Monday, December 31, 2012

Body Talk

dec 30 1

I was going to do one of those yearly round-up posts, I really was. But then I was like, "Noooooooooo." I actually said that, really. Aloud, to myself. You see, I did the work of it. I went through a year's worth of blog posts and picked my favorite outfit from each month. But, as I went further and further back, I got glummer and glummer. It had nothing to do with the year itself, as I've had a wild and crazy and wonderful and adventurous 2012. No, it had to do with, as is the tendency with fashion blogs, how I looked. As I scrolled into the past, all I could see were smaller breasts and smaller thighs (I was apparently a chicken for most of 2012). And who wants to start off a new year reminiscing about the size of their thighs? Not me, no sir.

So instead, I want to talk a little about my body. You guys may have noticed that I've dropped off the face of the flat blogging world like it was the time of fashion blogger Christopher Columbus. Sure, I've been busy, and yes, it's been the holiday season (so hoop-dee-doo, and dickory-dock, and don't forget to hang up your sock) but I've always been busy, and it's always Christmas (if only, am I right). The truth of the matter is that I don't have the same body I had a year ago, or even, heck, six months ago, and I don't really know what to do with it.

Because I enjoy coating my misery in a delicious layer of light-hearted humor, I've been telling my family and close friends, when it comes up, that "MY BODY'S JUST GOING THROUGH A LOT OF CHANGES RIGHT NOW," like I'm 13 again. But honestly, my body is going through a lot of changes right now and I'm just sort of like, WHAT IS THIS PUBESCENT SORCERY?

When I started this blog, I also started a "weight loss journey." I kind of like that dumb phrase, because losing weight is this journey where you have to sort of machete your way through things and fall down cliffs and chart new territory and try not to eat all of the cupcakes. But, I digress. This past summer, I was at my lowest weight, and had just finished training for and running a 5k. I had finally figured out how to dress myself in a way that felt both flattering and reflective of my personality.

Since then, I've gained about 10 pounds. But this isn't just a weight thing. My breasts feel huge, you guys. I don't even know. My bras don't even fit, which means it's going to be a long sojourn through jiggle city until I fork over the money for a new Victoria's Secret bra. I've got stretch marks in a whole lot of areas I'm already self-conscious about. A thyroid problem I've had for, probably, my whole life has been causing a lot more body hair to grow, and I already have plenty. I've always been self-conscious about it all, and have struggled a lot lately with the wondrous world of hair-removal products and techniques, shaping and trimming, bleaching and tweezing. I have very mixed feelings about female hair removal, but I can't deny that all of mine makes me feel more than a little self-conscious (mostly in the "but will boys think I'm GROSS?!" way, which is probably the worst way). And this is going to sound weird, I'm sure (because going on about body hair for a paragraph isn't weird), but I feel like my face looks different. Older. Wider? Wiser? Just different. And frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed by it all.

A big part (the biggest part) of having a fashion blog is taking photos of yourself as frequently as possible, saying, to an extent, look at me and what I'm wearing. And frankly, I haven't been wanting to extend that invitation very far lately. It's not an "I'm ugly and I hate my body" situation, though I have plenty of days where I just glare, gut extended at my side profile in the mirror saying LOOK AT THE MONSTER YOU'VE CREATED. Really, it's more of an "I have no idea what the hell I'm doing" situation. I don't know what I'm doing, and I feel a little, well, wrong, saying "look at my style, be inspired," when I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what shapes work best on my new boxy hips and larger waist, I don't know how to be both a lumberjack and a JCrew model, I don't know what cream concoction gets rid of stretch marks best, I don't know how the hell to "landscape" my body hair, but at Christmas my cousin was going on about MANSCAPING and I wanted to punch him in the FACE because I am a WOMAN and I am supposed to KNOW what the HELL to do with my BODY HAIR, not my MAN COUSIN who is a MAN and doesn't have social pressures to be a HAIRLESS PORCELAIN GODDESS.

Hoo. Got a little carried away there. Let's bring it back down. Let's think of kittens. Kittens in little boots. And hats. Ahh, there we go.

