Last time we were here, Jasmine added to our “My Curves, My Journey” series with her story of finding her way back to her confidence and learning how to block out the negativity of the world! Our “My Curves, My Journey” series was created as a way for us women to share our journey into finding ourselves. As I am on this journey of personal growth and learning to better love myself, I felt the need to create a space for our community to share those stories. Depending on where we are in our individual journeys we may just need to hear someone else’s story to help us move our along and so with this series I hope to encourage us to share with each other.
What has been one of your most pivotal moments on your journey to loving yourself and owning who you are? Can you remember what that felt like? Join us every week as we learn about each other’s journeys to self-love.
My Curves, My Journey: Marcy on Becoming Fearless
I was born in 1970 so being a child in the 70s, I was obsessed with everything disco. I remember sitting in the living room, glued to the television, mesmerized by all the glitz, glam and fashion freedom I would see in movies and shows.
My dad moonlighted as a DJ and there were Saturday night house parties at my home, where I would sneak out of my bedroom to watch people dance, laugh and have a great time. Again, that freedom to dance, wear what you want and just be free… it has stayed with me until this day.
As a teen in the 80’s, I yearned to wear what I wanted but the lack of plus size clothing that I actually liked, limited me on what I could wear. That is also when I started to feel like I wasn’t worthy of fashion freedom or freedom in life in general because I was fat.
I would often ask myself… Why can’t I shop at the mall with my thin friends? Why am I regulated to polyester pants, shopping the men’s department and matronly styles? As a child, I thought everyone had that freedom to be who they were. As a teen, my innocence when it came to my views of freedom and life, shattered.
As a college student in the 90’s, I sought out freedom in different ways because I was a rebel by nature and couldn’t fully accept that my size dictated what I could wear and who I can be.
I decided to be a double major because I could study anything I wanted regardless of my size. I became involved in activism, protesting tuition hikes, MTA fare hikes and championing for the rights of the elderly, volunteering in the Small Claims Court clinic at my school. I was helping people and felt like I had a purpose where I wasn’t judged my size.
I dressed in a militant manner, shopping at the army surplus store, pairing graphic tees of Public Enemy and Malcolm X under camo cargo jackets, jeans and Dr. Martens. My makeup consisted of a cat eye with wings and a bold red lip, with my hair up in high bun and huge hoop earrings with a fist in the middle of them. I felt free somewhat but I spent most of college years, angry at the world for denying me the existence I felt I was worthy of.
Instead of feeling self pity and being in a “woe-is-me” space, I was instead feeling pissed off and wondering “How dare the world try to put me in a box?” However, I was too busy blaming the world to even see that I did have a choice and did not have to stay in a box. I was instead letting what people thought of me control my life.
Towards the end of my 20’s into my 30’s, I started to travel. It was 1998 and traveling gave me a different perspective on life. I got a passport and never looked back. I had a major chip on my shoulder by this time and felt like everyone was judging me on my weight.
At this time, I was a size 24 and hid myself in clothing sizes 26 and up, while never really dressing up. I often expected to be stared at and would try to beat people to the punch by giving dirty looks to passersby and acting like I didn’t care.
I traveled the world and while I did see many incredible things, I still felt like I didn’t fully enjoy my travels because there was something missing. On the exterior, many interpreted my anger and “I don’t care” attitude as one of confidence and strength, when in fact, it was a defense mechanism against people hurting me and my own fear of loving myself when the world was telling me I shouldn’t because I was fat.
The notion to love yourself as a plus size person is something revolutionary. It shouldn’t be but think about it… people spend so much time and energy investing in diet fads, gyms and plastic surgery so the thought of going through all that to be “beautiful” when the answer is simply to love yourself as you are, is so shocking to these people.
I fought with myself because I wanted to love myself but felt like something was wrong with doing that since the world was telling me I shouldn’t. The world was telling me I should lose weight and be thinner, that it was ugly to be fat and unhealthy. Meanwhile, my health was great and here I was traveling the world as a fat person and I couldn’t see how empowering and incredible that was on its own.
Once you accept who you are and love that person regardless of what others think of you or tell you who you should be, it’s an incredible feeling. That is when you truly feel FREE.
