Happy Bachelor Monday! I’m saying it now: Corrine is going home and shit will hit the fan tonight. Who else is pumped to see her go 50 shades of cray cray?
So my posts have been centered mostly around love and Mr. Forever but now I’m going to shift my focus to a topic that’s very important me as a 20-something female and recent events have brought it front and center: female body image and self love. I’m a strength and conditioning coach and ISSA Fitness Nutrition certified so this topic hits close to home. Let’s face it, society isn’t on our side when it comes to our bodies and how we are programmed to see them; it’s a daily struggle to learn to accept and love ourselves for how God made us, but also find that line of making sure that we are still healthy and smart about it too.
Every girl loves to shop right? Even if it’s not for makeup or a bangin purse, it’s still a great feeling when you pick up a few pairs of Nike leggings and some new Adidas All Star Classics. But what about the time where you don’t end up with anything at the checkout line? You know what I’m talking about: the time where you find tons of cute clothes on the racks, take them into the dressing room and…nothing. Nothing looks right, the sizing is all wrong, your arms look weird, the shirts make you look boxy, the jeans won’t pull over your thighs; that time. Well that was my Wednesday.
I needed an outfit for my MOH’s upcoming engagement party (side note: wedding planning at the same time as your best friend is the greatest thing in the world!) and my upcoming bridal shower, plus with this wacky southern weather we are having, I have no warm weather clothes. I had the whole day to shop, a budget and was ready to go! But alas! The shopping God’s just weren’t on my side; nothing was working. I soon found myself going down the path we all go down through: the “ifs”.
“If my legs were longer, this dress wouldn’t make me look so stumpy”, “If my boobs were smaller then this top wouldn’t make me look so trashy”, “If I was skinnier then I wouldn’t look so wide in this top and these jeans would zip.” I started picking myself apart, telling myself that I wasn’t good enough for certain styles or sizes. I pulled my sizes but they just weren’t working for me that day. I looked at myself in the mirror while I had on this super cute off the shoulder ruffled top that looked GREAT on the mannequin (which by the way are super tall with no curves at all) but awful with my larger boobs and wider shoulders and I lost it. I felt defeated, ashamed and ugly. Three things no girl or woman should ever, ever feel. I ended my shopping trip with a chambray jacket, a pair of sneakers, 2 pairs of Nike leggings, 1 t-shirt dress and a lot of self-doubt.
Throughout my twenties I’ve also found my style starting to shift. I mean I am engaged to be married, working in the “grown up world” and constantly around family. I am not 19 going out to the clubs trying to take home a hot guy. I go to wine bars with my other twenty-something year old friends and we sit and chat and dance together. I’m too old to wear a skirt that is so short you can tell what color my underwear is, or even a lack thereof. I’m too old to wear the crop tops that are cropped so short you can see under boob (I don’t care how many times Bella Thorne does it, it will never be fashion). That being said, I’m still young! I’m not old enough to shop at Ann Taylor or even New York & Co. for everyday clothes. The problem is, there is no in between. Stores like Foever 21, Charlotte Russe and H&M aren’t as much help as they use to be. I mean let’s be real: I cannot wear shredded jean shorts with a 2in inseam! I won’t do it!
It’s like we are going through the awkward pre-teen stage all over again. You know when 12 and 13 was too young to wear makeup but you really wanted to? Where your woman curves were starting to come in and you had to start wearing a bra and that changed how every single one of your tops fit? Transitioning through your twenties is basically going through an identity crisis and it’s so frustrating trying to shop your way through it.
On the way home I reflected on the trip and finally realized it’s not my fault or the fault of my body that I didn’t check out with more clothes. Sometimes they just aren’t going to have your size, sometimes the clothes aren’t meant to look a certain way on you and that’s okay. IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US! And it’s completely normal: we are not mannequins. What isn’t normal is tearing apart your body to fit someone else’s image of how the clothes should fit. YOU FIT THE CLOTHES, THE CLOTHES DON’T FIT YOU.
Since my senior year of college, I have made a dramatic transformation in health and fitness and with that both a mental and physical transformation as well. I would like to share my journey over the next few posts in hopes that young girls realize years earlier what I now realize. Your body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and it’s truly time we as women start acting and thinking like it. There is no ideal body type that we should strive for. The only thing we should strive for are a body that is healthy, strong and something we are damn proud to show off.
I invite all you ladies, of all ages and fitness backgrounds, to reach out and share your stories; successes AND struggles in hopes that together we can change society’s view of what women need to feel and look like. Stay tuned!