Many of us can relate to the struggle with accepting yourself in a world where there are so many societal expectations of how you should look. Unfortunately, I found my way of coping through starving myself and striving to reach a certain size. I spent approximately 13 years struggling with the idea that voluptuous hips, thick thighs, a prominent behind, and rather large breasts were beautiful. It was always harder for me to find the right fit of clothes due to my body’s proportions. I longed to look like other ladies that did not have the same proportional issues. My whole view of myself was based upon what I thought I should look like, rather than what I loved about myself and how I wanted to share this with the world.
How did I deal with my body dysmorphia? I went from completely covering up to wearing tight, short, or low-cut items showing off my womanly figure. My purpose for putting on clothes was to show how slim my waist was or how toned my legs looked. Color, texture, and fit all took a back seat to the image I wanted to create in people’s minds. Unfortunately, this meant I was poorly dressed in Forever21 and WetSeal clothes. I ended up looking cheap when all I wanted was to look as beautiful as the women I wanted to be like.
What made me change? Well, I went through quite a bit of therapy. I practiced looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself the good things I saw in my reflection. And then I met an amazing man who would look at me and tell me how beautiful I was, no matter how I felt. It took a while, but I came to the place where I focused more on the art of fashion and dressing than my current size. I discovered the beauty of the human body and how dressing could change my outlook as well as others around me.
In many ways, I look at clothes today like a child. I reach for a leopard print top when I am feeling bold and powerful. When I am down, I put on darker colors and dramatic makeup. If I don’t like how something looks, I don’t wear it. This may sound simple, but I can honestly say that I have spent many a day looking at the closet trying to evaluate how I would like to interact with the world that day. I have struggled with my body, my imagination, and my acceptance of myself. But ultimately, the difficulties have taught me that clothes and fashion can be a refuge, a place where you can be whatever you want. All you have to do is turn on the light, look in the mirror, and start discovering what you love. The things that you love will overflow into the outfit you choose and create the image you want to project to the world.