Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Foray into Fashion Part #1

Part #1: Accepting my Body

So, my current fashion tale begins with the fact that in the last year I've gained 25 pounds.

Most of my life I been one of the or the "slim(mer) girl" in my group of girlfriends, no matter which group.  I am 5'7, and have generally been a size 8 give or take a little for winter or spring.  When I got married 6 years ago I was a slim 140, and man did I look gorgeous on my wedding day.

Geez, I was skinny!
I gained some weight while hubby and I worked on our masters degrees, but I wasn't too upset.  Going from 140 to 150 was not the worst thing ever.  But what I wasn't prepared for was the way my weight shifted over the past year.

The stress of my doctoral program coupled with anti-depressants and the weird things that happen to a woman's body at the turning point of 30, resulted in a slow, but constant rate of change.  Between struggling with low energy and the impulse to eat my feelings, I simply could not keep this weight gain in check.  Before I knew it, I went from 152 to 160, 170, and now I'm stable at around 178.  Having had a reasonably good self-esteem most of my life, and not much outlet for learning how to discuss my struggles with body image given my friends' situation, I lacked the healthy ways to process how my body was changing.  So, this weight gain added to the spiral of anxiety, low energy, and eating out because of stress and low energy

My most recent full body picture from a year ago; yes, that's a heavy wool coat, but it actually fits me perfectly now.

One of the most important moment in this journey came this past spring.  I was around 170, and nothing was fitting anymore.   A dear girlfriend out here in CA accompanied me to the local Crossroads in Berkeley to help me search for new jeans.  She patiently sifted through the racks of jeans, explained her reasoning for what she picked out, and with the grace only a friend who has walked ahead of you on a road in life can, she waited outside the dressing room for my every worried question, "What do you think?" In every moment she affirmed my beauty, calmed my anxieties, and walked me through the arduous process of accepting this dramatic change in my body.

At the beginning of the summer, I did a small purge of items from my closet.  My husband and I live in a very small apartment with our dog in the East Bay, and we have a general rule - bring something new in, take something old out.  This ensures that we maintain a home in which we are both comfortable.  However, even during this small purge, I was not ready to part with my old "skinny" clothes.  I was not yet ready to accept the body in which I currently live.

The past few months I have been on a journey of self-acceptance.  Beyond just learning to love my body, I've been learning to accept my limitations by setting boundaries.  Its been an amazing time of growth for me.  I've rediscovered my inner-girlie girl who loves to keep up with the rough and tumble boys (for a bit more on that see my previous post "Waking up Girlie").  I've learned to embrace this new body.  Fighting it has only caused me more pain, which has led to more depression and more weight gain.  So, I have decided to give up that nasty little spiral and embraced the epic journey called, "Learning to Love Myself."  The first step on this journey was falling in love with painting my nails, trying new beauty products, caring for my skin, wearing makeup, and doing my hair every day.

Me and hubby on election day this week.

Thus, this blog was born.  I needed to develop an outlet for my newfound passion for makeup, beauty products, talking about these things, and finding ways to fund my expensive hobby.  I am looking for new ways to accept myself, embrace this place in my life, and learn to move forward with love toward myself so that I can express love to others better.

I thank all of you who read, follow, and participate on this blog!

Please stay tuned for part #2 of this episodic adventure where I share how I start moving forward in accepting my body in new ways!