Value Village Trip: a lesson in continuous recovery

I have been thinking a lot about creating more content for my BrokeFatAnd YouTube channel and on Friday I created a list of the many video ideas I had and would work on producing. One of those ideas being a Value Village haul video. Shopping is truly one of my favourite sports and when I found Value Village I found a mix of some of my favourite things in fashion; budget-friendly, unique and size-inclusive. So, of course, it seemed like a no-brainer that a video documenting my Value Village finds would be just the thing to get me back into my YouTube groove. Boy, was I wrong!

I strutted into the Village (aka Value Village) on Saturday after sitting in a seven-hour First Aid class. I was home! I didn’t even mind the familiar odour of musk and dust. My senses were overwhelmed by the many colours, textures and patterns. I was in heaven! I danced down the aisles, practised my three-point turns and even created a very vivid mental montage. Two hours later and after a basket to trolley swap, I was ready to try on my outfits.

I sang myself into the change room and peeled off my clothes and then it happened.

I caught my reflection in the mirror.  I quickly looked away, but the image was seared into my brain. Just like a horrible car crash, I couldn’t stop myself from taking a second peek. Then a third and a fourth and a fifth. I don’t know how many peeks I stole, but I know that they were never more than 5 seconds. I also know that I felt worse with each peek.

I don’t know where I got the will to move from. But I finally did. Slowly, I put everything that I’d shed off back on. My hands and body too heavy to move as fast as my mind wanted to move. I felt horrible for many reasons that day. For the first thought that came into my mind, “Eww you’re disgusting!” Then I felt guilty for thinking that because not 30-minutes before I had told a woman whose mother told her to lose weight that she was beautiful. I felt like a hypocrite because I am vocal in my promotion of self-love. Of body-positivity. Of kindness. So why could I not show myself the same love or kindness? Why could I not see the beauty in myself at that moment? When I left the Village, it was with a sense of failure.

I let myself feel all these emotions on my long bus rides back home. Then I tried to dissect them and try to understand why I felt those things. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy and I haven’t come to a full comprehension. I don’t think I will for a long time and I am letting myself believe and know that that is okay. For over a decade, I lived with eating disorders and self-loathing, and there are some feelings and habits and thoughts that are more stubborn than others. Feelings that linger no matter how hard I try to erase and forget them.

On my bus ride home, I decided not to force self-love or body-positivity, but to try some self-acceptance and some kindness.

This week I am letting myself be. Letting myself feel whatever I need to feel without judgement and the pressure of perfection. I am letting myself fail, fall, rise. I am acknowledging my journey. And I think most importantly, I will allow myself to fail at this too and at the end of the week, pick myself back up and try again.

How is your journey going?

Cynthia Boyede

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