Wear What You Want
Not What You "Should"
When I saw this jumpsuit my first thought was “I have to have that!” You know what my second thought was? “Should I wear that?”
We’ve all asked ourselves this question. Self-doubt and self-consciousness are the enemy of body positivity, which applies to every body. It sneaks up and tears you down so quick you won’t even know what happened. All it takes is a thought as simple as “should I wear that” to create a crack in our confidence. This crack can rapidly grow until our entire attitude is shattered and all we want to do is curl up into a giant t-shirt with a good rom-com and a slice of pizza.
“Should” implies that there is outside opinion challenging your decision. It’s what someone else thinks is acceptable for you to do. Society has told women what they “should” wear for a long time. Actually, forever. To this day we are all fighting the opinions of others when it comes to our clothing choices, our makeup and hair, what we eat, and especially how our bodies look. Whether skinny or not, hourglass shaped or stick straight, there are parameters of our outward appearance that society has set for us. Let’s call them style boundaries. Some of them might sound like this:
- Off the shoulder? That’s only for women with small chests.
- Women with big boobs should practice modesty.
- You’re too short to wear culottes, let the model types try that.
- Mini skirts are for mini waists, not a size 14.
- Plus size women should cover their bodies.
- If you’re skinny you can wear a crop top, but you might perceived as slutty. If you’re a little thick in the middle forget about it.
- You’re not allowed to feel confident in yourself if you’re that big.
- You look anorexic, who wants their daughter to look up to you?
- You’re asking for it if you wear that dress.
That’s just what popped into my head in the last minute. I can keep going.
The above nasty comments aren’t just things that someone might say about us. They’re things we say to ourselves. The latter statement is the worst part. When I thought “should I wear that?” I was telling myself I didn’t deserve to wear it: I’m too fat, too short, and not cute enough. Ouch.
That hurts my feelings and I SAID IT TO MYSELF. How many times have you had a moment like this?
The criticism and judgement that women face regarding their appearance applies to bodies of every size. Unfortunately there will always be people who think we’re too skinny, too fat, not pretty enough, or not worthy. You are worthy! But that change can only start within yourself. Regardless of what society might feel we should wear, it all builds off of our individual foundation. Being body positive begins with accepting yourself for who you are. Open your mind to loving yourself despite your flaws. It is not an easy journey, but it’s worth the fight. As someone who has struggled with body image more than half her life, including battling an eating disorder and depression, I can understand the challenge of feeling confident in your own skin. It honestly wasn’t until this last year that I finally came to terms with the fact that this is who I am and I’m OK with it. I’m a woman who has strength, both physically and emotionally, who is passionate and driven, whose body can bring life into this world. I love my body. We’ve been together my entire life and we’ve seen brutal challenges, but we’re still here. We made it to the other side and that might mean we have some battle wounds, but we survived. Now it’s time to thrive.
I’m not saying that negative inner dialogue doesn’t still come back to haunt me. I have bad days just like everyone else. But when those moments happen I now try to deal with them in a positive, constructive way. When I look in the mirror and hatefully think about the extra fat on my stomach or my thighs pushing together I remember the strength they give me. Thunder thighs are powerful! Without them, I couldn’t squat and I wouldn’t have built the derriere my husband loves. I love it, too. I’ve had to learn to be gentle with myself in those moments instead of mentally pummeling myself into the ground. Next time you’re faced with negative inner dialogue, take a deep breath, and find something loving to say to yourself instead. It isn’t easy, but once you make it a priority it becomes a habit, that turns into a natural response, which becomes second nature.
So back to standing in the store staring at this jumpsuit. I know, big mental switch in the landscape. What did I say after I questioned “should I wear this?”
I said “f*** it.” This is literally the exact statement I said in my head. It may be crass, but it’s honest. This fabulous black jumpsuit was screaming at me and I wanted to wear it so badly. So I did. It’s a little snug in the hips, but I liked it. It defined my waist and I loved it. It hugged every curve and the little off the shoulder flounce made me feel sassy. I put it on and I felt GOOD. More than good, I felt CONFIDENT.
There are so many negative things that we tell ourselves each day and don’t even realize it. Start paying attention. Next time those those style boundaries start to squeeze out your confidence, break through them. Instead of asking yourself “what should I wear?” ask “what do I want to wear?”
All the love to anyone who is reading this. I hope it lights a fire in you the way it did for me.