The first step to creating trust is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This is me being vulnerable. Thanks for holding space for me to share with you. Whether or not you like these un-photoshopped photos of my body is not the reason I’m writing. The point I’d like to make is that one can have a negative feeling or thought (about one’s body or soul) and yet it doesn’t have to define oneself.
Brought on by stress, I suffered the effects of an autoimmune disease for at least 10 years before it was diagnosed. It affected every day of my life. I thought that crying a lot, being horribly uncomfortable in my body, constantly feeling exhausted, having extreme moods, and a perpetual feeling of bloating/constipation was normal. I didn’t date. I gained a lot of weight. When I would physically exert myself I became swollen like a ripe tomato- my body will never recover from those stretch marks and stretched out skin. I was labeled by my family and friends as grumpy, moody, challenging, and sensitive. I am still working through the remnants of the shame stemming from those formative years. My digestive system can’t process grains and other things well so I have to watch what I eat like a hawk. This disease shaped who I am inside and out.
Why am I telling you this? When I started Texture Clothing in 2001, I wasn’t prepared to hear so many of you speak about your bodies in such a negative way. Each time I witness you speak poorly about your body, it breaks my heart a little bit. I have tears welling up in my eyes as I write this. I have heard that you can’t wear an item because your shoulders are too big, you have too much fat in a certain area, and that you can’t wear a mini skirt because of your knee wrinkles or because are simply too old.
I want to hug the part of you that you aren’t able to, and gently remind you that you are good enough. But it’s almost never the right time to get the message through the thick shell you had to construct to shelter your spirit. I know what’s going on. I had also developed a shield for my precious insides.
This vocation has been an incredible learning experience for me on my journey, seeing how beautiful you are and the way you speak to yourself has made me want to eradicate my own negative self talk. When I first saw these photos of me, wearing just Ophelia Undies and a Ballerina Bralette, I freaked out. I didn’t know I had that much cellulite on my ass! My first thought: Who is going to love me, looking like this? My favorite tool to use (in so many situations) is to notice my feeling or negative self talk but not attach to it. I know that this feeling doesn’t define who I am as a whole person.
We all have things going on ‘inside and outside’. The two are not separate. One affects the other…and we are ALIVE! I hope that you trust me a little bit more, and believe me when I tell you that you are precious!
Here are some things I believe to be true:
- We all suffer from pain.
- Everyone’s journey to attaining a peaceful feeling in their heart looks different.
- Everyone’s journey is valid.
- Noticing, but not attaching to, our feelings leads to more peace.
- Change is possible.
Photos by: Zippy Lomax
What an absolutely powerful, inspiring, and much needed post. Thank you for your courage to be vulnerable. You are helping lead the way!
<3 <3 <3
you have always been an inspiration. I wear you clothes and feel amazing. They are made for all body types. We need to embrace how we were created…life’s too short to do otherwise.
Thank you for your kind (and wise) words Tanya! <3
First of all, Wonderful You! Facing a painful part of ourselves is the beginning of change. Being vulnerable, thank you for the beautiful story you shared. I, too, think we are far too hard on ourselves. Instead of focussing on what works well in our bodies, what gifts we have, and what we can do, we focus on sometimes what is really a distortion. While our culture tells us one thing, it is just a view. We can practice more LOVE in this world! I am so thankful to you and to your gift of textiles and fashion!
My first thought when I saw your photo in the email was, wow, she is beautiful! A goddess in the field. And I felt grateful that a clothing company was sharing a real unfiltered woman’s body. I have been a person of size all my adult life and my journey to feel comfortable in my own skin is ongoing. Closing in on my 30s, I realized that I couldn’t wait until I’d lost the weight to live the life that I wanted and needed. So I started to live it anyway. And thank goddess I did, because otherwise I’d still be waiting, convinced that my cellulite and my stretch marks made me unfit to live my dreams. Im 41 now with wrinkles and grey hairs and yeah my body will always be different from what I was told is beautiful. But my body has its own beauty, and no one can take that from me, age won’t make me less beautiful, and neither will losing or gaining 40 lbs. One thing I have learned from other creative women is how to take a material and create more beauty with it. That includes adorning my body, celebrating and decorating it, showing my true self to the world. They can take it or leave it, but the power to define my own beauty is mine alone. Other women have told me that seeing me wearing my own particular style inspires them to feel more confident to do the same. And so it was for me seeing other women of all body types looking elegant, stylish, and comfortable with themselves.
Thank you so much for sharing yourself, goddess. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL<3
Thanks so much for sharing, Rowan! Your story brought joyful tears to my eyes. You are ALIVE and LIVING…hurray! This is what it’s about. I’m glad to hear you cracked the code and are able to be ‘you’. This is exactly what we need…your light shining bright.
Thank you for this Teresa! We need more people to be vulnerable in this department of self-love because we are all so deeply scarred by what is expected by society or how we “should” be or look. So thank you! ❤️
Thank you for reading the blog Laura! It’s good to know that we are not alone, eh?
renelle d hurst
maybe someday i will get there. until then, i must admit, you look great in those under doodles girl!
We all have our thoughts and feelings to wrangle! One step at a time.
Well, Teresa, you look great, I must say! But it’s been bothering me, too, lately when I work with women trying on clothing (or not, because their arms are flabby so they don’t wear sleeveless anymore!) and see how critical we are. And I’m right there with ’em! But I had two women one day buying gorgeous dresses for their friend’s wedding. They were mature women, not what you would call svelte, and they were having so much fun, and really rockin’ these dresses, and I could tell they felt BEAUTIFUL! It was truly inspirational! And I vowed then, that yes, my arms are getting a bit flabby, and I’ve never had the best legs, but heck! I wasn’t going to be too hard on myself. And now I see at as my mission to encourage others to move past that self-criticism too. I look back, and sadly realize that I spent a lot of my early years feeling I was fat. And when i see old photos, it makes me sad that I wasted that time not feeling as beautiful as I truly was. (And am 🙂
I think it’s so important to honor the sadness and then let it go. You are such a ray of sunshine to so many people. You touch a lot of lives…including mine. Thanks for being you and for sharing about your own journey here, Kathleen!
You are a stunning being. Thank you for sharing You. You’re a pioneer and the tired ways of shame, guilt, and hiding are ending. Our flames burn too bright to continue snuffing them out! Yum. That’s what I say ????