Bloggers are pretty bold when it comes to appearance. Think about the act of creating a look, posing for images, weaning out everything unflattering, posting photos online and waiting for feedback from a group of strangers. If you would have told me in high school that I would be one of the many who put myself on a public display day after day, I’d stare at you like you had three heads. This blog rides the line between charity and fashion, motivational and stylish, etc. There’s a constant dichotomy but as of lately you might have noticed my face been present less and less. The reason’s a little embarrassing but level with me here.
Size and weight. These are two necessary evils that plague me every time I trample through my closet. I’ve established an unreliable self-confidence seesaw over the eight years of my life that is solely controlled by these two measurements. I can say I’ve owned every size, from 12 to 2, in the last eight years until I finally landed on a comfortable size 4/6. And when I’m stressed or bloated or irritable, that 6 may not be a 6 at all. They are simply numbers, so why do they have so much power over my outlook for the day?
The idea of being thin in high school seemed like fiction to me. I spent my time in art rooms and at theater rehearsal feeling just peachy about my size-10 American Eagle jeans until I suddenly wasn’t fine at all. I’d say my confidence issues were there, but swelled up tremendously once I began an ill-advised relationship. Soon I was proving to myself and to someone else that I could change drastically for the better. The lower the number on the scale, the happier I was. Even after fitting into teeniest of tiny shorts that now hang in my closet as some kind of twisted reminder, I recall still being miserable and quite obsessed with “getting better,” “getting toned,” and “getting skinnier.” And THIS, my beautiful friends, is the core of my story. There wasn’t something wrong with my body, there was something wrong with my confidence.
I missed out a piece of my life and drove myself into the ground of self-judgement while doing so. During the time that I was too busy counting the number of almonds I would eat for lunch, the age of 22 came and went.
After a major breakup, I was so consumed with stress that my image was put on the back burner. I stopped taking care of my body as much, saw the negative results, and began to get active again. Recently, I went through another stressful situation and landed myself right back into the slums. I was on a demented roller coaster that was driving my wardrobe insane. The funny thing was that even at my lowest weight, I never felt the confidence I did in high school when I didn’t care what my arms looked like in a strapless dress and I wore bathing suits in front of my friends without flinching. The damage I did to my self-worth lingered in my early twenties and would peek out from under the scale, in the cabinets, and at the gym. I can’t recall the positive compliments I’ve heard from friends but if you asked me to document the times when I felt demeaned by myself and others based on my appearance, I could write you a long-winded memoir.
It took me a year to decide to start this blog. Why? Because I couldn’t bring myself to feel comfortable with putting my image out there for the world to see. Several months ago, I nearly stayed home from a blogging event just because I didn’t feel comfortable in any item I tried on. I’ve seen people in malls, movie theaters, restaurants, etc., and thought “Wow, I wish I had the confidence to rock that outfit.” The crazy truth about this statement is that no matter what your size is, you’ve probably been there too. I realized this during my own conversations with friends far thinner than I am who I personally felt were “perfect.” Imperfections we would never see in each other are the same ones we see in ourselves each day.
So let’s talk about the photos. As mentioned, I’m in an upswing moment. Extremely stressed out, hypothyroidism spiked, and completely unwilling to snap a selfie let alone have a photoshoot, I felt the reasons for NOT taking these photos outweighed the odds. I thought I’d never see the day where I wear 1) bold prints and 2) a jumper. They always felt shapeless to me, like I was hiding my fat in a potato sack. Well, this Lilly Pulitzer for Target number caught my eye and once I tried it on, I was drinking the Kool-Aid. It’s the most comfortable thing I’ve EVER worn and while I look at these pictures and find 1,001 flaws, I have to remember how I felt while wearing it. That’s the beautiful part that sometimes feels so difficult to own up to.
No matter how I feel today, I’m going to be larger and smaller in my life time. This isn’t the thinnest I’ve been nor the largest, but ultimately I’m the same person no matter what the size. I have the same degree, passions, family life, compassion and intelligence. We develop constantly and often unexpectedly. If we base our beauty standards off of pure numbers, we’ll find that they’re impossible to achieve. Happiness is felt internally, so why let the outside reign over the inside?