Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about wardrobe weeding? I mentioned hanging your clothes in colour groups and the first time I did it I realised I had over a dozen black and white tops. This was the start of that collection. This tunic was bought from Tesco late summer 2007. 
It is a symbolic item of clothing for me and today I’ll share the reason why. 
I really liked it, the tunic was a new style for me, I’d never owned anything like it before. I loved the shape of it, I found it flattering; it fitted around my boobs with a gentle flare that skimmed over my belly and long enough to cover my bum. Great with leggings which were something I’d rediscovered after a 20-year break. (We lived in them at uni in the 80’s but in those days, they didn’t have lycra and went baggy around the knees very quickly.) 
What seems really unbelievable now is that I felt very conspicuous in it at first because of the, what I considered to be then, BOLD pattern. Seriously, I thought this was so in your face! It was so extremely far removed from the ‘slimming black’ baggy tops I’d been hiding away in for a long time. 
You see, I’d been in quite a negative relationship with myself on and off for a few years. My self esteem had slowly been ebbing away over time as I’d spiralled in and out (to varying degrees) of a clinically depressive state during the previous 10-year period. I was first prescribed anti-depressants after serious road traffic accident in the spring of 1998. (My on/off relationship with those lasted about the same amount of time as my first marriage coincidentally.) 
Not long after the first car accident I got married and we had a son the following year. It was during this pregnancy that I gained a lot of weight. Around 5 stone to be precise. 
That weight then became the focus of my depression years later, I began to think that if only I could lose weight and get back to my pre baby figure I’d be happy. I thought it would be the answer to help me feel better about myself. 
I start to wear loose fitting clothes. Lots of black. I hated my body and never felt nice in my clothes. The little voices in my head never had anything good to say. Why are you even bothering? You don’t look nice any more… I was in a very negative relationship with myself. I don’t feel like I’m worth it… 
For seven years I kept pre baby clothes in my wardrobe in the hope that they would inspire me to get my act together and lose weight. I yo-yo dieted and lost a significant amount of weight several times but even then, never got back into those clothes that were languishing in the wardrobe. Seeing them was a daily reminder of how fat and frumpy I was feeling. 
A turning point came in the summer of 2007 when I was in one of my ‘feeling better’ phases. I remember making the decision that I needed to accept that I was now firmly in the plus size category. I removed the too small clothes from the wardrobe and made room for new clothes that I liked and that didn’t just hang, shapeless on me. I looked for more colourful things to wear in brighter, bolder patterns and thought sod it. I decided I would dress with intent rather than in tents. 
And this is where this tunic comes in! It was the start of my love affair with tunic tops and leggings. It was my first. I still have it over 13 years later and it was relegated to the ‘only at home’ section of my wardrobe many years ago. But today, as I got dressed in it, I decided I wanted to tell you the story behind it. 
And in case you’re wondering…I went on to have a few more bouts of needing treatment for depression after that epiphany in 2007. 
The last (and worst) was almost 7 years ago now. However, I’m delighted to say that despite many personal challenges that the universe has sent to help me grow since then, I’m off the medication and much better at managing my mental health and wellbeing these days. 
It’s not a coincidence that as soon I had a better relationship with myself that I met Paul, who is my absolute rock. We’ve spent the last 6 years loving and supporting each other through the challenges – I love him so much. Unfortunately, it’s looking like our first wedding anniversary will be spent at home rather anywhere fancy, but I’ve decided that I’m going to wear my wedding dress anyway. I felt like a princess wearing it…despite still being 5 stone heavier and still carrying the ‘baby weight’. 
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