I love fashion. I always have. I remember being a young girl and dreaming about being a fashion designer and then I wanted to be a writer at a fashion magazine like so many of the girls in rom-coms I saw.
I love the way that a new outfit can make you feel. I love that an outfit can change your mood or express what you’re going through. I love that the outfit you put on in the morning can be an expression of who you are, it can be a creative outlet. I love the way that watching red carpets and reading magazines and blogs on the latest trends makes my heart feel all fluttery.
Do I love the fashion industry? Not really.
Things are getting better and I am very thankful for that. I think that’s the positive side of social media. People can speak their truth without a filter and you can see a wider variety of people. You can see someone who looks like you. Fat, skinny, tall, short, black, white, whatever. You can find it. I am so thankful that we are heading in that direction as a society.
We’re not fully there, though, and we certainly weren’t there for a loooong time. I have always been a bit of a bigger girl. I was taller than my friends, I was pudgy (I didn’t realize that a lot of my issues stemmed from my anxiety and depression). I wasn’t a very active kid as I really didn’t like a lot of the stuff that was available to kids (you wouldn’t catch me dead playing sports). So I was a little bigger and especially as a teenager, finding clothes was a nightmare.
I remember going shopping for clothes at the mall with my mother and just sobbing in the changing room. My friends were shopping at stores like Garage and Bluenotes and I wanted so badly to wear the same clothes that they were wearing. Everyone had the same jeans from Garage but I didn’t fit into their clothes. They were these mass produced, flimsy pieces of clothes that ran super small to begin with. As a teenager that was on the XL side of things, I could never find clothes. Never. I would try so hard to get the same jeans that all my peers had but when I could never find a pair that fit, I would sit in the changing room and cry. I would look at my reflection in the mirror and pinch at my soft, jiggly bits like I was trying to tear them off my body.
The industry has a way of trying to put us into a box and make us feel terrible about ourselves. I look back at it now and I just want to wrap my arms around 15 year old Megan and tell her that she is just fine the way that she is. I hated myself back then.
There are conversations that are burned in my head forever; Sitting with my best friends at the lunch table and they were half the size that I was and they would talk about eating healthy and wanting to lose weight. I would then go to the bathroom and look at my pudgy tummy and hate every single inch of it. If they needed to lose weight, I must be the most disgusting blob of a human being ever, right?
I always loved fashion but for a long time, I hated how the industry made me feel. I felt so excluded from it. I didn’t belong. I wasn’t a wafer thin, perfect model so there wasn’t a place for me.
Things have changed for me, though. I am feeling better about myself then I have in a long time. I look in the mirror and I don’t hate every inch of me. It’s taken a long time and I’m not fully there but I feel like I’m headed down the right path. Finally.
So I’ve been getting back into fashion. I’ve been really enjoying buying clothes and I have found pieces that make me feel like a million bucks. I’ve sort of made a choice to turn my social media into a more positive place.
I want teenage girls who might be the bigger friend, who maybe are a little pudgier than their friends and can’t share clothes with their girls, to be able to look at my page and see themselves.
I’m on a new body positive mission. If I’m going to be putting myself out there for the world, I’m going to make sure that my small corner of the internet is something positive. I don’t want any girl to look in the mirror and hate themselves the way that I did.
If the industry isn’t going to make a place for me, I’m going to do it my damn self.