Topic Tuesday: Body Image
“You Are Worth More Than Your Size” (By: Ashley Piper)
Have you ever gotten mad at yourself for having to buy a bigger size of clothing than you wanted to? Like, you gave that piece of material all made up into a pretty little something, more power than your own mind? Have you ever attached any feeling to a size… sadness. guilt. shame. joy. excitement… I could go on and on here… but I won’t, because I want to tell you that you are certainly not alone. In fact, more times than not, other women share these feeling with you. I am here to change that. I am encouraging women and girls to love themselves, their true selves, down-to-the-bone selves, before they ever give a size of clothing an ounce of power ever again. Sound good?? You bet! Too good to be true? Absolutely not!
I guess I should explain myself, why I am even here, and what I’m doing.. I am on a journey towards self love. And by journey, I mean trek, excursion.. some times it’s a jungle safari, some days it a walk in the park and you stop and smell the roses kinda day, some days it’s getting stuck in a hurricane. It’s a journey, and it’s not always pretty, but it can be. And, it’s all worth it. Nothing feels better than being at peace with your body, and your mind. Not fighting the guilty thoughts, not fighting the self hate. Accepting that you are flawed, not perfect, and that is ok…. you are still enough.
I am learning to be okay with my flaws, and my imperfections. Acknowledging them, and being okay. Notice I said, learning. I am here because I have something to say, about being a woman, being a girl, with the struggles of society. About learning to love myself, all my flaws, and still love… Me. But, it is so hard, right?!?
My story begins when I was about 10 years old… comparing myself to someone else. What do you think of when you think of a 10 year old? A child, right? Yes, a child. I was a child. Here’s the thing… There was absolutely nothing wrong with my body, or my health, or me. I was healthy, active, athletic, talented at many things, beautiful. I was beautiful. But I took that one thought, and let it control me for most of my life. However, at the time, I had absolutely no idea. I had no idea that first comparison would escalate. A couple years later, (age 12 to be exact) I developed an eating disorder. Why? Because I wanted to be “skinny”. I wanted to wear a smaller size of clothing.
My current size was not good enough, I needed to be a smaller size… my ultimate goal.. Unrealistic and dangerously unhealthy. Because other girls my age were small enough to wear those sizes, so comparing myself to them… I wanted to change myself.
Fast forward through the next 20 years of my life…. Most of them were spent starving, by choice. Not because I didn’t have access to food, because I did, healthy food at that. I starved myself. If I did eat, and felt guilty… I could just get rid of it, and be fine… like it never happened. I was in control, right? Wrong!!!! I was so out of control and couldn’t see it. I tortured my body, and my mind.
Growing up is hard enough, right? There are so many things children face through stages of life, insecurities are bad on their own. Now that I’m a mother, of girls, one of my greatest fears is they have one negative thought about themselves, or their body. I’m serious, what I went through was torture. I NEVER want my girls, or any girl, any woman, to experience it, even for one second.
You see, I grew up in a time when words like ‘skinny’ and ‘fat’ were tossed around like nothing. So here’s the thing, as much as society is trying to not use those specific words, there will always be words. You know what I mean, words that destruct our souls, tear us down, yet we use them every day and use them to associate our self worth with. But, we can recognize it, and change it… Or even better, learn the opposite… Learn to love ourselves before we learn to hate ourselves.
Are you crazy?… You ask.
It may sound crazy, and I’m sure some will roll their eyes at it. That’s ok, because there are some that don’t have this issue…never have, and never will. Yet, to the ones who know what I’m talking about, it sounds so.gosh.darn.difficult. Sometimes, it is so difficult, that we choose to give up, because it seems easier. I’m telling you, my friend, right now it may seem easier to just hate on yourself and give in. But, day after day. month after month. year after year. it gets really. really. really. hard. Hard to do anything. I’m talking, it’s hard to form solid relationships, make legit decisions, be social, be happy. I’m only naming a few here.
So, if we can learn to love ourselves first, love is stronger than hate… make sense? The great Lord even tells that, ‘above all, the greatest of these is love’. So, with a strong armour of love, we can fight the battles against hate. And win. So, I hope to enstow that upon my girls. Encourage them to love themselves. Everything about themselves. Even their flaws. Because they deserve it. Everybody deserves love, from others and for themselves.
You see, you can’t give love, if you don’t love yourself.
It’s truth, that’s all, you just can’t do it.
With what I’ve learned from my past, and where I am today. With the goal of raising my daughters up in a positive light of themselves and others. I started a clothing brand. To change the way we see clothes, to change the way we see ourselves in the clothes, to take the stress out of sizes. For me, it was a struggle… the sizes. It was like beating myself up every time I got dressed, not matter what the size. Even if it was super small, I wanted it to be smaller, always. So I was always pushing towards a goal, I would never reach, because it always had to be smaller. So, my clothing has nothing to with numbers, smalls or larges. Because we are worth more than that, we are more than numbers or using words to define us. So, my clothing brand brought me here… Sharing my story, my flaws, my faults, my struggles… but also, and most importantly, finding my strengths, your strengths. Hoping to be a light to those who need it, a ray of sunshine through the storm. A smile, when you need one, or when can’t do it yourself. I’m not perfect, I don’t have all of the answers. But I have love to give, and you deserve that! If you can only take away one thing… don’t ever forget – that you can’t be happy always wanting to be something or someone else.
I am hear to empower women and girls to love themselves as they are, and teach them to realize they don’t need to change themselves to find happiness or self worth!
If you want to learn more about my clothing brand, and be the first to know about our launch, go visit Amp Clothing Co. at www.ampclothingco.com
About the Author
Ashley is a wife, girl mom, advocate for self love, and faithful believer in God. After suffering more than half of her life with an eating disorder and negative body image issues, she wanted to make a change in how women and girls see themselves. She created a clothing line and brand build on self love and positive body image. She is providing an answer to a desperate need in the fashion industry- changing the sizing system. She is building self worth from within, rather than from a size. When she isn’t busy sipping her favorite tea and creating, she loves spending quiet moments at home with her husband and daughters. Her perfect day is simply doing absolutely nothing, together… their love thrives on cuddles! Her happy place- cooking up something in the kitchen! She loves sunflowers, PopPilates, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, sautéing garlic, giving and receiving love, and the sounds of her little girly’s giggles!