re built for so much more than stressing about weight, you just need to get out of your own way.
From me, with love, to you,
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