Sunday, October 23, 2011

The wardrobe evolution

Don't ask me why it's taken so long to do it... I've progressively been "de-cluttering" the wardrobe and bedroom of clothing as I've progressed the last few years, particularly the last six months.

Even more so when I was given the 'challenge' to try new colours, new styles and reinvent 'Amy's style' a few months ago - which sparked an almost 'mass onslaught' sorting of my misspent clothing accumulated over the years...

Bulk of it ended up in a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) pile in front of the wardrobe - and I've progressively been selling it off bit by bit via my online clothing facebook page (here) OR ebay - whichever works to get rid of my goodies! Bit by bit they were going back out the door to new owners, and I didn't really think much more of it... There was still so much there, that the pile was STILL literally two big base drawers high and the entire width of the front of the wardrobe long...  with more in the cupboard itself, left to contend with!

Meanwhile, I've been finding new bargains and creating my basic essentials as I've gone, but with so many changes in such a short space of time (this year in particular I've dropped from about a size 20-22 down to a size 16ish) - even the "new" gear has had to walk back out the door!

So, despite my plateauing up and down within the same five kilos the past few months, I've been pushing my fitness goals through the roof - and my body (despite the skin issue) is STILL changing. My shoulders have more definition, my back has changed shape, my legs are more toned... as much as it pains me with the excess skin (of which I can do ZERO about right now) - there ARE changes happening, and physical benefits. My losses may have stagnated, but the body is still doing something.

It was the other day when I was staring myself down in the mirror during my Pump class - in my hot pink fitted singlet top - with all my wobbly-arm-bits and belly-bulges (again, of which I can't do anything) STILL hanging out there... I kind of just didn't care! I AM fit and my body is trying it's freaking hardest to keep me happy - so it's time to stop negating what I've done and give it some sodding acknowledgement!

It was time...

Let go of all those "old faithful" clothes that had been sitting there in my bedroom as my safety net. At my heaviest, I really have no clue what size I was. I didn't fit conventional clothing AT ALL - I was roughly a 32-34+ but as I carried bulk of my weight in my very round belly, there was few clothing brands that actually catered for a great big walking balloon - pants and skirts rarely fit. I was smaller in the top, so was always out of proportion to my belly. Any skirts I DID find that fit, I'd have to "wear in" just so I could wear them regularly.

I had a MASSIVE load of clothing in size 26 - after all, that was literally all I could buy "off the rack" in places like Autograph (my favourite shop!) - and the amount of money I'd spent on expensive "better fitting" clothing (let's face it, Big W, Target, Kmart - all those 26s were even smaller in sizing than these higher range brands - I had to fork out serious cash for even the basics on the branded-gear just to get it to even slightly fit!)...  Anything I could get on sale, I'd buy. Anything I really liked, I'd buy. Ofcourse, it was rare that it even fit, but I'd still buy it "in the hope I'd fit into it one day"....

And so began my obsession with buying whatever I could find, stashing it away "for one day" and hoping I'd actually get a chance to wear it! To be honest, I was so revolted in my size, I wore the same thing day in, day out. It was the only thing I was comfortable in - black tshirt, denim skirt.

People mock me now about the denim skirt - but try being 190kgs when you feel TOTALLY conspicuous and the only clothes you have that fit your very bloated body, is a stretch skirt (that you'd stretched well beyond its make) and 'black' to "hopefully" camouflage you into the background.

Every day I'd try and aim for something different to wear - but it always looked the same. Dark brown tops, denim skirts in a couple of styles... that's about as adventurous as I'd get. Nothing else fitted properly, and anything else made me feel even more huge, more "obvious", I'd get really anxious about being seen in it and just want to hide...

SO when I actually DID start losing the weight, all this mass load of clothing I'd accumulated over the years was still sitting there in the 'one day' pile. I'd flick through occasionally and find something that fit my (somewhat) smaller body, but for the first year, despite 30kgs down, I was still hiding in my old "fat clothes". It was my safe zone...

Come the start of this year, and 75 kilos down, bulk of this gear was now well and truly too big for me! Despite still fitting into 20-22s, my really big gear (the few denim skirts, the one pair of black pants) - had been put away "in hiding shame"...  They were my reminder of where I'd been, but was far too ashamed to actually pull them out and torment myself with them.

