Before I discuss dressing for my body type, I wanted to share something with all of you that is both personal, but important to talk about. I wrote this essay two years ago during my Junior year of college for a story telling class, but I am now opening up and sharing it with others in hopes that some of you will be able to relate and realize you’re nowhere near alone.
Living in a Stranger’s Body
I guess you could say my body and I have a long distance relationship. I cannot think of a time where I felt one with myself, finally the person I am supposed to be. In fact I can think of several times where I have looked in the mirror and questioned if it was really myself looking back, or another body, another person all together. It could be that I’m so uncomfortable with my body that I am in denial whenever I see it. Or perhaps it’s one of those cases when you say a word so many times that it starts to seems unreal, like you just made the word up. It starts to sound silly in your head. Fork. Fork. Fork. Fork. Fork. Fork. Fork. I say this one a lot. Then I wonder who even made that word up? Is it really called a fork? I must be imagining this, its too silly of a word. My mind plays tricks on me like this every day. Eventually the reality of things starts to disappear. That’s how I feel about my body most days. How did it get like this? Is it even mine? Is this how everyone else sees me? I almost wish I could tell you I’m high on drugs while having these thoughts. Unfortunately this is how my mind works, drug-free. Every day my brain messes with the certainty of things, and every day I wonder why my body doesn’t seem like my own.
I cannot say for sure how I have become so distant from my own body. I suppose the furthest back I can remember caring about my body was when I was twelve years old. Growing up I was a skinny kid, boney knees and all. I ate whatever I wanted and could never gain an ounce of fat. Yet when I was twelve years old I grew very sick. I couldn’t move from the couch, I had fevers all throughout the day, I broke out in rashes all over my body, and I had completely lost my appetite. At just twelve years old, I had lost ten percent of my body weight. I was holding up my pants when I went out in public. My face was hollow. My bones, weak. Finally, after a few months of torture, I was taken to the Children’s Hospital and after eight days, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The doctor told me that my white blood cells had mistaken my joints for a virus and attacked them, causing horrible pain throughout my body. I took this as horrible news. My own body was attacking itself. How could I like my body when my body doesn’t even like my body? To make things better, I was put on high doses of steroids, causing me to gain thirty pounds in a matter of months. My skin was stretched to its limits. Brown stretch marks crept their way across my body. My cheeks and stomach exploded into space, leaving me with the appearance of a pregnant chipmunk. This was easily my all time low. I have never hated my body more. I guess that was the moment when we went our separate ways. I did not want to be who my body had become.
The few years after my illness were not any better. High School. I hated high school and everything that came with it. I was constantly trying to fit in. Need to be skinnier. Need to wear more make-up. No. Be an individual. No. You need more friends. Blondes are pretty. Brunettes are pretty. Drink more you’ll be cooler. I tried all of these. I guess they worked. I fit in. I was on homecoming court. I hung out with the “popular kids.” I wasn’t me. Once again my body was living one life and I was fighting to live another. My Junior and Senior year slapped me across the face and pushed me to the ground. In these two years I had gotten mono, developed Hypothyroidism, and was diagnosed with clinical depression. Who am I anymore? I had become so separated from my body that I wanted to leave it all together. I still hate you body, but I’m glad I didn’t leave you at that moment in time. I fought through it. Graduating from high school helped. I needed to get away from the people who were controlling my body. I needed to reconnect with myself.
Unfortunately, this reconnection has yet to happen. Every time I look in the mirror I see things that don’t belong to me. Why do my thighs look like they belong to a two hundred pound woman? Does my face always look this busted? This is definitely the stomach of a 50 year old woman with five kids. Is this seriously what I look like? Sometimes, well, a lot of the time, I think back to how I looked when I was 11. So skinny. My skin was so smooth. If I never had arthritis I would still be skinny, like all of my other friends. I would be able to wear shorts and not try to hide any stretch marks. I could go to the beach and sit up on my towel like a normal person, instead of lying back to stretch out any stomach rolls. It’s the little things. If I never took steroids my growth would not have been stunted and I would be a few inches taller like my sisters. Sometimes I feel like the runt of my family. The crippled puppy that isn’t even strong enough to get food. Who gets pushed down by the other puppies because of its size. That’s me. Crippled. Small. Weak. I guess I should say that’s my body. Not me. I’m not crippled. I’m strong. Confident. Powerful. My body brings me down. These are what I want to be. These are who I think I am. Until my body reminds me that I’m not. I hate you. Why cant you be 10 pounds lighter? Why can’t your arms be toned? Why can’t your nose be smaller? Why can’t your hair be thinner? Why can’t your stomach be flatter? Why can’t your thighs be inches apart? Why can’t you be tanner? Why can’t your boobs be bigger? Why can’t you be who I want you to be? You’re not me. That’s not me. That’s not Gabby. I even hate my name. Gabby. Gabby. Gabby. Gabby. Gabby. Gabby. Gabby. Is that even a real name? Who invented that name? It’s a silly name. It’s not me. I’m not a Gabby. Maybe my body is. But I’m not.
