‘Look at the state of you……….’

Samantha Mitcham
4 min readAug 27, 2020


Every now and then one of the moments of destruction come flooding back to me, they’re not even the big moments, rarely the ones you’d expect. Not the blatantly life changing huge let downs and lies, often just the little ones – gut wrenching.

Why do they hurt so bad?

These memories of tiny moments hurt so bad because when they are recalled it comes with a moment of realisation that spirals into an unexpected formation of so many subsequent events.

Today I spent some time going though my wardrobe, I came across many items that I love but have never worn, as I’m sure most of us are guilty of. Why haven’t I worn x/y/z etc etc. But there was something strange about it, when I came across them I had a uneasy feeling and I wasn’t sure why.

I left some of the items hanging on my wardrobe door, others I took to the charity shop but there were a few I couldn’t quite decide on whether to keep or not. I couldn’t recall why I’d never worn them, I like them all.

I’m lying in bed this evening looking at the various items hung on the wardrobe door, not for any great reason, just about to fall asleep when – boom – memory bank kicks into overdrive………….

‘Look at the state of you’ – I can hear the words as if it were yesterday.

I’m at my Grandma’s house 🏠 staring into her full length mirror, about to attend a family meal, it’s a nice day, a special day, a ‘family’ day. I don’t see my grandparents often as they live hundreds of miles away. It was supposed to be a lovely event. Grandparents need to be treasured.

I wore a new dress, it was kind of unusual, nothing too ‘weird’ but maybe a bit more stylish than my norm, my hair was curly (natural) and my makeup was done but minimalistic. I was still relatively new to motherhood, 7 months in to be precise, I was used to the breastfeeding and what to wear / not wear for my newfound body shape (nothing is ever quite the same is it, it takes time) but dressing up still felt a little bit scary.

‘You look a mess, that dress is awful, your hair is…….you just……oh just look at the state of you’

We went for the meal. I kept the dress on, not because I wanted to but because it’s the only outfit I had taken with me. I felt disgusting. Like an embarrassment, like everyone in the restaurant was staring and thinking the same things.

Nobody was thinking the same things, I know that now, I know now that I didn’t need to worry myself to the point of not being able to talk or enjoy my meal in fear of everyone else, the family and the other diners, staring at me in disgust. The issue wasn’t mine, there was nothing wrong with how I looked – before the words of poison I was as happy as you can be 7 months after giving birth, in a new dress that hides a few bumpy areas. I knew wearing my hair curly wasn’t approved of but I’d hoped the ‘nice dress’ would take the attention away from that. How wrong I was.

We went shopping after the meal. To choose me a nice outfit. I didn’t choose anything. I got told what I should try on. But it was a nice gesture? Helping me to look great in something different because my own choices weren’t good enough and I looked a mess…….right? WRONG!

I am not a doll nor should I ever have been treat like one, I was not there to be dressed and undressed how another human chose: ‘If you feel comfortable in it then you look lovely’ would have done. Even ‘I’m not too sure but honestly it doesn’t matter what I think you rock it’ would have been ok too. Anything really but not ‘look at the state of you’

See it’s taken me years……..years to realise what these moments did to me, tonight is one of those realisation moments, like a knife into my heart.

Because guess what? All those items hanging on my wardrobe door right now are lovely, some of them a little bit different from my normal ‘blend in little black dress’ to go out in but all the same, lovely. I haven’t worn any of them. Why? In case I hear those words again……..thank goodness they are no longer the words I hear from behind me in the mirror but they are still in my head, those words and those actions will never leave me. The memories are still there. Telling me to blend in. Don’t wear that, it doesn’t matter if you like it don’t wear it. Wow. How many times have I subconsciously chosen to blend in for all the wrong reasons?

Moment of realisation – 27.8.20 – I am keeping all of those outfits and GUESS WHAT?

I am going to wear them all with pride…………………………………



Samantha Mitcham

Mother 👧 Accountant 👩‍💻 Writing to release 🖊