Saturday, 5 May 2012

My Emotional Size...

*Little Potential Trigger Warning as regards Growing Up and Self Acceptance*


I feel emotional today.
But let me start with this: for the record, I am 32. 

This week has been quite a great week for me in the blogging world. I attended two great events - the Eveden AW Lingerie Launch as well as a Charity Fashion Show put on by Carolyn De La Drapiere. I connected with the Curve side of AXParis and have an item in hand to review for you. I posted my interview with Harriet Coleman, as well as secured another couple of interviews with totally HOT Plus Models. I met up with some fellow bloggers and we talked about how we feel in our little fashion world and I also went out with a girl I met because she READS this blog.

All really good things. 

Last night, while I was at the Fashion Show, I tweeted: 


All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for blogs. 

Thank goodness for the internet and the ability of like minded women to pull together and chat about fashion and shapes and bodies. I was watching last night and all I could think was that I WISHED there were more teenagers and young women and girls in attendance. The models on show were stunners across a variety of ages, heights, shapes and sizes. All of them were beautiful and unique. All I could think was - I needed this when I was in my teens. 

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Little me and my little sister.

Now truthfully ladies? I am lucky with my upbringing. I come from a big family in which we were taught never to pick on each other's physicality. We were taught not to be mean. We were all different, with different issues and certainly, I was the chubby one. I think I got called "Thunder Thighs" at least once, but to be honest, we almost never picked on each other's aesthetics. What I'm trying to say is that at home, I was never really made to feel bad about myself for being overweight (one of my best friends gave me a diet book when I was 15 for my birthday - but that's a whole other story). Inherently, in my upbringing we were taught that we were all "okay". On top of that, we were taught about health and being aware of ourselves and our bodies - but ALWAYS, right at the root of that, was that we were "okay". Beautiful, even. That doesn't mean I didn't have massive body issues or struggle with my image or size - I certainly did and I've written about some of that before... What it did mean though, is that I had a really good grounding with which to tackle my body issues, because at my core, my mum and dad taught me: I was okay. Not everyone is that lucky. I am well aware of that.

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Models at the Plus Size Charity Fashion Show.

For me last night, even with my current day confidences, I still looked at those models and felt really emotional WISHING I had seen them when I was 14. We are all self critical in our own ways. As females, most of us grew up with images of very slender women surrounding us (in magazines and the like) and those images were sold and published as what we should be aspiring to... Thank goodness for the recent explosion of designers and bloggers and models and magazines aimed at focusing on a range of bodies and differences. 
This week, out with fellow bloggers - Claire, Bets and Lauren, it was refreshing to talk so candidly about what we're seeing in Plus Fashion. At the Lingerie Launch we attended, there were three different models. All of them tall (and totally sexy), but there was one model, Alex, who was there specifically to showcase bras and pants for heavier curves. There were also curvier mannequins, wearing the lingerie that I'd buy. I wasn't told to look at a slim model or mannequin and then imagine the lingerie on my figure - I was given a curvy mannequin and a curvy model to boot. That actually moved me and was a really great showing by Elomi. To be honest, the Eveden group NAILED that Launch and I will post more on it soon.

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Model, Alex, for Elomi at the Eveden Launch.

Georgina was at the Eveden Launch too. I'm kind of in awe of Georgina. I really like her as a person, but she's also someone I wish I could've known when I was a teenager: you know, when I was struggling with a pair of boobs BIGGER than everyone else I knew. What a role model she is. Georgina has embraced her figure and looks totally fierce while doing it. I wish I'd had a Georgina to look up to as I went through puberty - but honestly, I thank goodness I know her now! Totally inspiring. Thank goodness, to be honest, to all the bloggers (including Gabi, Hayley and Val) who inspired me to really get involved.

What an amazing time. Whether you're older than me or younger than me - if you're reading this, THANK YOU for being here. My blog has grown bigger than I ever thought it would be and I have many women from all over the world stopping by. I hope whoever you are and no matter your age, you know you're part of something that's making a huge difference. And not just to 14 year old girls. You make a difference to women and girls ALL OVER who are yet to find us online. You're also making a difference to the women and girls who are already here, but are still coming to grips with the concept of knowing, inherently, that they are "okay".

WE ARE ALL OKAY.

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xxx


22 comments:

  1. Ah Em....I'm 40 (41 this year) and I wish all this had been around when I WAS 32....in a way I'm sad I only found this community and all the resources and support it's brought me in the last year but I'm not sure if I'd have had the confidence before turning 40 to embrace it fully....I now, thanks to folks like you, Claire, Gina, Bets, and co - have style and enjoy clothes. We are all ok and I love you for saying it.

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  2. I found this post really inspiring! I also wish there had been more curvy ladies around when I was a teenager. Perhaps if there had been personal style blogs from plus size women at my disposal in my teen years I wouldn't have spent most of my years so self-conscious with who I am that I hated every part of me. Curvier models and bloggers have been such an inspiration to me over the last year, and I'm finally happy with who I am! Gotta say I love the polka dot underwear and Georgina's cherry dress, too!

