Fashion is an art. A form of self-expression, for most people. Fashion can also be something fun and to others, it is not anything serious. How does someone express themselves, through fashion, when they don’t recognize the person they see in the mirror?
Growing up, I always thought I was a big girl. However, when I look at pictures of me just four years ago, I can see the bones on my neck. It turns out my body didn’t actually look how I felt or thought it looked. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being big but there is something wrong with seeing your body differently from what it actually is.
Web MD defines Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) as, “a distinct mental disorder in which a person is preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see.” Not to self-diagnose but I think this is something I struggled with.
Having a mental picture of my body that is simply not true, affected my fashion choices and my ability to express myself through fashion.
Shopping for clothes, when you can’t really recognize yourself in the mirror is horrible. I had a hard time choosing clothes because half the time I couldn’t actually see myself looking good in anything I touched.
About 3 years ago, I suddenly put on weight. Okay, not suddenly. My food choices were not the best but that’s not the point of this story. When I noticed I had gained weight, the amount I thought I had gained was way more than in reality. When this happened, I had to change my entire wardrobe, which at the time was full of cropped tops and skinny jeans. I went out and bought over-sized t-shirts. I also got rid of almost all my jeans and started wearing leggings only. I think I chose to wear leggings because of how easy it is to put them on compared to tight fitting jeans. Wearing skinny jeans became a ceremonial event. I also got baggy pants and mom jeans, for the days when I couldn’t wear leggings.
I walked around in baggy clothing, not only for aesthetics but also because I was trying to hide my body. It became my thing and it was my thing for a while. I then stopped taking pictures. I remember looking at the last pictures I posted on Instagram and thinking, “Who is that?” To make matters worse, someone left a comment about my weight under the pictures so that really justified my plans to delete everything. Putting on make-up, dressing up, and taking pictures just wasn’t fun for me anymore because every time I looked at myself, I looked different.
You Can Also Read: Insecurities: The Body Edition
I slightly mentioned all this in my post about body insecurities but what I’m trying to say is, being someone who loves fashion and make-up, and dealing with body dysmorphia makes it hard to enjoy these things. Apart from body dysmorphia ruining your love for fashion, it can also cause mental health issues and we don’t want that.
Recognising how I felt about my body and in turn about how I expressed myself through how I dressed was one step closer to doing better for myself.
I have started finding the fun in dressing up, again. Do I own cropped tops, yes. I do. I still wear baggy clothes but not because I’m hiding my body but simply because of fashion. Baggy fitting clothes that were actually meant for me.
I have way too many t-shirts. Most of them are large so I just wear a good number of them to bed now. I’m actually in the process of buying t-shirts that actually fit. The baggy style will always be my aesthetic. Sweatpants, a t-shirt and mom or boyfriend jeans. Again, not because I’m hiding my body but because I just love the style.
I don’t really know any sure way of how to cure body dysmorphia. Probably go for therapy if you think that’s what you struggle with. Also, never go shopping alone. Take a friend with you who will actually see you for you and help you choose clothes. My friends unknowingly really helped me through that phase.
Also, if you look at my Instagram now, you will find I still don’t have any pictures. I want to mention that it’s not because of any body issues. I just don’t have pictures to post and after not posting for so long, the thought of posting a picture is actually scary.
I just want to remind you to love your body. It is no easy feat sometimes but it is possible. Wear what makes you happy and not what makes you feel sad or depressed. I hope we are all able to see who we really are and that when we look in the mirror, we will all be happy.
Have you struggled with body dysmorphia? Or do you have hard time picking outfits because of the way you think your body looks? Let me know in the comments! Let’s talk about it.
Thanks for reading!
Hey guys! Welcome to Day 16 of the Afrobloggers WinterABC 2021!! Today, we move on to something serious after having a good laugh yesterday. I decided to share how my perception of my body affects my fashion choices. Follow the blog to keep up with all the posts in this years blogging challenge. The posts go live at 8.30pm (GMT +8) every week day.
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