Friday, November 11, 2016

Body Positivity And Learning To Love Yourself

What do you know about the body positive movement? Maybe you've seen a Dove ad with women of all shapes and sizes. Maybe you saw the Lane Bryant campaign of I'm No Angel. If you're on Instagram maybe you even follow Effyourbeautystandards. If you don't know about Body Positive, it's about accepting all shapes, sizes, and colors and celebrating them. It's about rejecting what we've been told is beautiful by the world (and mainly advertisers and the fashion industry) and finding the beauty everyone has.

I've been told by a number of people "I love your confidence" or "You're so brave to pose for pictures like that."  When I get told these things it's almost if there is an unasked question of how do I get that confidence? Maybe some even think I've always had it (I haven't). I've been told these things enough that I've decided that I should make the keys to the kingdom into a blog.

For a very long time I derived my self-confidence and self-worth from the knowledge that I'm fairly intelligent. I did well in school. I learn things fast and I'm a great problem solver. I've never been a shy person and I'm quite happy to tell you my opinion. I would actually lose patience quite easily with people who couldn't keep up with intellectual conversation. When it came to beauty however, I didn't think much of myself. I didn't think I was a troll, but I didn't think of myself as pretty either. When my husband and I started dating he would tell me how beautiful I was and I would laugh at him. He was blinded by love! How sweet.

I continued on this path of deriving my self-worth from my intellegence and, after college, from my career. I was a great employee (I have the awards to back it up). So what happens when you get sick, doctor after doctor can't figure out why, and you eventually lose your job? Talk about having a bubble burst. Even though I was no longer working I was still intellegent. Which is just fine and dandy. Who am I going to prove it to? The walls of my house and my pets?

People with chronic conditions can really take a hit to their self-worth, especially if they are house bound. Plus there is the added bonus of weight gain with a lot of the medications. Nothing makes you feel more confident than getting larger and having your clothes no longer fit. Add to that having days where you can't get out of bed and you are living in your pajamas. You can really start to feel like you are nothing.

Three years ago I was fortunate enough to kind of stumble into a community of performance artists in Dallas who celebrate everyone. It wasn't just skinny people or traditionally beautiful people on stage. I saw large women on stage. I saw people who didn't fit the commercialized mold of beautiful. I was intrigued. I also started taking some dance classes. I felt uncoordinated and very unfit at first. I had lost a lot of what little coordination I had due to my fibromyalgia. But my dance teachers encouraged me and little by little it came back! As it came back I felt more confident; I held my head higher.

About this same time I was introduced to a local photographer and make up artist. Having my makeup done by Vivienne Vermuth is a game changer. You look into the mirror and you don't recognize yourself. Then you go in front of Dee Hill; as she shoots each picture she gives you words of encouragement. You hear things like "beautiful, oh wow, stunning!" Somewhere during the shoot your inner light comes on!
Photo by Dee Hill. HAMU by Vivienne Vermuth

I've also done photoshoots with Shoshana Portnoy and her right hand make up artist LaDonna Stein. They are also amazing to work with and their finished product always shines! You can find them at Dallas Pinup.
Photo by Shoshana Portnoy. HAMU by LaDonna Stein

Am I saying you must go do a photoshoot like this to get confidence? I'm not advocating that at all. What I am advocating is to find things that boost your confidence. What makes you feel good about yourself? "Nothing" is not the right answer. There is something amazing about you, I know it! Find that little nugget of amazing and grow it. The trick to confidence is you MUST learn to love yourself.

I can hear the objections already. Stop. Just stop. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You're right, I don't know you. But I do know every human being on this planet is beautiful. You are beautiful because you are unique. You are beautiful because there is only one of you. See where I'm going? That's right, start to love yourself. Find those things that make you YOU and flaunt them!

Find your tribe. Find the people who will encourage you. Get rid of the toxic people in your life. If they don't add to your existence, you don't need them. Surround yourself with people who love you just the way you are. This is your tribe. These are the people that will remind you how special you are in times where you don't see it yourself.

For my spoonies, I know this can be especially difficult, especially if you are housebound. That's okay. You have the internet and you've already found me. You can join my tribe. I have a bunch of friends who I only know through the internet. Nothing is worse than feeling alone. I know. Come join us so you don't have to go through your illness by yourself. There are people just like you all over the internet.

I hope this blog has helped you start the first step on loving yourself. If you need more enouragement, just let me know. I'm always happy to send love and encouragement through the internet.

Until Next Time,


  1. Reading your blog and have to say YOU ROCK!!! Your talent and skills are merely a bonus as your spirit is blatantly encouraging!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Juleszey! XOXO