I just finished up a, probably incomplete, list of new year's resolutions, and while one of them is "become comfortable with my body," whatever that entails, I think my main goal for the year is to focus. Focus on writing and getting published. Focus on getting healthy. Focus on what I really want for myself and how I want to achieve it. I don't think that losing 30 pounds and going hairless is going to make me "comfortable with my body." I think there is a way for me to be comfortable, though, and I just need to focus on what that would be, how to be comfortable. I took these pictures with my mother this morning and stopped halfway through, saying my outfit made me look fat, and that I probably should stop fashion blogging altogether. After thinking about it, I realized quitting probably wasn't going to help anything. So, instead, I decided to put up some of the photos from today, because after looking at them again I realized I was probably being a bit hard on myself (surprise, surprise). So, let's raise a metaphorical new year's eve toast to focusing on what we truly want and how to achieve it, to having body hair if you want it, and to realizing there is beauty even when you're sure there isn't.

Shirt: Delia's, Denim shirt: Madewell (gift), Jeans: Urban Outfitters, Boots: Dolce Vita (gift)

dec 30 5

dec 30 4

dec 30 2
playing the accordion on my shirt, apparently.

dec 30

Until tomorrow,
Nicole

21 comments:

  1. Oh Nicole! I love this post and how frank and honest you are. I'm not sure I've ever read a post like it before! I understand just where you are coming from. It's difficult to have the desire to document what you wear (and therefore, YOURSELF along with it) when you are uncomfortable with how you look.

    I have somehow gained some weight since starting college, which I know tends to be normal, but I've been feeling pretty bad about myself and somehow everyday seems like a battle about what I'm eating, how to get myself to work out, etc etc.


    Anyway, I just want you to know that as always I admire the hell out of you, and your goals are very smart and something I can learn from. We are in this together, in some strange way!


    I love you, lady!
    xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this post! Nicole I think you look amazing! I admire how honest you are when you post on this lovely blog. I've been a follower for a few years now and I've seen you grow into such a lovely lady!! I sometimes have those days where I don't like anything about myself and then there are those days where I feel confident as hell! It's just how us girls are! I hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nicole, here's the thing: even if you were to lose x amount of pounds, you wouldn't be mentally happier. Yeah, maybe you'd feel happy about your new self and find a bit of confidence, but you're generally going to feel the same about everything. I know that from experience, because I lost 30 pounds a few summers ago and I'm still the same self-conscious shell of a human being. Im not saying you shouldn't lose weight, cause hey, it'd probably help so much to make yourself feel better about yourself and gain confidence, but it's not a miracle solution for happiness. I'm sure you know that though. You're smart. :)

    I think you're beautiful te way you are, and I haven't noticed any of this bigger boobs stuff you've been talking about. You'll always look lovely to me, no matter what! You're amazing, Nicole, and I hope that you can start to find more confidence because you're someone who deserves to feel beautiful every day. <3 happy new years!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so glad you wrote this. You are so brave and so honest. I feel the same way. I don't think anyone will ever be completely confident about their body and looking at old photos can be such a setback. Focus on the direction you want to go and that's all that matters! I think you look wonderful and I love looking at how your style has evolved. Happy New Year, sweet lady!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jasmine, Transient WithdrawalDecember 31, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Firstly, Happy New Year Nicole! <3
    And secondly, you've done it again--put into beautiful, eloquent, witty, and funny words what I've been thinking and feeling lately! Like you said, we all have those days/weeks/months where we just feel...blah (you see I cannot write like you). I too was at my lowest weight earlier this year, and then I gained like 10 pounds, but now I've lost 8 out of those 10. It's just been more like a weight loss roller coaster than a journey this year. And when I did finally see that I had gained weight back then on my blog because well it's right there in plain picture, I didn't blog as frequently as I normally did. Like you said, I felt awkward in my body and felt in no position to "inspire" others in what to wear because I just didn't know what to wear myself! And my resolution of this past year was not to force blog posts and I didn't, and I'm glad you were able to take a break from it all because it is quite taxing sometimes. I don't even think that I'm back into the swing of blogging because I lost weight again, but it's just more because now I have a better idea of who I am. I think my weight goes hand in hand with what I'm going through in life--and during that awkward phase of being newly single, I just sought so much comfort in food. And now that I'm more comfortable being alone (no boy and I guess not as much food), the weight just sorta fell off. I really do love your resolution for 2013. Focus. What a wonderful word! I too didn't feel like doing a reflection on this past year, however crazy and wonderful and pivotal it was for me. I'm just so ready to move forward, and I just think a little more focus is what I need too. While I'm still not at my goal weight yet, I don't think making another resolution of losing x-amount of pounds is gonna get me anywhere. So like you, I'm just going to continue focus on me! :)



