It's Just a Number

It's Just a Number

Oct 20, 2019Ann Steeves

One of the things I do most often with students is measurements. Having a good measurement chart makes life much easier when trying to pick a pattern size or fit a pattern to your particular measurements. And the measurements are numbers. No more, no less.

But oh, how fraught are those numbers.

I have measured countless students and friends. And almost every time, the measuree at some point exclaims how embarrassed he or she is by the number that comes up on the tape measure. I understand. We all feel at some level like we're too big, too skinny, too bony, too zaftig, too not-to-the-IG-beauty norm. I've held students who cried over their numbers because they felt they limited them in some way, or made them a bad person.

But here's the thing. Those numbers don't mean anything. They are simply a tool, like a hammer or a chisel. They don't define you. They don't tell what you have been through: life, children, age, disease, gravity. They are simply chicken scratches.

I used to be very self conscious about those numbers. I obsessed over some of them, especially when my body changed after two children. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I stood on the scale, I realized that the numbers were tools that allowed the medical professionals to determine the best doses of medicines that would heal me. It was pretty liberating. Now, I own my numbers. My waist is no longer 26 inches (kids and menopause will do that). My weight may never be 130 again, unless I'm very sick. And having been very sick, I'm good with not being 130 again.

But whatever the numbers may be, they don't change me. They don't change the love that I have for my family and friends. They don't make me a better or worse person. They are abstractions. Own them. Don't let them own you.

Happy sewing

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