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  3. This post is so lovely & beautifully written Em. I am so appreciative of the new mindset of "no matter what shape or size someone is we are all beautiful" has been focused on more. It's great to read blogs & see more up & coming plus size fashion to help enhance people's confidence. Once again, a great post.
    :)
    Charlotte x

    charlotte-sugarandspice.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. I love this post, I completely agree with you everything you say. I have followed your blog for a long time, as a very quiet follower. Thanks to you and other bloggers I have started to feel a lot better about myself, and more confident. Something that may have happened a lot sooner if I had people to look up to and at that were more like me.

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  5. Em, How adorable is that picture of you as a little girl! OMG! So precious! :)

    So true about the blogosphere -- young girls (and not so young) can find friends, encouragement, support, all sorts of good stuff! I have no doubt that you are helping many young women!! I wish I had the Internet when I was a teen!

    Your Mum must be so incredibly proud of you!

    xx

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  6. LOVE these comments, ladies - thank you.

    I am so pleased for our little, yet strong, community. Thank goodness we're all here and in this together, really. x.

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  7. My life was pretty chaotic this week and there were times that I felt like I wanted to go home and pull up the covers. I went to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia last week. Me. A size 22Aus. In a world full of size 6 girls in tiny dresses and big high heels. Sure, I felt out of place for a while, but then I realised I was having so much fun, that I felt beautiful and that people were looking at me for my outfit, not how fat I was, that I relaxed and got right into the swing of things!

    I too wish that I'd been exposed to more body love when I was younger. But now we have all of these amazing blogs and a little online community and it's just fabulous.

    <3 your work. Stay gorgeous!

    Caitlin
    www.closet-confessions.com

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  8. I wish I had grown up in a more positive household like you, my mom was always worried about her weight so as I got bigger she started constantly putting me on diets, talking about weight loss, and making it a non-stop "issue" we had to deal with. My brother grew up having the opposite problem of not being able to gain any weight and he said some pretty vicious things to me, I kind of started to accept that I was just "hideous". The worst people were the children at school, they would say such horrible things and when I look back I realize I was called fat/ugly when I wasn't. I held my life back so many times because I was afraid to potentially get ridiculed or rejected, I still do hide sometimes and accepting myself is an on-going struggle. I want to tell you that I think you are gorgeous and I love when you make posts like this, sometimes it feels really lonely being a plus sized lady in this world. The fashion show looks and sounds like so much fun, I wish we had more events like that around where I live in the States, all the girls look so beautiful.

    <3Hoenysuckelle

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  9. Great post, I wish all my clients could read this

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  10. This is a great post. I realised recently that one of the reasons I love plus-size blogs is because I really didn't have any role models when I was a teenager - there was nobody telling me it was possible for me to look good as I was, and it was years before I was able to come to that conclusion on my own.

    When I realised that I went to my "about me" page and added "I aspire to be the positive plus-size role model I wish I'd had when I was growing up."

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  11. Thanks for this amazing post! I wish that I'd had women like these as role models growing up. I had a great family life as well, but I struggled with being the first girl in my grade to get hips & boobs, with being curvy when everyone else I knew was slender, and with never seeing anyone who looked like me in the media.

    Thank heavens for blogs & awesome bloggers like you!

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  12. Great post, very thought provoking. I too wish I'd grown up in a home like yours. I was a lovely round teen - no bigger than a 10 or 12 but made to feel huge and ugly. I wish I'd had some role models or just someone to tell me I was ok because we're not all meant to be the same!

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  13. All I can say is 'Me too.'

    If I'd had some better guidance around me when I was a teenager I can't imagine how different my journey would've been. All I can say is, if I'm ever lucky enough to be a mum I will make it my life's work to let my kid(s) know they are perfect exactly as they are. xoxox

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  14. What a great post, and such a cute photo of you when you were little!

    I think you were really lucky to be in a family where fat / size wasn't an issue, and I wish I had been in the same position. My Mum would never go swimming with us because she was "too fat" (when she was not fat at all, just a normal healthy size), and when I got married she said that I couldn't wear the dress I chose as I looked too fat in it, and made me where a hideous loose purple velour tunic and matching trousers! She always said that certain clothes were not suitable for me as they were not flattering, or I looked too fat in them. Even now, at 36, her thought influence me still. She says I cannot have a dress as they do not suit me due to my size / shape. She says I have a fat belly and big boobs and that makes it very difficult to wear nice clothes, other than trousers and baggy tops, which she's kind of right about, but I wish she wasn't!
    She comments alot about my 12 year old daughter, and keeps on about the size of her bum and legs. She doesn't seem to think she is being mean to either of us, and when I tell her she is, she cannot see it as she is only trying to "help" us!!
    She summed it all up at yesterday, when I got my daughter a beautiful prom / evening dress from the charity shop, that she wants for her 13th birthday party. It is a UK 16, and it looks beautiful on her. I made a comment that I was jealous as my daughter can set her mind on a clothing item, be it dress, skirt etc, and go out and get it, and look lovely in it, when I can't. My mother said it is because my daughter doesn't care what she looks like, which isn't true as she does. But then my Mum explained that you are supposed to buy clothes that make you look thinner than you are, and therefore flatter you, whereas my daughter will wear clothes that make her look the size she is. Personally, I can't see what's wrong with that, and she looks lovely at her size, but my Mum's attitude has shaped my view of myself and is now so engrained into my psyche, that I will never be able to overcome it. I'm just so pleased that my daughter has a completely different attitude and doesn't see skinny / thin as something she should be aspiring to!

