So, if you follow me on Instagram or we’re friends on FB, you know that recently I’ve had this little problem? obsession? affinity to? (take your pic) posting pictures of myself in various outfits. (I’ve posted the pics here, too…apologies to those of you who have seen all of these already.) Yeah, it’s self-indulgent and rather obnoxious, but it’s a big deal for me. And it’s not because I think I look amazing or that people want to see all these self-portraits of me in different outfits. It’s also not because I’ve recently lost 20 lbs and want to show it off (I haven’t). It started with a request to see the maxi dress I’d posted about somewhere.
Never in my life had I considered posting (or even taking, for that matter) a full body shot of just myself because why would I ever do that when I so dislike what my body looks like right now (and always, really, even when I did weight 60 lbs less than I do today)? But something in me finally decided I was done and that it was time to just be okay with me as I am right now.
Would I love to lose 60 lbs? Hell yes. I’d take 5 lbs at this point. And do I think exercise and eating right are optimal for good health and happiness? Of course. But I’ve spent most of my life thinking about how much better it would be if I could just lose those 20 (or 30 or 60) lbs. Every (and I do mean every) success in my life has been tarnished by and every failure has been more painful as a result of these thoughts. And it has been exhausting. And sad. And a big, fat (pun intended) waste of brain space.
The request for a picture of the maxi dress was a big part of this, but I don’t think I would have been in the mind I was in without moving to Japan. Here, it wouldn’t matter if I was skinny, I would still stick out like a sore thumb and there’s nothing I can do about it. People stare. People occasionally even move when I sit next to them on the subway. (Yeah, I’m not kidding. It has happened to all of us “gaijin” at one point or another.) Children point and say “Amerikajin”. No getting around it. And there is an incredible amount of freedom in that.
And then there’s the fact that my life does not currently include anyone I would seriously consider dating or a circle of single girlfriends who are all constantly worrying about what they look like and their “marketability” and there’s freedom in that. So, in the absence of worrying about what other people think about what I look like and constant comments from women both thinner and prettier than I am about how they wish they were prettier and thinner, I am free to just be me. I’ve been able to let go more than I’ve ever been able to before. And letting go means that when I went home in November and needed to get some new clothes, I bought things that fit me and looked good on my body as it is right now, without worrying about what size they were or what store I’d purchased them at or indulging some hope (dream?) that I’d magically lose 5-10 lbs so it would be okay to buy something that’s just a little too small because that would be the motivation I needed to lose weight.
(Side note: I seriously could have outfitted an entire village–or four–for a generation with the myriad articles of clothing I’ve purchased on that hope, never worn, and subsequently donated when they were finally out of style…with them still not fitting me.)
While it makes me sad thinking about all the opportunities for happiness I’ve wasted worrying so much about something that is such an insignificant part of who I am, today is a new day. Today, I’m choosing to be the best version of who I am right now, extra pounds and all. And so I’ve been taking pictures to capture how I look and feel as I am right now. (Bet you didn’t realize there was all of that going on in my head.) And it feels so good to wake up in the morning and know I have clothes that will fit and that I will feel good in, even if they aren’t the size I want them to be. Even if I’m not the size I want me to be.
There’s only one “today” and I will no longer be wasting it on thoughts of how much better tomorrow might be, if only…
So proud of you. You are beautiful. (and its amazing what age and some perspective will do huh)
I love this and I've always thought you're incredibly beautiful inside and out. Glad you see it too. 🙂
You look darling and I love your stylE! I totally related to your post on so many levels. I recently took my own "getting healthy" journey. Th ebiggest thing I learned is that we are all at different stages in life and our approach to life/circumstances is different than the next person. We have to do what works for us. For me, it was tackling one issue at a time, creating a better me along the way!I had a lot of weight to lose. With a change of my diet, giving up my beloved Diet Coke, and making exercise part of my everyday(M-F), I made some big changes. I am proud to report that I have hit my goal and lost a total of 121 lbs.. I feel great and I have discovered a new love for shopping again :-). I recently(last 2 months or so)started recording a post called "What I Wore Sunday." You can find them on my blog http://www.kruppsat.blogspot.com. Bottom line, I just wanted to tell you that you are darling and your post hit home with me! Have a happy and healthy 2013!
CHLO! I loved this post so much, and am so so happy for you.Okay, hopefully you won't read this and roll your eyes and think, "It's not the same." I know it's not, but we all deal with our own struggles.Up until I was about 21 I was so painfully insecure about my height. Yes, I'm aware all the super models are my height or taller (except for Kate Moss) and I'm aware that tons of girls claim they would love to be my height (grass is always greener.) But, as a young girl who didn't date much, it was so uncomfortable being taller than the boys, feeling like a beast in heels, and hearing the comments with a strange tone (how I heard in my head at least) about my height.Finally one day I told myself, "You know what? Get over it. There is nothing you can do about it. You're not getting any shorter, so just own it. Heels will always be in style so just start wearing them." Literally it felt as though once I changed my attitude, others' did also. Instead of hearing the comments as awkward, or in a "look at the freak show" kind of way, I heard them as complimentary. Every once in a while someone still is awkward, but I have the confidence now to respond in such a way that makes them realize they're idiots.Do I wish I were shorter? Yes. I simply cannot imagine how it would be to feel petite and I want to just scream when a short girl complains that a guy is "only" 3-4 inches taller than her. But I can now appreciate the positives that come with my height.The payday really came a couple years ago when a woman in my parents' ward told me she and her husband use me as an example when they tell their girls to stand tall and proud, like Rachel Hope. I was thrilled.I know you get this, being tall yourself.Anyway, sorry for the crazy long comment.I just want to say I can appreciate finally turning something so negative about yourself into something you are okay with.Love you Chlo.
i really love this post. it's helpful for me to hear as i'm coming to terms with my own body and self and everything that goes with it.i have always envied your talent in the clothes arena. i'm so clueless there. if we are ever in the same location again, i need you to take me shopping. really. desperately.
Great post and I love all the pictures! I feel the same about my age. I am done dreading my mid-30's and now I'm just owning it! Self- confidence is way more attractive than loathing and self-pity.
You look great! I think you really have an eye for dressing yourself – these outfits are so flattering.
Loved and needed this. Thanks Chloe!
You are awesome, amazing and beautiful! I'm so glad I had a chance to stop by your blog and read this. What an inspiring thought/message. If only we could all forget what we aren't and focus on what we are and what we can accomplish. I know I will be changing my thought pattern as well. As my mother always says "I worked hard for my girlish figure." Thank you!