If I Weren’t a Lady

That title may be misleading. What I mean by “If I weren’t
a lady” is that being a human can really limit my personal style. If I
weren’t a lady, I could be a farmers market or a logo, or a floral arrangement
in a shiny glass jar.

I’ve had a bit of trouble feeling like I could claim my own
personal style for… well, ever. As a kid, I wore over the top outfits, always
extremely feminine. Ruffles, bows, dots, stripes, matching hair bows, socks,
shiny shoes. I still am very drawn to that actually. (Funny note: I wrote that
description before I looked at this picture of little me. I have ALL of those
things in this one photo.)

(Funny note number two: I realized after saying I
was still drawn to that style that the shirt I’m wearing has dots, bows, and
ruffles. So… yeah.)

Then from about sixth grade to my senior year of high school, I got
super awkward and noticed my own body (didn’t we all.) I started trying less to
look like a girl and decided to only wear lazy-punkrock-kid clothes. Old
t-shirts, ill fitting jeans, and converse sneakers. Good luck finding a picture
of me from 1998-2004 wearing anything different. (Prom excluded) It was in those
few years that I started to really become uncomfortable with the way I looked.
I developed unhealthy relationships with people, food, and my emotions.

My college years were mostly made of hoodies and the same jeans
that didn’t fit well. Occasionally, pajama pants were thrown in there for a
little wardrobe variety. What seemed to be a girl who didn’t care much about clothes,
style, and fashion was actually a girl with severe self-image problems. At my
strongest point of self-hate, I would skip class – disgusted by the fact that
the public would see me “looking like this,” I would sob in dressing rooms, I destroyed
clothes out of anger because I had outgrown them, and I had a brief experimental
period with self-mutilation. I was spiraling out of control. I hated the way I
looked. Absolutely hated it. It was an all-consuming hate.

Thanks to Dave, a lot of prayer, and growing up, I have recovered from the pit of self-hate. I still have days where I don’t love my
body, but I’m actually ok with the way I look now. I’m comfortable in my own
skin. My body isn’t perfect, but my husband sure likes it. I don’t have a tan,
but I’m not going to wear jeans in August because I’m ashamed of that. I’m not
a size 4, but why should I need to be? Or even want to be?

I can wake up in the morning and be proud of myself and the way
I look. That’s kind of a big deal, no? I don’t need to only wear what will make
me look thinner. I don’t need to wear black because someone said it was
slimming. I can wear whatever I want to wear, because I like it.

So I’m done not really knowing how to dress myself. I saw the picture below and decided to base my personal style around it. How? Well, lots of ways, but that’s not what this post is about.

(from Once Wed and Armas Designs via That’s Happy)

Art is something that evokes an emotion, in my opinion. Good or
bad. When I first saw this picture I decided that it WAS me. I AM this picture.
Everything about me that I have just expressed to you, my friends, came out
because of the way I felt when I looked at this picture. It’s a brush cup, a
painting, and a bunch of flowers. And it’s the best art I’ve seen in a long
time. It made me realize how far I’ve come.


6 thoughts on “If I Weren’t a Lady

  1. I went through the same sort of phase, except it was jeans and t-shirts for me and NEVER shorts (I’m still self conscious about my legs, but it’s getting better!). I figured I wasn’t going to look good in anything, so why even try? Sigh. Then sometime in college I realized that I liked clothes and getting dressed up and spending more than 10 minutes getting ready. Even five years after graduating from college, I’m still trying to figure out my style, but it’s fun to try new things and care about them.
    Thanks for sharing with us! It’s always so nice to know “I’m not the only one who struggles with things like this!” Oh, and what a beautiful photo to inspire your style!

  2. If I would have seen that photo and those flowers…I would have said “Steff would love these”! So, you ARE those flowers!

  3. You are an AMAZING Lady!!! You are so inspiring. Everything from the stuff you wear, the little exciting treasures in your house, your sense of humor, your character. Everything! I love all of you!

  4. Steph, I can relate…high school was a dark, lonely time for me, too. I felt so out of place and wanted to run away and forget the world every day. I wanted you to know that my perception of you has always been good. In high school, you were the popular cheerleader who had friends in every circle yet you were laid back and seemed to manage your life effortlessly. I admired you that you were so popular but didn’t seem focused on it.

    Keep writing and sharing. You have a beautiful soul and the world needs to see it. 🙂

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