When I was a teenager, I hated my body and how I looked. I was really thin, but in my eyes I was not thin enough. I constantly tried to change. I was not nice to myself, practicing negative self-talk and judgment every day, even as I grew older. Even into my 30s, my weight, for some reason, continued to define me. It wasn’t a nice place to be.
Then, I became a mother, to a son and a daughter. I always wanted them to grow up in a world that was full of love, a world that celebrates differences and cultivates acceptance. I taught them about this world, but on the inside I didn’t live in it. I still had body issues and they weren’t going away even though I wanted them to. I wanted to see myself the way my friends and family saw me, as a complete human who is loving, kind, smart, ambitious, generous, and pretty damn hot looking, too! I didn’t like that I let the shape of my body hold me back. And, it held me back in so many ways. I missed events, meetings with friends, and even going out in public because I didn’t feel like I was good enough. It truly sucked.
I continued to say things to myself that were incredibly unkind. Things I would never say to my kids or my husband, or my mom, my friends or even a stranger on the street. I was so mean to myself and it was such a part of who I was, that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. That was until I realized what those kinds of thoughts can do to people. And, to the two little people who looked up to me. I wanted to be telling them a truth and not a sugar coated lie. I wanted to be a good example to my kids and I wanted to feel good about me - all of me. I didn’t want my weight to define who I was.
So I started to work on myself. I started going to therapy and practicing self-love. I listened to Brene Brown’s audio books and listened hard to what she had to say. I read blogs from women who were on the same journey and followed businesses that also practiced acceptance and self-love. When I would read or hear a message of self-love and acceptance, I would try really hard to understand how that person got there and take the lesson on my own journey.
I’ve been travelling on this journey for a year now. It has been very hard at times and that mean little voice still comes out sometimes and tries to throw me off. But now that I know about it, I can fight back and not let it get to me. I practice loving messages instead.
Last week we did a photo shoot for our Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. I wanted to showcase how House of Koopslie is designed for real women of all shapes and sizes. So, I asked my friends, real women that I absolutely adore, to take part in the shoot. As we were getting closer to the day, some of them started getting nervous. But I kept telling my friends the truth - that they were amazing and a perfect representation of House of Koopslie. But, the truth is I myself was also feeling self-conscious. I realized that that little mean voice was back and telling me that I wasn’t good enough to be in that shoot, my OWN shoot for my OWN company. But then I realized, that if I am telling women that they should feel great in my brand regardless of their body type, then I needed to step up and own up to that too. And so I did. After nine years of having my brand, I decided to take part in the shoot as a model.
Now, as I am looking through our photos, I’ve started noticing nice things about myself: how I stood tall and I smiled, the pride I felt for the pieces that I had created and how they looked so different, yet so amazing on every single one of my friends, and on me. Looking at those photos, I felt proud that I was part of a movement of women that are standing up and showing the world what real women and real beauty looks like. I cannot wait to share all of the photos with you.
With love and bamboo,