The Empress' New Clothes
I have never relied on clothing to make me feel good. I have been let down by clothing more than boys when I was in my twenties and actively dating in New York City. When I was impossibly skinny, nothing fit me right. I longed to be 'human size'. Now that I am a more average size, nothing fits me right. Perfection does not exist. I write about this a lot so apologies for the redundancy. I think self confidence is extremely important. I lost mine a long time ago. I built a shell up around me and I am only barely sticking my head out. But to be an actor, a writer, any artist, loving yourself is vital to your creative process. At least it is for me. It's hard to step into a room to share my work and hate how I look. It takes away from my focus on any project. If I'm on camera and worried the side angle will make my cheeks look fat, it affects me more than I care to admit.This past week while on vacation, I took several new cute outfits like you do. We were going to the picturesque South and I wanted to take lots of pictures. I used to love having my picture taken as I know I have mentioned. This trip, I was going to try again to get back into that groove. To not worry so much about what position my face and body are in so that my expression is captured looking like I am trying to do calculus. I miss just moving and having the faith the joy I am feeling will shine through without a worry about the angles not being as flattering.Luckily, I have a great Instagram husband who loves taking my picture and does it very well. He knew I needed photos for this blog and knew I needed to feel myself again. He obliged taking every photo I requested and even some I didn't that he saw and knew would be perfect. Several times people stopped and asked if we wanted a photo together while I posed in front of pretty doors and brick walls. We thanked them and laughed about how friendly everyone was. We usually said something like "Oh, no, thanks. It's a thing" instead of shouting "IT IS FOR A BLOG" and sounded like the hoards of teenage girls on Rainbow Row in Charleston.What I found was in these new clothes, clothes that fit my body shape, clothes that made me feel pretty, I jumped at every chance to have my picture taken. I felt cute and fashionable. I felt free. I felt beautiful. I was me again.It's such a simple thing. Wearing a coat or jeans or dress that makes you feel incredible. I did not realize how much I had missed it. A year or so ago, I demolished my closet. I did the Konmari Method but even more than that: I donated all the clothes that I had made my 'goal' clothes. Items I had loved and worn when I was twenty pounds lighter. Clothes I would probably never wear again no matter how much I work out or diet. Clothes that I realized I did not need to wear again because that was not who I was anymore.I let them go.I was heartbroken at first. They were clothes I loved and identified with. My skinny clothes when I was a working model and confident actress. I started to rebuild slowly. I bought clothing that fit. A lot of it was on the cheaper side since I was worried I'd either get bigger or shrink and then restart the cycle. Since I've been losing weight being back in the city, working out and eating well, I have purchased higher end clothing. Less Old Navy jeans and more Levi's. Clothing I know I can keep for a while because I know my body is staying like this, even with toning and some weight loss: this is me now.I look at my dresser and closet and smile. I love all my clothes. I love putting together outfits again. It isn't all perfect. I had two outfits on vacation that I did not feel comfortable in. But I wore them anyway and embraced my body for what it is right now.I have my ugly days and moments. They don't go away. I am discovering more and more how perfection does not exist and it all comes down to how you feel about yourself. The outside world affects our body image. Magazines, movies, airbrushing, Instagram filters. They all make it seem like perfection is attainable. It's nothing new. It's been this way forever. I know many of us are working towards breaking this system. It gives me hope.I have started to let go of my skinny self. I was clinging to her so hard, scrolling through old pictures, longing for that face, flat stomach, slender arms. She was so free and boundless. I'll always miss her. It is comical to think that for so long I hated her. Now I've built a shrine of her. I'll tear it down slowly. I need to build a new one to how I am now. I may hate her some days but she's all I've got. So I will dress her pretty and celebrate days I love her. They are starting to out number that days I don't.Sometimes all it takes is a good high waisted pair of jeans and crop top to remember you are beautiful at any size. I've never relied on clothing but lately, it has been the key to unlocking the gate of my lost confidence.