Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Every Day Battle: Body Image




Top: TJMaxx (similar here)//Shorts: American Eagle//Watch: Fossil

Hey Y'all. This is a really hard post to write, but I feel like this blog wouldn't be what I want it to be without getting personal. Part of why I wanted to create this blog was to have a way for people who are similar to my size, aka some curves in the body shape, that they can wear styles that are popular and styles that are classic and look great in the outfit. For me, I'm constantly scrolling through Instagram and seeing these outfits that I love but know I could never pull off.

Two of the popular outfit styles that I thought wouldn't work out with my body type but actually do are jumpsuits and two pieces. For the jumpsuit, it wasn't until I was watching a segment on jumpsuits on Good Morning America where the stylist said they are made for all body types that I finally went out to try some on and now I wear jumpsuits a majority of the time, especially to church and any Broadway shows or the ballet.

But while this all seems like a great outcome, it's not always like this. Most of the time I go shopping and I leave empty handed because I either don't see what I'm looking for or the item I really wanted to get didn't look good on me. This is because of the body image issues I struggle with. This isn't something that I take lightly and I've most likely suffered from it for years. Before I go further into this, I just want it to be CLEAR that there was NO ONE who caused this to happen or any bullying, but that this is an INTERNAL BATTLE WITH MYSELF.

When thinking hard about it, this probably started around high school as I'm sure it does for others. For most, it's just the typical high school experience, but for me high school was pretty normal for me. I had my group of friends and made memories that will last a lifetime. However, I was also a dancer growing up. I was a part of the local ballet company and I believe this is where it started, especially during the high school years. While there was the typical having a larger chest than what is typical in the body shape of most dancers, there was also this period of time that actually affected me until about a year ago.

When I was 16, I had reconstructive jaw surgery for a health reason and was put on a liquid diet for a week and then a soft food diet for 5 weeks. This caused me to lose 15 pounds and with all the dance classes and rehearsals, I was able to keep it off. When I first came back to school and dance after the surgery, everyone made comment about how great and skinny I looked. Again, I am NOT BLAMING ANYONE who made these comments that they are the reason why I now struggle daily with body image issues.

However, these comments made me feel good about myself and I needed to be that weight to look good in clothes and in general. I knew during my senior year of high school I was beginning to gain weight, but I never realized how much I gained during senior year of high school and freshman year of college until the summer of 2013. I also learned that summer I was borderline anemic and spent the summer aware of what I was eating, more for increasing iron levels than losing weight. 

Sophomore year of college, I tried a low carb diet for a month and while I thought it was easy, I would still go a little crazy on the cheat day and it would be counterproductive to the work I would do the other six days. I did keep a few diet items from it till I graduated, such as only getting salads from Subway in the campus student union and only being able to drink diet soft drinks for the majority of the time, as my body cannot handle as much sugar in a drink as before. 

I did not realize it at the time, but the majority of my weight gain came my junior year and it wasn't until after a family cruise that summer, I decided to join a gym and try to start losing weight and becoming healthy again. I didn't begin to realize the difference just a few weeks made until I looked at pictures taken at a bridal shower in May and pictures taken at the wedding in August. I began to feel good about myself and got into the routine of working out regularly. 

I lost the initial twenty pounds and gained some muscle and I was feeling good when I graduated. After moving back home for my gap year and starting to work at the restaurant, I would go to the gym during my breaks on a double shift until I was promoted to work catering and take out. Working in a restaurant is a good workout thought as I was carrying boxes with pans of lasagna and jars of sauce and standing on my feet all day. The take out window was also 30 pounds to push up, which allowed me a daily arm workout. 

Since moving to the city, I have again lost weight just from daily activities. I tell people that NYC is a personal gym between having to walk a lot and the stairs in all the subway stations. I still have my work cut out for me and I need to start getting back into the routine of going to the gym, but I'm getting closer to a size where I feel I can wear more of the newer styles of clothes that are popular. I will say that since senior year of college, I have felt beautiful and comfortable in my skin and it has made me a more confidant person. 

There are still days where I struggle with how I view my weight and how I look in the mirror. A majority of the time, I take apart pictures and find the one thing I don't like about myself in it. It becomes an obsession and it not only hinders the amount of content I post on Instagram and on the blog, it also hinders how I view myself and causes the voice in my head to think how people are going to react to it. 

The same is with putting a picture on Instagram and the picture not receiving a lot of likes or the fact that my following is growing slowly. It makes me think that there is something wrong with me, but there isn't. Trying to make a business out of a blog and instagram is hard work and it's going to be a long process, but because I view myself as different from others, I need to use that advantage to make me stand out in what I create and put out there.

Don't take what anyone says about your body shape or type personally. We are all made differently and we should be building each other up. Even though I feel it has gotten better, the entertainment industry and fashion industry has made girls and women feel like they need to look like the models to be able to wear the outfits. I want to be here to remind you that the outfit doesn't make you look good, but you and your confidence makes the outfit look good on you. If you are not comfortable or confident in what you are wearing, then it won't look good on you. 

As I said before, this is a hard post for me to write, but I feel like it's important to share and talk about it. If you need to talk about anything similar to anyone, I'm always open to be a listening ear. The comment section is always open or you can DM me on Instagram. 

Much love, 
Melissa 

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For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 




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