I guess you could say I have some issues. Body Dysmorphic Disorder? That’s probably pretty accurate. I don’t see my body the way other people do. I don’t see my body as my body. Whose is it then? I have no idea. Gabby’s. But I’m not Gabby. There’s so many things I want to be that Gabby is not. She’s a stranger. Do I want to work on becoming one with my body? Becoming one with Gabby? Sure. But until then, I’ll have to cope with living in a stranger’s body.
I must admit, since writing this essay two years ago, I have definitely been working on accepting myself and I have made a lot of progress. However, I am still struggling every day to forget about my flaws and focus on what I love about myself. I hope by reading this you will realize at least two things:
1) You are not alone! But if you resinate with this essay, it’s time to start loving yourself!
2) Most girls already feel horribly about themselves, so stop talking badly about others and start dishing out more compliments. It could really make someone’s day!
Daily Exercise: Every morning when you wake up, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud one thing that you love about yourself.
OK now we can talk about fashion….
I guess I would describe my body type as short, pear shaped, and bootylicious. I am only 5’2″ (I used to be 5’3″ but I shrunk an inch), and my lower half is bigger than my upper half.
Dressing for Shorties
There are a few things you can do to appear taller, or at least not look any shorter than you already are…
1) High waisted everything
If you are short, high waisted bottoms are your best friend. Moving your natural waistline up, or at least emphasizing your natural waist, will make your legs look longer than they really are. This picture is a great example of that. All I had to do was bring the skirt to my waist instead of my hips and tuck the shirt in and I went from frumpy to long and lean. Yay!
2) Go Short or Go Home
I know when you’re short everything is naturally longer on you, but wearing things that are knee length or midi length can make you look so much shorter than you really are. Keeping your hem lengths shorter will look more proportionate and will avoid the “my clothes are swallowing me whole” look.
3) Chop Chop
Although I will forever love long hair, it is not a great look for short girls. Long hair can drag down shorties and can really take over if you’re petit. Also, this past weekend was Mimi’s birthday (the other girl in these pictures) Happy Birthday!
Other ways to add length:
- Wear all one color
- Vertical stripes
- Wear skinny belts as opposed to wide ones
- V-necks all day, every day
Dressing for Big Booties
Although you should always celebrate your lady curves, here’s some ways to dress if you’re not in the twerking mood…
1) Embellishments and Prints on Top
If you’re trying to draw some attention away from your bottom half, trying wearing something simple on the bottom and either a print, bold color, or statement necklace on top. In this particular outfit I decided to go all black with a statement necklace but you can do whatever as long as the top half draws in more attention than the bottom.
2) Dark on bottom, Light on top
As you can (hopefully) see from the first two pictures, the black pants give the illusion of longer leaner legs and keep the attention up top. I also posted this third picture again because it is the perfect example of so many things: Dark on bottom, big necklace on top, and a deep V-neck!
3) Layers on Layers on Layers
This is actually not a good look for short people, but sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too (other times you can…and then you end up here… trying to conceal your big butt..) Anyways, layering on top helps balance out your larger bottom half. However make sure your layers fall either above or below the widest part of your hips to avoid emphasizing that area even more.
4) Just Cover it Up
Here is a good example of an outfit that can easily go inappropriate thanks to a big butt. Normally this outfit would be fine for dinner with your family or some sort of evening event, but when turned to the side, this outfit went real questionable real fast.
Instead, try wearing a longer jacket/shawl to cover up that booty (don’t worry it can come back out later in the night…)
For more tips on how to dress for a pear shaped body, check out yesterdays post by Grunge-ME-NOT!
I must admit…. there is no way I follow these rules every day. Some times I want to wear a midi skirt or patterned pants and I just don’t care if I look shorter or fatter. You should always dress to make yourself happy, not to make others happy.