    Love you Nicole! You're one of my favorite bloggers because you never cease to inspire me with your honesty, wit, cute outfits, and your resilience! I cannot wait to see you grow more over this next year! I'm always an email away too ;)


    PS. AREN'T ANKLE BOOTS AND JEANS JUST THE BEST TOGETHER???!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE this post. As someone who has been struggling with body image for a long time, too, I totally totally get it. And it might also be one of the reasons my own blog has fallen by the wayside. But, if I can add - lately I have been feeling great about my body. I love what you said about focusing on your poetry. I found that focusing on something I am good at outside of my body and the way I look was a HUGE self-esteem booster. For me, it was the play I was in at my university this past term. I felt amazing onstage and therefore was kinder to my face/body when I looked at it in the mirror. Also, I've been trying to LISTEN to my body more than just look at it. Paying greater attention to the way I feel instead of the way I look has helped so much. Proud of you!


    www.truest-sentence.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. girl i feel the same way. i was at my lowest at two different emotionally unstable points in my life this year, and now i'm back up like 5 to 7 lbs depending on the day. but i feel unruly and huge and like i'm this lumbering beast frolicking through the flowers, but crushing them all. i think you look lovely, but what matters is what you think. honestly, if you needed some ~weight loss support~ i am down. i love you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "i feel unruly and huge and like i'm this lumbering beast frolicking through the flowers, but crushing them all." I'm with you, girl.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ana Clara CampĂȘloJanuary 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    lovely look!
    happy new year!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Goodness. I so admire your honesty. You're definitely ballsier than most ladies who do these types of blogs. Hope you can find a balance and encouragement. I know homebody image can really mess with you. Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  11. DUUUUDEE, ONE: You look awesome, you STILL have great style, so please don't stop posting outfit photos! I know how you feel though. When I started my blog at the end of 2009, I was 120 pounds. This morning I was 145.7. Yup. Shit happens, it's called life. I fully understand not wanting to look at pictures of yourself when you were a different size, and that is your choice. BUT, give yourself some credit for taking pics of yourself, everyday, and still looking amazing. Because you are pretty awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi, I just found your blog today because I found a picture of you in a tumblr feed (from November) and I thought "that woman has a body like mine, and she looks cute in that, maybe she has other outfits to look at." I too have gained weight in the past two years, and I was starting to feel like I wasn't entitled to even *have* personal style, in that I should be choosing clothes based entirely on their ability to conceal the "trouble spots" that seem to have taken over. Dark solids from head to toe! Drapey, shapeless tops! Please keep blogging. I love your style and I'm even more anxious to see how you dress to suit your current shape than your previous one.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. One of the reasons I even wrote this post was because I had made up my mind that day to never blog again because I felt so bad about how I looked, whether it's all in my head or not. The thing is though, that I've gone through a million different body shapes/weights since I started this old thing three years ago, and having a blog helped me figure out how I wanted to dress, rather than how I "should" dress. I was on, like, college fashion the other day, which is one of the first blogs I started reading, and they interviewed this random well-dressed guy in their street-style segment, and asked him something like "what advice do you have for people who have bad style." His answer was basically, "they're problem is that their clothes don't fit or flatter them" and it made me so mad. Like you said, I feel like there's this limit for larger girls, like we can only wear certain shapes because we'll look unflattering or larger or whatever if we dress "wrong." I think the reason I didn't want to post this outfit is because it wasn't particularly flattering - skinny jeans, big, shapeless blouse. But when I left the house to take the photos I really felt like I looked "like myself." I think that's what matters, but it's not so easy to see sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love you, girl. You are the best

