2 min read

I wish I'd said it to myself before

I looked in the mirror, and my eyes lit up: Yes, this is it. Bloody gorgeous.

Olive green structured shorts? Brilliant. An oversized linen shirt? Amazing. The clothes I'd ordered a few days ago, ahead of our Sri Lanka trip, fit me perfectly. I loved how I looked, and clothes simply highlighted it.

(You might be thinking, Mariia, why would you write about it? Let me tell you: What I've just described is a novel experience for me.)

I never considered myself to be gorgeous (as in, "meeting conventional beauty standards" gorgeous).

For starters, I've never been thin: Flipping fashion magazine as a child, all I'd seen were XS models with out-of-the-world clothes that bore a question – was this garment beautiful on its own or because it worked on a thin model?

This "thinness" has become a high bar, a standard to reach in our society since 90s. As a "chunky" (or "chubby", or plainly fat – I speak facts here) girl, it turned my channel for self-expression – clothes and how I look – into a contest to determine my own worth.

This was no fun. To look at size labels with pain. To seek for clothes you love but never find your size. To experience despair and anger when shopping and settling down for something that doesn't fit you. To feel pressure – just for the way you look.

This is still no fun for girls everywhere.

I'm not writing this to complain but to highlight the experience of "fitting in" – be it clothes, or a society that boxes us in and imposes requirements to meet. (My box has always been evidently too small.)

Because there's nothing wrong with what you've been dealt: This is your context that you can play with, to mold into whatever shape you want and need.

For me, the experience of shopping changed drastically the moment size labels turned from judgement to a function: I'm fat, I naturally need bigger clothes to feel comfortable, and colours and patterns I like to feel joyful. Because when I feel comfortable and joyful, I feel confident. When I feel confident, I dazzle. When I dazzle, the world is my oyster.

This experience is not reserved for special days or trips, or even shopping only.

It's for every day, here and now, to work with yourself instead of against yourself. To feel bloody gorgeous, and let this feeling carry you into everything you do.

(Funnily enough, I'm writing this while in bed. For a whole day, I've felt tired but pushed myself to work and write. Nothing good came out of it. The moment I allowed myself to nap, things changed.)