I have always been the “fat” one. Growing up whether it be amongst my friends or family, I was the girl with the extra curves. And from a very young age, I was taught to be ashamed of my body. I was particularly body-shamed by elders who they themselves were overweight and didn’t want the same “fate” for me. I was constantly told to move more, eat less, do this, and wear that. But no matter what combination of rules I followed I could never get a hang of it. I danced all my life, swam, and ate pretty balanced meals, but I would still remain the chubby girl that I am.
Around 11 I started developing low-self esteem. I may not have shown it in my chipper and amiable chatterbox self, but I was very self-conscious of my body. By the time I headed off to Junior High, I began to accept I was never going to be pretty. At that time, I equated prettiness with being thin, blonde, and white. I am curvy, brown and have so much thick black hair I have extra on my arms. And it was there I began to hide in shame. I was a size 10 and all I wanted to do was disappear into my clothes when all these 00 jean wearing girls were around me. And I did just that. I only wore large baggy gym t-shirts and thick grandma style stretchy pants. Gah. I remember always wanting to wear jeans but never dared to because the few times I tried a pair, in store, they were horrifying experiences.
But something happened. One day I just stopped caring what people thought and said. When I looked in the mirror, I loved the girl I saw, and if others didn’t then I didn’t need them in my life. I finally began to accept myself and experiment with clothes–like really experimented 😅. I went through this whole punk phase, thrifted clothes and even re-design some of my own pieces. I became confident and it was contagious. In high school I even had one of those movie moments were the hot guy picked me over the popular girl! ☺ I thought I would never doubt myself again.
Fast forward to after college, I became an adult and I met the man of my dreams. We got married and were off to live our fairytale ending, right? Well, no one ever really tells you how hard adult life and marriage can be. I started to feel stuck in my career, unsatisfied with my self and on top of that, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and PCOS both a cause to my neverending weight gain. I became the biggest I had ever been. And when I looked into the mirror I felt like I lost the girl I learned to love. I was sad, cynical and I stopped caring.
I didn’t bother with my appearance much because I thought “what’s the point, I am way too big now.” So, just like before, I used clothes to hide. I started wearing big sweaters, oversized tees and cardigans. I wore anything I could wrap myself in to hide my body. I carried around big bags and purses just so I could use them to cover my stomach when sitting. I had a strategy. But living like this left me utterly unhappy with myself. At the time I had already started beauty blogging, so this became the only outlet where I felt most like my creative self. It was an opportunity to express all that was inside on my face, my canvas, without feeling like someone was going to judge my belly rolls. And then I came across the world of plus-size fashion!
I was first introduced to this whole new world through GabiFresh. She is a curvy Queen and confident in every inch of her skin. I wanted that kind of confidence again and so, I decided to love myself. I started by challenging myself to come outside my comfort zone fashionably and started working with new brands like Gwynnie Bee. If you are not familiar with Gwynnie Bee you need to check them out. They gave me access to an endless wardrobe of over 150 brands, sizes 10-32, at my fingertips! Gwynnie Bee’s system is so simple and easy to use, you can either #RentNReturn or #BorrowNBuy. And there is no limit to how often you return and add items to your closet. The endless options and styles I got to play with really helped me see I could wear more than just drapes 😂. It’s a closet where there is absolute freedom to try, discover and play. If you get something you don’t want to keep you can return it, but if you get something you fall in love with you can buy it at a discounted price. Here’s a Free 30-Day trial if you are interested in joining the GB fam.
As I reflect on my journey, I am grateful for it, and I hope those on their way are encouraged by my story. And realize, that it is us that first need to recognize our own beauty and worth. Currently, I am a curvy Queen who loves herself but I know there is still much to do (cause no one has arrived and we all should grow daily). I hope you, yes you, know that regardless of your size, race or what you look like, YOU ARE absolutely beautiful, intelligent, capable of more than you can imagine, worth fighting for, and worth loving because you were always made to be a Queen.
1. Tuxedo Cape: Gwynnie Bee
2. Faux Leather Leggings: FTF
3. Crop Top: Forever 21
4. Boots: Torrid