This week I thought I’d take a break from the usual post and share some of my experiences with body image issues and self-acceptance. Growing up as a disabled woman I always had issues with the way I looked that were a bit different from what the typical young girl experiences. I was born premature and have always been extremely skinny (which as an adult I’ve realized that that might have more to do with my muscular myopathy). I remember thinking very clearly at a young age that I would get self conscious about people thinking that my parents weren’t feeding me enough (which to me sounds a little crazy now). I also have moderately severe scoliosis that has given me some awkward/unsymmetrical curves and a fused spine (from surgeries). I use to be soooo self conscious in front of a camera and dressed like a tomboy – drastically different from me now, I know!
Starting this blog has dramatically changed the way I feel about myself, so before I get into having a new fashion blog and facing these issues head on, lets start with some blogging backstory. Around 2009, when I was a high school junior/senior, I started thinking about starting a fashion blog but was still too self-conscious – so much so that I wished I could think of a artsy way to hide my face without it seeming weird. Then in the summer of 2012 I had to start a blog for a social media class in college. Finally I had the push I needed to just get started! We used platforms that I was already very comfortable with (Tumblr & Twitter) and had plenty of step-by-step coaching from our professor. I would say this is definitely the most ideal way to start a blog if you’re nervous about putting yourself out there online for the world to see. My only critique for that class was that it (surprisingly) wasn’t challenging enough for what it was. Luckily, that changed in the summer & fall of 2015 when the social media class along with some other class was combined into a new class. I basically had to re-take the social media class since the credit I had wasn’t valid anymore. Of course this all turned out great and I ended up taken the kind of class I was expecting from the first one. This time we really took the proper time to design our logos, got an idea of what it was like to design our own website, and near the end of the class, we launched our blogs on WordPress (unlike the other class where we created our Tumblrs in a few weeks). I was completely ecstatic that I got to use my original blog from the first class, which I of course was still running, and basically got to give it a makeover. Now that I’ve given my blog another little makeover, I thought it was the perfect time to really sit down and share my story.
For the first year or two it was hard to look at my face and my body while editing photos, but I knew it was something I knew I had to deal with to be a fashion blogger. I think that that is part of why I didn’t write as much on my early post. Something that real fashion bloggers do, as much as I wanted mine to be about the clothes and the pictures, which are still my favorite parts. Another part of it is that I’m also extremely shy and not a very talkative person which I think is from being so self conscious from an early age. I just don’t talk much out in public unless I really really have something to say, which doesn’t seem to happen too often. Luckily, because this is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while, I have a LOT to say!
It also took a bit of trial and error finding my best angles to make my scoliosis less noticeable. I’m still quite skinny like I’ve always been, but my scoliosis makes my torso look disproportionately wide, so I looked for angles and styles of clothing that could balance me out. Once I found my angle (I like to have my right side facing the camera more) I felt like over time I’ve settled into the same poses with the same angle and the same background (more on this in bit). I’ve decided just this year that I would try and do new poses now that I’ve grown more comfortable with myself, so here’s hoping I deliver!
Going slightly off topic, another struggle I’ve gone though with being a disabled blogger that I’d like to mention is finding a variety of backgrounds and places to shoot at for my outfit pictures. I can’t drive and I get tired being out and about for long periods of time. When I am out and about, I like to focus on work, family, and my social life instead of worrying about my next #ootd post. This means I usually end up shooting my looks at home on weekdays when I haven’t left the house or on a lazy Saturday/Sunday evening. When shooting at home I’m left with the same few backgrounds that I know work best (yes, there is one spot that is usually my go-to), and in the winter, because it’s hard for me to stand outside in a brutal Mid-West winter, I have basically one spot that works indoors.
I decided to add a picture of me in my swimsuit because it is the only suit that I’ve boughten that I feel 100% comfortable in. I know swimsuit shopping is a struggle for women in general, but for me swimsuit shopping felt extra awkward and complicated growing up. I even stopped going to the public pool throughout high school and part of college. Finding clothing that fit me right can be tuff, finding a swimsuit that I really like and actually looks good on me, that seemed absolutely impossible. Until I found this one.
I suppose before I end this post I should address that I’ve only talked about half of my physical disabilities and didn’t bring up the fact that I have a trache. It actually hasn’t been much of a barrier when it comes to blogging. I know I literally can’t do anything about it in any way so I guess it has been something that I’ve come to terms with a long time ago. I also use a ventilator 99% of the time that I detach from to take pictures (and do other day-to-day things) so the tubing won’t cover up or detract from my outfits. It’s also just easier to pose without worrying about lugging it around the house/front yard/backyard.
Francesca’s brow bar sunglasses, BP. retro sunglasses (that literally look the same!), & similar Francesca’s gold sunglasses/Venus fly away bandeau tankini/Venus swim shorts
Both Venus items are on sale!