Why You Should Wear Whatever The Hell You Want

Why You Should Wear Whatever The Hell You Want

Every Body is beautiful

About a year ago, a body-positive tweet I posted went viral. I'd tweeted similar things in the past, and never had any inclination that it could amass such a large response. After being retweeted and favorited over 100,000 times apiece, I have learned a few things.

Comparison photos taken a little over 1 year later.

1. Body shaming comes from both males and females

The tweets I used specifically in my post were all from women to make a point that women body-shame women too. A lot of the responses I got were, "see, men aren't the problem!" It is important to note that males aren't exempt just because 12 tweets weren't from men, and there are plenty of negative tweets from men.

2. Complimenting one body type by insulting another body type is not a compliment

I got so many comments saying that "men don't like skin and bones" and "this is so much better than skinny women" and things of that nature. If the only way you can celebrate one body type is to bash another one, then maybe just keep your mouth shut.

3. People on the internet can be terrifying

Being a woman on the internet is hard in any facet, but I've learned that being a woman who went viral for scantily clad photos is terrifying. I have had people get blocked and make 10 different accounts, been sent disgusting photos and had a man make a collage of photos of me for things I did not want to know about. Being a body positive woman on the internet opens you up to some very creepy things, but do your best to block them and move on.

4. Every body is absolutely beautiful

I had so many men and women tweeting photos of me, telling me they felt confident to wear something because of my post. The craziness of that aside, I have seen so many different bodies looking so beautiful in their own way. Never believe that only one type of body can be attractive.

5. You can love your body and actively work to change it

I still workout 5+ times a week. I still have a goal weight much lower than my current weight and goals that I'm not even close to. Wanting to make progress in your body does not mean you don't love it the way that it is. Don't feel like to be body positive you have to remain stagnant.

6. Weight does not equal body type

I've been told countless times, "you don't look like you weigh over 200 pounds!" That was kind of the point of the tweet, to show that 200 pounds might not look like what you expect it to look like. 200 pounds will look different on someone like me who is almost 6'0", and someone who is 6 inches shorter than me. 200 pounds will look different on an athlete and someone of the same height who doesn't exercise. "200+ pounds" is not a body type.

7. Weight is truly just a number

You can want to weigh less, but the goal, (at least for me), always comes down to looking and feeling better. I weigh more than I did in high school now and I consider myself so much happier and more confident than I was back then. Your goal weight is a fine goal to strive for, but you might be less disappointed and more successful if you strive for happiness instead.

8. You're still going to struggle

You aren't "not body-positive" or a poser for saying you love your body and still struggling with it. I continue to struggle eating well and I still am not the biggest fan of my stomach. It isn't how you feel, its how you act on it. It is important to keep right on loving your body, even if you don't like it sometimes.

9. Angles, lighting, and poses make a difference

It is crazy how much your body can change based on how you stand, how the photo is taken and how it is lit. I'll provide some examples, but the bottom line is... Don't get discouraged because you look bad in a photo! There's so much that goes into it, and it more than likely isn't you.

These photos were taken within 30 minutes of each other, and the pose I'm doing completely changes the way that I look.

The lighting in these two photos has a large effect on the way that I look. On the right, the lighting is more harsh ad it brings out the flaws in my stomach as well as my legs, where the lighting in the left photo covers them up.

These photos were taken in the same night, and the angle of the photograph, as well as the lighting, completely warp the way my body looks.

10. For all the negativity out there, there's ten times the positivity

For every hateful comment I received, I got 10 positive ones. I know it is easier to get caught up on the negativity and the shaming, but know that those nasty people are in the vast minority. It is important to remind yourself that there are people out there who think you are beautiful, and I hope you are one of them.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Cutting My Hair Off Wasn't A Brave Decision

I just didn't have a choice.

I never considered myself a girl that defined herself by her hair.

This past May, people started to notice how long my hair was. When I would walk into my local coffee shop, I was greeted with "Hey, Rapunzel!" This past June, I had a stroke. This past September, I cut my hair off. I got a pixie cut, and I feel like a completely different person. When I had my stroke, I had a drain put in. In order to do that, they had to shave my head, but they ended up shaving only part of it.

When I finally regained consciousness, my hair was pretty much gone.

Whenever I would reach up to run my hands through it, I would hit a tube instead. I was in the neuro ICU for so long that I made friends with the charge nurse that was usually there. She braided what little hair I still had, and it made me feel like I was still a real person. She always used to ask what I planned to do with my hair. One side was completely buzzed, and the other side was about a foot long. I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I figured that I would cross that bridge when I came to it. Some nurses suggested that I leave it buzzed on one side, but just get it touched up. Others said that I should just cut it all off.

