Friday, 11 May 2018

My Plus Size Spring Look Book & Thoughts On Embracing Body Confidence

For the last few months, I've been on a bit of  a "journey". 

I do realise how much of a massive cliche that sounds, but it's the only way I can think of to describe the shift in mindset I've experienced since the start of 2018.

Most New Years since I've reached adulthood (and even long before then) have seen me making the same old resolutions over and over again.

"I will lose 3 stone by summer"

"I will get down to a size 14 before my next holiday!"

And without fail, every year - something would get in the way. Last year I actually DID manage to lose around 2 stone and I got down to a size 16...but then right on cue, just like it always does, my Graves disease hit out at me again and I was back on my steroid medication. And within less than a couple of months, all of my hard work was undone and I was rising back through the dress sizes once again...all the way back up to a 20 where I'd started.

It's hard to explain how soul destroying it is to feel so completely out of control of your own body. And it's hard to explain how maddening it is to watch as the "reward" for the months of near starvation  and forced exercise you put yourself through all crumbles away before your eyes. 

And so this year, as the clock struck 12 on New Years Eve...I decided enough was enough.

That there would be no weight loss goals this year. There would be no resolutions centred around my physical appearance.

Instead, I would focus on training my mind to be healthier....on retraining my inner voice to be kinder...on focusing more on what's truly important.

I didn't really know how I was going to do that at first. But almost as if by fate, one evening I was scrolling through my phone when I came across a photo.

A photo of a happy, smiling, beautiful girl with rainbow hair and the most adorable outfit. Her smile was infectious, and she exuberated light and confidence.

She was BodyPosiPanda - and through following her Instagram page and watching her YouTube videos, I was introduced to the Body Positivity movement and, along with it, the strive for body acceptance for everybody.

Through following BodyPosiPanda's social media accounts, I started to come across more and more diverse and beautiful people celebrating all kinds of bodies in all of their glory - people of all shapes and sizes, all colours, all abilities and all across the gender spectrum. 

And the more I saw and read of their stories and journeys, the more inspired I felt. And the more my eyes were opened to the true beauty of diversity. And the beauty and simplicity of loving the skin you're in...embracing it, owning it, being proud of it and celebrating it.

And after a little while, I found that I no longer wanted to starve and punish my body for the way it looks. I no longer felt angry at it for not looking how I thought it should. I just felt grateful for the 3 children it's given to me, for how hard it's worked all these years to overcome illness, and for all of the places it's taken me to and the things it's allowed me to see and experience.

My body may not look like everybody's idea of beautiful - but I've finally realised that it does not need to.

That there is no true happiness in living to please other people by way of your appearance. And that no amount of weight loss is ever going to feel better than loving yourself unconditionally.

And so, over the past few months, I've been challenging myself.

Birdie Floral Tea Dress: Joanie Clothing - £38.

For too long I've chosen clothes with the purpose of covering myself up as much as possible - of hiding myself away and trying my best not to be noticed. I chose mostly dark colours, I always wore sleeves, I NEVER wore anything knee length or above without leggings underneath. I never wore anything figure hugging, instead I usually chose things that were 2 sizes too big so that they'd swamp my frame and make it impossible for anyone to see my shape beneath them.

I lived in constant fear of having names related to my weight called out to me in the street, every time a stranger spoke to me I worried myself sick waiting for them to ask if I was my mind, being thought of as fat was the worst thing that could possibly happen.

But no more.

By reclaiming the word Fat and using it exactly as it was intended to be a descriptive word and not an insult or slur...I've taken away all of its power. 

AM fat. And that's just fine. I'm also intelligent, kind, thoughtful and a f***ing nice person thanksverymuch!

And by deciding to choose clothes based purely on what I LIKE rather than what parts of me I'd rather hide or what is "flattering" - I've rediscovered the FUN of fashion!

Nisha Dress, £45, Joanie Clothing

Because that's exactly what fashion should be! It's FUN to choose clothes that are pretty - to wear dresses that make you feel fancy, to wear prints and bright colours and to just throw all of the bullshit rules that society has made you believe that you need to adhere to for so long OUT OF THE WINDOW!

You are allowed to wear ANYTHING that you want.

You are entitled to respect, and kindness no matter WHAT you look like and no matter WHAT you wear.

You do NOT need to try and make yourself look smaller. You do NOT need to take up less space in this world. You deserve MORE space. Own it! Take as much of it as you need. DO YOUR THING!!!

None of us are getting out of this thing alive anyway, so you might as well make the absolute most of your time while you're here.

And if anybody has anything negative to say about the way you look - you don't need them around you and you certainly don't need to give them the courtesy of listening. If they're going to pass judgement on you over something so superficial, they cannot possibly have your best interests at heart. Not even if they throw the "health" concerns at you - if they were truly concerned about your wellbeing, they wouldn't be throwing shade at you - they'd be just as concerned about your mental health and would reel their nastiness in. 

Dress, £19, Next
 Rainbow Stripe Jumper, £24, Next

So here's to a summer of embracing life and enjoying fashion once again! 

And don't worry if you don't feel confident right away, nobody does...fake it 'til you make it and it'll start to come.

 Yellow Maxi Dress, £24, Next

I don't want to teach my children that we need to fit a certain beauty standard in order to be accepted or to enjoy life.

I don't want to teach them that they need to worry about what other people think of them.

I want to teach them that all bodies are beautiful and all bodies are equally deserving of admiration, respect and kindness.

I refuse to spend any more of my time worrying about what my body looks like in a swim suit and what Joe Blogs might think of me when I could be out there soaking up the sunshine and splashing in the sea, enjoying my life.

I refuse to waste another day forcing vile milkshakes down my throat and praying to the Weight Loss Gods for another half pound loss when I could be eating foods I love and spending my time worrying about something far more selfless.

I won't waste another second of life terrified about the opinions of people who mean nothing to me and have no right to any opinion on what I wear or how I look. If they want to spend their lives wrapped up in society's mind-numbing obsession with looks that's their business - I can think of far more interesting ways to spend my time and energy.

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