Society and their opinions of me felt like heavy chains that held me captive for a very long time. Add to that, low self-esteem, self-loathing and lots of anger and I truly felt trapped. How can I get out of this space and be free?
My moment of freedom happened in a series of little moments that led up to one big epiphany. At the age of 40, I had accomplished some amazing things in my life but I was not happy.
Then… I was laid off of my job of 8 years, my boyfriend left me for another woman and a year later, my dad died. When it rains, it pours.
After I got laid off, I went on some “Eat, Pray, Love” type of thing where I cashed out my 401K, took my compensation package from my job, and traveled the world. I was in search of something but didn’t know what at the time. Traveling was a form of running away for me in search of adventure and I felt powerful knowing I could control where I could travel to.
My search for adventure was a way I sought out anything that could spark some happiness within me and help dissipate the anger.
After the money ran out, I didn’t know what to do. The inner peace and happiness I sought, I never found. Truth is, it was within me all along but I couldn’t see that because I didn’t fully love myself or life. I was existing, not living. My happiness happened in spurts and was not consistent or happened often.
And then one day, I decided to cut all of my hair off. That is the day my life changed forever.
Yes, I know. Just a haircut? But it’s true. It wasn’t weight loss or a new man in my life or a new job. It was a simple haircut but felt like I was shedding the old me as I saw my cut hair hit the floor. And for the first time in my life since I was a child, I felt FREE.
My 43rd birthday was coming up and I was so down about it that I wanted to do something crazy. I believe now that all it takes is one crazy idea to give you the courage to dare to live outside your comfort zone.
I decided that I would get a pixie cut and it was the best decision I ever made because something about that haircut turned on a switch within me. When I looked in the mirror after the haircut, I was stunned. Who is this beautiful woman? It’s me!
That pixie cut boosted my confidence and helped with my grief because I did something for myself that was so exciting and daring. I had short hair before but never this short. I began this love affair with myself that day and never looked back. That haircut gave me life.
After that haircut, I yearned to do more. What else could I do to keep these positive feelings I was having for myself going? That became my adventure. I started trying new styles and actually started to wear my correct size — no more hiding myself under clothing and wearing two sizes larger. I had to match my clothing with my fabulous new haircut.
I started wearing styles that fit my body and I realized that under all those clothes, I actually had a waist and a nice butt. I started wearing sleeveless styles but that took time to let go of that fear of showing my larger upper arms in public. I took baby steps and the more little steps I took, the bigger the accomplishments were and the freer I felt.
For years, I thought everyone was staring at me but it turns out that not everyone was staring. But I let those one or two people who were, become a major thing in my life, holding me back from truly being me. As I walked around Manhattan one summer day in a sleeveless top, no one stared and I was amazed.
Then eight months after my magical haircut, my younger and only brother passed away. Honestly, I was in that process of loving myself but felt like I couldn’t take any more “hits” in my life. So I decided I needed help with coping and sought therapy.
Another one of the best things I ever did in my life. What started out as bereavement counseling ending up being a space where I learned so much about myself and allowed myself to heal.
All of the stuff that we endure in life has some sort of effect on all of us. Becoming more self-aware not only helped me on my self-love journey, it also helped me live more fully and heal.
I take chances now. Whether it’s dyeing my hair pink or wearing a sleeveless dress above the knee or putting myself out there in the world, I take a chance because you never know what magical things can happen until you try. Rejection and making mistakes doesn’t bother me as much as it once did because that fear of the unknown is gone. I would rather have tried and see if it is meant to be, than not try and always wonder what if. There’s only one you in the world so why not celebrate that?
I’m also kind to myself and don’t beat myself up over my imperfections and mistakes. No one is perfect and what is perfection anyway? It’s subjective. I take it one day at a time because my journey continues.
Self-love and knowing your worth is a lifetime commitment and the best relationship you can have in your life is with yourself. Some days I win and some I lose. But these days, I’m winning much more than I lose. I’m happy. I’m still in therapy and I am enjoying my journey now. I’m still a size 26/28 as I have been for years and I love myself. I’m no longer in that box. I’m free.
Yass Marcy!! We love your fierceness and thank you for being the first to share your story! Your confidence inspires us all!
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