body talk

green hair, braid, the dainty squid, kaylah doolan

Body image is such a strange, strange thing. In my case, it can also be a very fragile thing. This post could go a thousand different ways but let’s start here…

I’d like to think that I know better than to be jealous of something I see on instagram. I know that most people out there aren’t purposely posting their less than flattering moments, that they’re really only posting when they look or feel good and that’s perfectly fine! It’s not that I want to revel in their ugly photos or anything. For me, it’s just so easy to get discouraged when I see beautiful person after beautiful person after beautiful person. Perfect body after perfect body. I know, and have briefly written about how one person’s beauty doesn’t take away from your own but some times it’s hard not to feel crappy. I’ve been struggling with that a little bit lately.

On top of this, Jeff and I went shopping together a week or two ago which should have been a fun thing but I left feeling a little bit blue.  I’ve found that most stores in the mall don’t really carry clothes that I would or can even wear. My local H&M is consistenly sold out of anything that isn’t a size 2 or 4. I rarely fit in Forever 21’s clothing and their plus size section is too big. It’s like there’s a gap of sizes that got left out. If I do magically fit in their clothing it’s obscenely short. Again, making it unwearable. Then when we went to Victoria Secret, where Jeff was so kindly offering to buy me something, they didn’t have my bra size.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s small fries. I don’t regularly shop at the mall nor did I really need anything but it’s hard to not feel discouraged. I felt like a giant. Like I was “too big” to be a woman. This is a super crappy feeling I deal with quite often. I am not a delicate flower. I have never been. In middle school I was proud to be bigger than all the boys. I was strong, and not to be messed with. Somewhere along the line I became self consious of my size. I wanted to be small, delicate, “feminine”, and perhaps most of all, shorter.

This whole flare up of feelings at the mall happened two or three days before I needed to take some photos for an “in kind” campaign I was doing with Athleta. That just means they sent me some clothing in exchange for photos. I had picked out two things I was super excited to wear – a striped sports bra + a cozy sweater. I picked the two of them together with a specific photo in mind that I would take. My deadline was approaching, and despite any negative feelings I was having toward my body, I had to get at least one photo.

I took a handful, not expecting too much. Wouldn’t you know it I LOVED what I was getting. I ran back in front of my camera, posed some more, and got even more photos I loved. Photos that made me feel good about my body. Photos that showed me my own body in a different light. That helped me remember how incredibe my body is. Maybe its not the thinnest, daintiest, petite thing but it’s a damn work of art. This body is strong. It houses all the good things I have inside me. Most importantly, it’s the only one I have.

So what if it will never grace the cover of a magazine? Ahem, I mean, I did that already. So what if it doesn’t garner attention from every dude on the internet? I don’t want that anyway. So what if I can’t buy cheap-o clothes from the mall? I should make smarter purchases, anyway. It’s like I’m intelligent enough to know that the reasons I want my body to look a certain way are stupid but still can’t help but sometimes feel like my body could be ‘better’.  Fitting into clothes from the mall wouldn’t make me happier. Being pestered by more men who only like the way I look certainly wouldn’t make me happier. So why do I feel this way sometimes? It makes no sense.

I guess I just wanted to write this post to 1) celebrate a time when I felt really happy with my body and 2) share that even the people you might look up to still struggle with the same things. It’s only human.

Quick run down of some important things –

  • The beauty of another does not take away from your own!
  • Everyone EVERYONE struggles with their appearance from time to time – even that human who you think is like the ultimate good lookin’ person! Chances are every once in a while they look in the mirror and think “who is that dingus?”
  • Taking selfies isn’t vain, sometimes it can be a really cathartic experience that will help you see things a little bit differently.
  • STOP COMPARING YOUR BODY TO OTHERS. Everyone is built different.
  • Not being petite doesn’t make you any less womanly or worth any less.
Bra + cardigan c/o Athleta.
Leggings by Girlfriend Collective. They are PURE MAGIC. Literal best leggings I have ever owned. They’re made from recycled water bottles. Plus they earn major points for using models with a variety of different body types.

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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  • Hey Kaylah! I can relate with feeling like a giant. When I was 8 I was the tallest person in class, and that trend continued until high school. I was incredibly self-conscious about my body because everyone seemed so much tinier than me. At 5’8″ I wondered why I couldn’t have been born petite and just take up less space. It wasn’t until I was an adult that my body image started to change. I think that this was around the time that more and more articles were popping up about plus sized models and giving a middle finger to standardized beauty in general. Now I know that my body is normal, it’s unique, and that’s totally fine. I also feel like crap sometimes due to comparisons, but like you said, one’s beauty doesn’t take away from the beauty of another. Sometimes what helps me with my body image is thinking of all the things that I am grateful my body can do. Anyway, I think that you look great in those clothes! I’m always on the lookout for comfortable leggings because a lot of the time they just dig into my belly and that hurts. Take care! <3

  • Thanks for this post <3 I remember growing up and visiting family in China… I'm an hourglass-ish figured, 5'4" Chinese girl, and that made me…. a behemoth. I was too tall, my feet were too big, I had too much butt, and too much chest for any of the clothes there, blah blah… It's been a decade since then and I've realized that I am just me. I'm not better, I'm not worse than anyone else – sure sometimes whatever is in fashion doesn't work on my figure, but I've got a pretty good body and I'm getting better at taking care of it. All I'm trying to say is – yes! I agree with your message! And I love the power of a really good selfie <3 Cheers!