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love this! You're so so so 100% right. I think part of the reason I felt bad about my body was because I felt bad about other things happening this past year - I didn't like my job, I was insecure about my writing, I stopped jogging (which I love). And I think the easiest thing to face, the easiest thing to feel bad about, is your body. It's way easier to say "I'm fat and ugly" than to admit that you need to search for a new job, or that you haven't focused enough on your poetry. Those things take work. I love what you said about listening to your body instead of just looking at it. Thank you for this, lady. And, omg, your screen name. Aragorn <3

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love you, Jasmine <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've been thinking more about it, and I think the issue is that we (as women) are supposed to take pride our appearance, but if we gain weight, we're supposed to be ashamed. So it's not just unflattering clothes that are "wrong" but it's projecting an image of confidence and style that is "wrong" as well. The truth is I'm going to look 30 pounds overweight if I tuck in my shirt, but I'm still going to look 28 lbs overweight if I wear the "slimming" choice. I hope I can follow your lead and dress "like myself" more this year. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. i started reading this blog in the summer, and while i do enjoy your style, i keep coming back for the honesty. you've managed to articulate things that i've spent a long time not even wanting to admit to thinking about(in regards to self-worth, baby steps, etc). you also manage to be sweetly self deprecating, which happens to be my own manner of self-talk, so i find you very easy to relate to. my weight has fluctuated pretty wildly in the last 6 or 7 years ( 170-116) and i've come to the conclusion that the only thing that looks good is confidence, and you seem to be a lovely, creative, and unique person, there's no reason not to feel good about yourself! your outfits AND your outlook are inspiring. don't stop blogging. the internet needs you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm way behind on commenting on this post even though I read it the second you posted it (not kidding either). I just want to thank you so much for writing it. A variation of these thoughts have been running through my head for about the last month and it's so cool to see someone else who's having them too and who wrote them down so wonderfully.

    Even though our weight is going in opposite directions, the whole weird body things are still happening to me. I clearly remember telling my mom that it feels like I'm going through puberty again, except this time I clearly remember all the changes. (and also am faced with looking at them on a weekly basis thanks to my blog)

    Nothing else I can say is really coherent, so I'll just leave this comment with another thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm extremely late to comment on this, but I read it as soon as Hannah sent me a letter and told me about this post. I can't believe how well you described how I'm feeling about my body here lately too. I've had a thyroid problem my whole life too and it has also causes me to grow extra body hair which really sucks, in major humiliating places. It's so hard to be a woman because we have to follow these somewhat invisible guidelines of actually being a woman. Like what we're told to do daily- we are supposed to smell good and never have a single hair out of place, keep our skin youthful and soft and wear flattering makeup, etc etc. But, whenever we fail to keep along these guidelines, we are ridiculed by our own judgment.

    Back in 2011 I weighed the lightest I had in years, around 190 pounds. I was trying to get down to 160, (which is a healthy weight for my height being 5'11-6'). Not even 7 months after reaching my under 200lbs goal, I was already back up 20+ lbs. Now a year later, I've gained 50 of it back. My blogging had become really patchy and stretched out. I didn't want to post any pictures of myself because I was ashamed of the way I looked. I felt that I couldn't inspire others unless I was at a healthy weight and knew how to style my body at that size. But since I had gained all that weight back, I didn't know what to do with myself. I had become so justed to being that size that I didn't want to go back to where I am now.

    I think body acceptance is a way more important subject rather than losing weight. I happen to think you look beautiful as always. Your body doesn't look horrendous or lumberjack-y in any sort of way to me. That's the hardest part about acceptance. We don't realize that people see with their own eyes and not through ours. We may look a certain way to ourselves, but to other people we may be just as beautiful as we were when we were a comfortable size. What I'm trying to say is you are beautiful, I've always loved your style, and I think you are a wonderful lady for writing such a true and honest post. It has really made me reflect on the things I've said and done towards my body, not only on my blog, but in person as well. Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for being such a light spirit in the midst of your struggles. Life is a growing process and it is certainly far from over. Just think, when you look back 20 years from now, with your published writing and wonderful little family, body talk will be the least of your matters. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so, so much for taking some time to comment on my blog!