Buckle up, this is probably a sappy post. When I was 13 years old, I was already shopping at Tall Girl, that store most average women never gave a second thought, you know, by Target in Utica. I don’t know exactly how tall I was at 13, but it’s the first year I remember being seriously taller than classmates. It’s also an age when we become very aware of ourselves and start to fall into the trap of comparison. Well, I went shopping at Tall Girl with my mom one day, and the manager, Tammie, was working. She was full of life and spunk. She was fun and she told you what she was thinking. Always. And if she didn’t, her face did 😉 Tammie said something to 13 year old me that day I was shopping with my mom that I have never forgotten. She told me to always stand up straight. You’re going to be tall regardless, you might as well look nice and have good posture. MIND BLOWN. I was going to be tall regardless. It is true that I could be tall and stand hunched, or I could be tall and stand up nice and not look like a silly hunch back trying to pretend she’s not tall. I chose straight. I tried on a pink swimsuit that day with a zipper up the front that I LOVED. I stood up straight and I felt beautiful. Then my mom made me put it back because I was 13 and it was a $70 swimsuit in 1995…hard pass. So no swimsuit that day, but words I would carry with me always.
As an adult I’m 6’1″. I’m plus sized, which is a really nice way to tell you I’m chubby and have been for over a decade. In college I once had mono for 2 months, and after that I was smoking hot. But it was short lived. A good dose of mono does wonders for weight loss, but I still wouldn’t recommend it. I hear spleens are important.
OH MY BLOG! DID I REALLY JUST POST THAT PHOTO? Am I sweating? I think I’m sweating… But here I am. This is a photo I took when I started a diet plan last August. It was supposed to be my before and it was supposed to be for my eyes only sort of…so I don’t know what the heck I was just thinking. But it’s out there on the line now. The diet came and went and it’s possible you could say I failed but I’m going with I wasn’t ready. This is what I look like. And even if I don’t always love it, this is the reality of a body that has worked hard it’s whole life (I’ve had demanding jobs since I was 12), carried 4 beautiful children (it has super powers and can carry two at a time), and a body that carries the soul inside of it. ME.
It has always been difficult for me to shop. Tall Girl closed it’s doors awhile back, and for a short time I had no store that felt like home. Enter LuLaRoe. That’s the boutiques part of our Barnes & Boutiques. I was invited to a LuLaRoe pop up boutique in Grand Rapids. It was too far, I’d never heard of it, and I didn’t have any money anyway. But I started looking into it online. I fell in love with the idea of their clothes. I was messaging my hostess friend, Sarah, and the consultant, Emily, back and forth about how interested I was. They had just come out with Tall & Curvy leggings. Hey! I am both Tall & Curvy and I have legs! I wanted to try them! Sarah, my world changer, sent me some of their clothes as a gift. She’s an amazing human. 2 and a half years later, and I am the proud owner of a boutique FULL of LuLaRoe.
The funniest part of this job to me, is that I model my clothing line and take photos and post them on social media. Me. Chubby, super tall, me. But here’s the thing. I do love me. Flaws and all. I KNOW I’m not perfect. I KNOW I’m not a model. But when I put on the right clothes, I feel good. I feel proud to be in my skin, and these clothes have reinforced that for me. I’ve also watched them do it for other people too. Some people think LuLaRoe is a trend. A fad. I disagree. Loving yourself is always en vogue. Putting on clothes that are comfortable that make you feel beautiful never goes out of fashion. Pieces, styles, and prints may change but walking out the door without the hunch of hiding in your clothes will remain.
I have no qualms telling you most of these photos took several shots and knowing my angles. But I do know my angles, so there. And I know when I FEEL confident and comfortable, other people can see that too. I won’t be going out the door in my Olivia Newton John Black cat suit any time soon, but in these clothes I feel beautiful.
I hope you tell your body how much you love it today!