That was until the Commando Challenge - and when I went to the photoshoot thereafter in May, bearing my black pants (re-sewn multiple times just to hold them together...) - and near burst into tears the moment I pulled them out of the bag and held them up in front of me - least of all then fitting into ONE LEG!  THAT was a pivotal moment for me... but it was only the beginning.

I haven't really had the courage to venture down that road again since - there's been lots of changes and shrinkage this year, and my head has struggled to contend with it. It might be easy for some to pull out their old clothes and run around in joy that their pants are falling off, or their tshirts are falling off their shoulders (... I DO love that too incidentally...) but bulk of this is often too confronting for me to deal with rationally. I get upset... and it derails me (slightly) from staying brutally focused and having this steely resolve to keep pushing day after day. I have to limit my self-indulgent upset-edness (!!!) - "damage control" if you will?

.... until the other day. I knew I was going to get upset, but it was time...

Walking home from the gym in my hot pink singlet top, my arms hanging out, not caring if someone saw my wobbly tummy in my very fitted gym-outfit - I was on a mission! Opened the front door, threw off the shoes, hit the bedroom and started sifting through the mound of clothing on my floor.

One after the other... tops, skirts, jackets, underwear...  SO MUCH CLOTHING!!!   Bulk of it with tags still attached, or barely worn. Bulk of it in size 26.

By the time I hit the floor (hallelujah, I see the floor!), my bed was missing under a sea of 'black' (that was really my staple colour), and I'd lost half my loungeroom and sofa to all this mass load of clothes.... and I wasn't even finished!

Opening up the wardrobe, I found the next wad of stuff - cardis, jackets, blazers, pants, brand new skirts I'd hung up for 'one day'  (that had very much come and gone - somewhere along the line...)... and it started to hurt. THESE were the things I'd go and buy - NICE clothes - clothes I aspired to - things that I'd intentionally put aside!  They were embroidered skirts, and long-line jackets - gear I'd never even been BRAVE enough to wear, irrespective of not fitting into them.... and the tags were all still attached.

It HURT to realise how ashamed I truly was - it HURT to see so much waste sitting in that wardrobe. Not money (though that pained too!) - but wastage for ME. Wastage in the form of the confidence I SHOULD have had wearing these gorgeous skirts... The compliments I never received... The self-respect of a girl "I should have been" hidden in the dark of the wardrobe... The occasions I never got to wear any of these things to because I was too ashamed to be seen to ever go out...  It freaking HURT.

Off to the loungeroom I went - camera in hand.  Taking the photos and going through these things piece by piece... I winced - often - when I'd pick up one of my "old faithfuls" - there was a few of them - my poor little heart was aching.

It's one thing to hurt because of "what should have been" with the new gear I'd found....  but these were what WAS - the things I DID wear - and it was much more real and much more obvious. Tops and skirts from when I was at my heaviest - and I still remembered wearing them! It pained me to say goodbye... ridiculous as that sounds... but these were my 'camouflage' for so long, and I was saying goodbye to another chapter?!

Listing them all up on my site (here) - I had this overwhelming sense of RELIEF!  This wasn't just me trying to recoup some cost (though that was a part of the incentive to do all this - so I can put the funds back into the time I spend on everyone else, and start my surgery fund!)...  But I just wanted these things to go to ladies who needed them now - who are struggling to find nice clothes and step outside their comfort zones (like I did)...  To stand up and dress nicely and be PROUD of themselves!

... not to hide away in their over-worn black tshirts and faded denim skirts that are fraying at the seams because they literally can't bring themselves to wear anything else...

It's funny how a few key pieces can really bring it on home... As I dug down to the bottom of the pile, I found a chocolate short-sleeved top - I'd worn it ONCE.   .... given I didn't dare show my arms, it was the 'once' off top that prompted me never to do it again! ... and formed one of my most hated photos to date...  I'm pretty sure I sighed a huge sigh of disgust when I picked it up - instant flashbacks of wearing it, thinking I looked nice - only to see the photos and BAM, come crashing down... 

I threw it on the pile and walked away... but curiosity got the better of me. I couldn't help it - I needed TO SEE. Aside from the fact the top was now too big (yay!) - it just helped reinforce the changes in my physical appearance - my arms and torso in particular - that despite the saggy skin, I STILL look and feel better with those issues than I ever did before... My body IS trying it's damnedest to appease me!!