When I was finally sent from the ICU to a rehab facility, I decided that I needed to figure out what to do. I was in an inpatient rehab facility, but I didn't plan to be there for long. While I was there, my goal was not only to re-learn to walk, but also to get comfortable with touching my own head.

That seems like a really weird statement, I know. Like I said before, I had a drain coming out of my head for about two months. Eventually, it was taken out, and I got a stitch to keep it closed. Even though there was a stitch, there was still some scarring and it scabbed over. There was no hair there to distract me from the feeling of a scabbed-over wound. Right before I left ICU, they even re-buzzed my head so that they could stitch it up.

Eventually, I felt better about touching my head. I didn't notice the stitch as much as time went on. My mom trimmed up some stray hairs that they had missed when they shaved my head the first time, and I guess that I felt better.

When they eventually discharged me from rehab, I felt like the decision was more pressing than before. I stalled on it for a really long time. I blamed it on the fact that I was preoccupied with recovering, and said that I just didn't feel like deciding yet.

When I moved back into my apartment in West Virginia, six hours away from home, I figured that I really needed to decide. I could keep braiding it and flipping my hair over the buzzed side, but that was a lot of work. I could keep wearing hats and headbands, but I knew that I couldn't do that forever. Plus my hair would grow in REALLY unevenly.

My roommate convinced me that I just needed to suck it up and cut it, so I did. I hated it. A lot.

I didn't know what to do with it. Eventually, I ended up getting it actually styled. I liked that better, but I still hated it.

A lot of people would remark "Wow, you're so brave for cutting your hair!", but it wasn't brave. I just really didn't have a choice. Sure, I wish that it was a brave decision. I wish that I had decided it on my own. But I didn't. I felt backed into a corner.

You know the analogy about an animal that's chained to something? They're there for so long that they gnaw off the chained limb in order to escape. That's how I felt. My long hair was a chained limb, and I had to cut it off. Emotionally, it really hurt, and I still haven't come to terms with it.

My long hair made me feel more approachable. Whenever I'm out in public, people are less likely to approach me now that I've cut my hair. I haven't even changed my profile pictures on social media.

When I see people that I used to be friends with, I just pretend that I don't see them. I just assume that they won't recognize me. Sure, there are new tagged photos of me on Facebook, but I'm uncomfortable with every single one of them. My Tinder profile is still just photos from before my stroke. My Twitter avatar was taken only days before my stroke.

Eventually, yeah, I'll probably update my social media. But not now. I'm still not ready for it.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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5 Game Plans To Up Your Wardrobe If You're A Lazy 20-Something Professional, Like Me

It's a real tragedy that office culture doesn't accept slippers as appropriate footwear.

Trying to present yourself as semi-professional, or full-on professional, on a daily basis is hard work, let me tell ya. Through high school, you could catch me wearing sweatpants and slippers. Yoga pants? Yup, I wore ‘em. It’s not that I don’t appreciate personal style, self-expression, or comfort anymore, I’m just learning to make all of those things more presentable to our professional society.

1. No more graphic tees, period.

It’s time to ditch ‘em. And I get it, Target sells dozens of comfy tees with cute sayings and pictures. You gotta let them go! If you *must* keep some in rotation, style them with some cigarette pants and a relaxed blazer.

2. Sweaters are your best friend!

Seriously, sweaters are the best way to keep comfy and stay warm. And they still look nice? Sign. Me. Up. Bonus: layer a button up or flannel underneath for some added flare.

3. Ponte leggings instead of yoga pants.

This is seriously a game changer, ladies, I promise. Just as comfy and form-fitting, but they give off a classier vibe.

4. Clogs, clogs, clogs!

Comfortable. Stylish. What’s not to love? Clogs are making a comeback, and if you haven’t jumped aboard yet, now is the time. (Plus, if you’re going for the second-grade teacher or librarian look, these will complete it perfectly!)

5. Ditch the backpacks, PLEASE.

Or at least step them up. No more North Face hiking backpacks, y’all. Get a nice, nondescript canvas or leather backpack that has clean lines and no large visible logo, or opt for an over the shoulder bag or briefcase if you have less to carry around.

Stay tuned for more installments in this journey as I find more ways to step up my own closet, and stay comfy and unique while I do it!

Cover Image Credit: Pxhere

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