The Awkward Years
I've actually been wanting to write about this for a while. It's something that has been heavy on my heart though a lot recently.
The Awkward Years? Remember those? You might even be reading this and thinking that you are still in your Awkward Years. Recently, I received a couple of comments that could be perceived as negative on Instagram and it started to make me think about why I am doing this blog in the first place. Why am I letting people into my private life by showing outfits that I come up with? Why am I showing the world how I look today? I love fashion and I also love the fact that I can get creative and mix and match things- i.e. my love for pattern mixing, etc. Social media allows us to look into peoples' lives and also allows us an easy avenue to express our opinions or ask questions that quite possibly shouldn't be asked.
I will tell you why I am writing this post at this exact time. There are really a few reasons for this. First of all, I will share with you that I have never been thin. I have always struggled with self-confidence issues and even today, I have times when I hate the way I look. In my younger life I thought it would be better if I was thinner, if I had less acne, if I played a different sport, etc. You get the idea. I grew up Baptist and wasn’t allowed to wear pants and had to wear dresses or culottes. My parents didn’t let me wear makeup until I was in 9th grade and I had horrible acne. I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 16. There were so many restrictions placed on our outward appearance.(Don't get me wrong-there is nothing wrong with these things if this is what you believe. In my own life as a grown woman, I now choose when I will do these things.) "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart." I had a hard time loving myself the way I was because I didn’t feel like I looked good on the outside.
As I have grown up, I learned that it is better for me to be myself. I am more comfortable and confident in my own skin. While I may have more of it, it is mine and I have learned to love it. My least favorite part of my body is my legs, but you know what? They are what gets me around. They are what helped me run my 5K. And what will help me to run a 10K this year. They are what I need to live in this life independently. I don't take them for granted one bit and even if I don't feel super confident about them, I look at all of these positives.
Secondly, as I was growing up in those awkward years, kids were mean to me-just like they were probably mean to you and maybe they are being mean to your kids now. Kids need a positive example and someone to look at and say “Look at her! She might be bigger but she has got it together!” Having it together might be a stretch, but you get my point. They need someone to look at it and know that it’s okay to be different.
Thirdly, I would like to show the world what it is like to be a curvy woman and have a style. My vision of my brand is really to let you all know that this is life. We are not all thin and we all have our own unique style and look. You just have to own it. We are mothers and daughters and coworkers and business owners and stay-at-home moms. You can be bigger and look beautiful and have confidence in yourself. You can express yourself through fashion and in a modest way and still look beautiful.
I was private when I first went on Instagram a couple of years ago. I started an account for the filter on the pictures. While it might seem dumb now, given all of the apps that are out, it wasn’t then. I learned that I could follow people and see pictures and outfit ideas and decided to go public with mine last year. While I stepped up my game with the outfits of the day, I also realized that I am unique. I may not be able to wear everything that everyone else wears and really, it’s a godsend. Imagine how much shopping I would really do if this was the case! But what I also realized was that there is a lack of positive, modest role models in the world. It’s hard to find people who dress normally on a day to day basis and actually show you where they shop and buy their clothes.
While I don’t think I should have to share what sizes I wear (and yes, I have also been asked this question), if you have a similar shape as mine, you might get ideas of how to put yourself together better. (While the actual size that you wear doesn't matter-I still believe that you can be beautiful whatever the size is that you wear). Size is just a number - if you have clothes that FIT you, it doesn't matter what size you are! Maybe you enjoy spending all day in pajamas and yoga pants (and I would never judge you for that) but need an idea for an outfit when you go out. Or maybe you just like seeing other people who are like you and have a similar style. Whatever the reason, I chose to go public to be an inspiration to curvy girls everywhere.
I am happy with the positive feedback that I have been receiving. I can't believe how many people have reached out to me, especially since I started blogging, to tell me that I have inspired them or that I am helping them to love themselves and learn to dress themselves. I am humbled and honored when I receive a kind word and know that I have helped someone.
I also know that an area that I need to work on in my personal life is not getting defensive when I do receive negative comments and look at the facts. If you choose to judge a book by its cover, then it’s really your issue and not mine. I need to continue to be me and love me for me. If you see a picture of me and you don't know me, you are judging this book by its cover. While I am on a journey just like everyone else to eat better and exercise more and stay healthy, I own the woman I am today.
You know all of those people who made fun of you back in the day? Have you ever stopped to see where they are now? Just think about it. If they could see you now, what would they say?
I came upon a project on Instagram last year that really made me think about my journey of self-discovery and becoming the person I am today. A woman started something called The Awkward Years Project after sharing a similar experience as mine. If we could only see the people that we will become in the future, our lives may be forever changed. I decided to post my before and after picture as well. I chose a really bad one with glasses, a bowl haircut, and wearing a dress as this was probably one of my most awkward looks growing up. I didn’t know the person that I would become today. I had no idea that I would someday have the ability to influence others. I am continually thankful for this opportunity.
To see my story and others just like mine, visit www.awkwardyearsproject.com. I promise you will be inspired and touched by the stories that you read.
Thanks for reading and following along with me!