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    Replies
    1. KayTee: that's so sad ... Your Mum is twinkly insecure and unhappy with herself. Be so careful with your own thought process ... Therapy had helped me so so much ... Of it available, go! ;)
      Mum likely took similar abuse herself and, possibly, sincerely doesn't want you to live/think/feel as she did » sadly doing so much damage!

      Mum and I have similar disconnect ... Therapy has been eye opening ... I now have two healthy, active, beautiful & perfectly imperfect incredible little girls to teach & protect ...

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  15. I commented on this a few days ago but it looks like my comment was lost in the WWW! lol

    Anyway I am really glad that you joined the blogging world, it wouldn't be the same without you! :)

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  16. You're amazing and this post breaks my heart. I come from a family of overweight people. I think my mum feels eternally guilty for passing on her emotional eating habits. When I was growing up, I got ridiculed constantly. At 24, I still feel like a freak- I'm a tall girl and I've never thought before that being the way I am is acceptable. That never entered my head through childhood or into my teens.

    I have an amazingly handsome, kind (thin) boyfriend who cannot understand my issue with myself. I only wish he (and bloggers like you) were around during my youth.

    Thank you Em and keep blogging- keep selling, too! My City Chic black dress arrived today and brought me out of my terrible mood!

    Abbie

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  17. When I was a teenager I thought that because back then all the skinny, pretty and popular girls got the boys, I was never going to get a boyfriend. I was the short, chubby one with the nice personality.

    As I got older things changed, and I have a lovely boyfriend now who loves me as I am. I guess being skinny is not the be all and end all. I have some gorgeous slim friends, but I also know some beautiful bigger women too. It gives me inspiration to see blogs like this saying "Screw society, I AM beautiful". This is quite an emotional subject for me as I've had real ups and downs.

    I decided to start my own blog to express myself (even though I'm not a mega follower of fashion, I like to experiment with looks!)

    http://prettycrazyawesome.blogspot.com/

    It's not much but I'm just starting. Loving your blog though!!

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  18. Wow, I've only just come across your blog and I love it. I was actually one of the models at the 'Darling Buds of May' charity fashion show, although I'm not actually a 'real' model. I met Carolyn in a shop in Kew when she asked me if I'd ever done any modelling as she was looking for new faces for her label. I was flattered and thought 'why not' which was particularly uncharacteristic of me.

    Participating in the show was one of the most liberating and confidence-boosting things I've done in a long, long while. All the models ranged in age, height and size and what I loved is that they were all confident about their bodies, their long legs but wobbly thighs, or big boobs and matching big hips, or curvy waist with a smattering of stretch marks. It made me feel okay that I too had stretch marks, cellulite and wobbly bits, and was part of this beautiful sisterhood of women. I've performed many times in my life but walking down the catwalk was definitely one of the most nerve racking things I've done, and I just hoped I managed to convince the audience that I was a 'real' model like the other girls.

    I've had long battle with a binge eating disorder since my early teens and have only been diagnosed in the last year. I've been everything from a size 10 to a size 24 and now sit somewhere between a 14-16. These days my focus is on my health and letting my body find it's own natural weight and I actually think it's almost there.

    But I really wanted to say thank you for your vulnerability, for wearing your heart on your sleeve and for being body proud of your gorgeous curves. It makes me feel that little bit braver to be comfortable in my skin, wobbly bits and all, and to love myself no matter what size jeans I may be wearing. It's a long journey to self acceptance and love, but day by day I am getting there.

    Keep on the great work xxx


    P.S. I actually think I may have sat in front of you during the second fashion show and remember thinking you looked fab, so at least I now know where I can buy your dress from!!

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  19. I just wanted to write and reiterate how appreciative I am of all you girls. Newcomers and long-time readers alike - you make this space worthwhile for me on a wonderful level. I appreciate you all and I genuinely love that so many of you are candid and share with me and this space, so openly. Thank you, also, for listening to me.

    Thank you lovelies. x.

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  20. Love it. Love it all.
    Thanks to you & others (like Georgina) who share openly & inspire others to love ourselves. I'm sure when I see similar insecurities in others that it helps me to see how unnecessary those insecurities are on my part ...

    gorgeous!

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  21. Great post!!!
    Also, that pic of Lauren, Georgina and Bets is fantastic - these 3 ladies look AMAZING, it made me want to hang out with them!

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Hi there! Thank you for leaving your post. Due to some blatantly obvious spammers I have had to turned comment moderation back on with word captcha for older posts. Hopefully the spammers will bugger off and I can take some of the settings back to normal quickly! Thank you and smooches! Em. x