The Struggle with Clothing, Confidence & Body Image
Over the years I have not been kind to my body. I have starved, purged, exhausted, hated, ignored, and allowed myself to be disrespected and used. To this day I am deeply ashamed of some of the ways I have treated myself. I am still trying to forgive myself, and I am still struggling to be comfortable with myself. I have never felt good enough, particularly when it comes to my looks. I have always felt too fat, especially when I was younger. This is something society encourages - you are much more complimented and rewarded when you fit a certain image. I was made fun of when I was little, especially when I tried to wear clothing the other girls were wearing and I looked different in it than they did. Honestly, clothing is one of the main reasons I started this project. Going into summer, I have struggled to find clothing that not only aligns with my values but that fits in a flattering, comfortable way. Summer can be comfortable no matter what size you are when you struggle with body image; it's too hot to wear all the layers we often do to hide ourselves, and body parts you may not be confident with are exposed. It's amplified when you cannot find anything to wear. The only clothes I've been able to find in Calgary (and much of Canada in general) that are in larger sizes are either produced with slave labour or made out of unbreathable fabrics your skin cannot breath in. It took me months to find companies that are affordable, ethical, and sustainable (I'll be sharing them with you in the next few months), and not a single one is in Calgary. It should not be this fucking hard.
I know it may seems frivolous; it's just clothing after all. But it is something we are in all day, everyday. It is an expression of who we are. By making it difficult to find anything other than shitty clothing available for anyone bigger than a size 10 or 12, our society is making a statement that our types of bodies are not ok. Even many sustainable and ethical companies only carry up to a size 10 or large (few have an XL) which is disappointing. However, I will say that for some of the better companies, a large does actually reflect larger sizes rather than it being an 8 or 10, and pieces are cut to hang beautifully on many different figures. I've also tried going to consignment route in Calgary, but the availability of anything over a medium in curated consignment is also limited (again, there are some exceptions to this). I feel like part of it is that many women who are curvier don't feel like their clothing is worth reselling, or because the clothing they do have to resell is of lower quality (since it's what's available to us) so consignment shops are unable to take it because they can't resell it. All of it makes me feel abnormal, rejected, and unworthy. I'm tired of searching, of coming home deflated, or paying crazy shipping rates since I cannot find what I need here.
It's strange - most people feel uncomfortable naked, but I feel safest and most myself with nothing on. I love the shape of my bum and how big my breasts are. Everything about my body is soft & curvy - most days I absolutely love it. It's when I have to go out in public that it changes. Years of being judged and bullied are so ingrained in me that sometimes I would rather just stay home where I feel safe.
I would love to get to a point where none of this is a concern to me. I am terrified of passing my insecurities on to my own daughter, should I have one. So I am tackling this the only way I know how - sharing it. Putting it out there, exposing it to the light, takes away its power. It's my "fuck you" to the cruel voices in my head. Even just for today, they don't get to win.
The photo above was taken on a day where the cruel voices were winning. They were so loud, so cruel, that all I wanted to do was crawl into bed, hide and cry because I felt too ugly to be worthy of taking up space. And I almost gave in, as I have countless times before. But this time I decided to try something different. I wanted to feel beautiful and powerful, and the best way I know how to do that is connect with Mother Earth and strip down to celebrate my curves that don't fit in clothing. So I did both. And holy fuck did it feel good. This picture is now what I turn to when the voices start to get to loud, when I start feeling small and unworthy. It reminds be of the strong, gentle, powerful, vulnerable, beautiful wild woman that I am. And I know I will be ok.
Thank you all for following along on this project. I am so grateful and thankful for all of you, your support, and your love. I appreciate you sharing your stories and reading the stories that have been shared. I am always open to sharing your stories, and if you would like to send me yours you still can me yours at email@example.com.