Getting past the emotions of all this - I wanted to turn this baby around! Negatives be gone - it's time to celebrate!!   ... and what better way, than to celebrate the evolution of my wardrobe with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour (Amy style!).

The evolution of my denim skirt.... 

I did have to chuckle when I took this shot - despite having reservations to actually pull the old faithfuls out of the bag hidden under my bed...   The smaller I've shrunk, so has the size of the skirt (naturally), but it's also become noticeably SHORTER too!!  haha...  THAT makes me laugh!

I still wear these babies - my denim skirts are comfortable and I'm confident in them! These are still my 'trusty friends' and what I'm ok wearing - but as per the pic below, it's not about "hiding" anymore.  I'm STILL developing that inner-confidence to strut my stuff in whatever it is I'm wearing... denim or not!!  ... but at the moment, my denims still give me a little false-confidence when I'm often lacking.

So I shrug off the sentiments of all my denim-haters - it's one of the things that have kept me clothed for half of my life - and for THAT I am eternally grateful!!!   (... and so is everyone else, thank you very much, haha!)

SO - right now my entire loungeroom floor and sofa is covered in clothing that's listed up for sale (here) - and what doesn't sell is off to Vinnies!  I'm REJOICING in the fact that my ENTIRE existing wardrobe now starts in 1s  - not 2 and 3s!!  It's the FIRST TIME I've allowed myself the freedom to know I WILL NOT GO BACK to that sizing, and therefore BE GONE the burden of fear that I "need" to hang onto these safety blankets of mine...  I am NOT the person I used to be! 


So just when I thought it was safe to let the wardrobe air out for a while... a GORGEOUS friend of mine throws me a loop!  Off on our Mount Panorama walk with my local group of 12wbters this afternoon, one of the ladies gives me two GYNORMOUS garbage bags filled to the brim with clothes!

... and they're all around my current sizing!!   I spent AN HOUR going through and trying them all on - it was like playing dress-ups!!!   Choosing what I wanted to keep, and adding things like SHORTS (I haven't worn shorts since high school!) and capri pants, short-sleeved fitted shirts and a GORGEOUS DRESS to my new wardrobe!  (... I couldn't help but self-indulgently model this one for you guys.. hahaha!)

It was like Christmas - and I can't thank Allison enough!  It was just the most beautiful ending to this little story I could have had - and I didn't see it coming (...which made it all the more lovely!)  

.... though NOW I can't find my hallway for all the clothes covering the floor...   hehehehe!

C'est la vie!

I do have to confess - that girl that used to buy straight off the rack, never try anything on, and then hide it away... SHE would be so envious of what's happening right now - and as much as I regret what's already passed (and for which there's nothing I can do now but let it go...)  - it just reinforces why I do what I do, and why it means so very much to me to choose the changes that I have.  Moments like these - despite the hurdles and heartache, and the frustrations when things aren't going the way I want them to - ARE the cherry on top, and I'm SO very grateful for them.  They keep me grounded....


  1. Wow girl! You and I are soooo alike! I have THE most massive pile of clothes that are too big and have had this weird mental barrier to letting them go. TODAY is the day my friend. Time to declutter and rid myself of them. Watch out for some posts on the A2C Sell, swap, buy! Might have to sell my bigger sizes through Ebay I think. I have been in a funk for the last few weeks - acting like a carbohydrate junkie - very unattractive. I think what was behind it was that although yes I am healthier and fitter, I don't look any better naked! Yep skin and stretch marks and ....well you know what I mean. You describe it so much more eloquently than me. I totally "get" your posts Amy. Got myself sorted with a wee attitude adjustment on Friday night (after lots of tears) and eating properly again. It is such a relief for it to be 'easier' again. Hugs girl, you tackle the big issues - that might not seem so big to those who have not lived them. xox Manda

  2. Amy you are such a beautiful girl inside and out. I truly hope that one day you can see that as much as the rest of us can. You have made such an impact on my life in such a very short time, I feel like I have known you forever xo You keep on looking in that mirror and telling yourself how Freaking awesome you are... Allison xo

  3. Great post Amy :D I absolutely love stalking your posts :D

  4. You do know that you are going to have to publish this journal /blog of yours in book form don't you?
    What you are sharing is "hope" and so many women out here in the world need to read your message that anything is possible and Yes miracles do take a little longer, but they can & do happen if you're prepared to put in the hard yards.