Sunday, March 9, 2014

How posting What I Wore Each Sunday Healed Me

It's my one-year anniversary of posting What I Wore Sunday.  I think that's party worthy, don't you?
Ice cream all around (hey, it's Sunday...feasting time)!

There are 46 pictures here, so I've only missed a few weeks over the last year. 

And, here's today's picture. 

On my very first post. I wrote that it was an exercise in humility for me.  And, it was.  It still is. 

Many times I've wondered why I continue to post What I Wore Sunday.   I'm not a fashion blogger. And, I'm certainly not all that fashionable. You probably shouldn't get any fashion inspiration from me. 

A year ago, when I started posting WIWS, Elsa was not quite 6 months old.  I don't know about you, but it always takes me a long time to lose excess baby weight.  Longer than 6 months anyway.  I'm in the 8-months on, 12-months off club...except I gain very little in the first trimester so it's more like the 6-months on, 12-months off club. 

So, at only 6 months after giving birth, I wasn't in love with my body. In fact, prior to that point, I usually avoided being photographed.  I'd look at pictures of myself and cringe...just cringe.  I HATE baptism photos especially, because I certainly don't look good at only a few weeks postpartum.

So, I'm not really sure why I decided to start posting WIWS, but I know why I continued. 

Getting my picture taken week after week and posting it on the Internet changed me. 

It changed me profoundly. 

That sounds dramatic, but it's true. 

It helped me see myself in a more objective manner. 

It inspired me to put more effort into my appearance.  It inspired me to dress nicer, to find more flattering clothes, to wear more make-up and to put forth more effort. 

But, most of all, it helped me love and accept my body more.  To love and accept it the way it is, right now, not the way I want it to be, or the way it used to be, but the way it is. 

Whenever I would get down about my appearance, I'd always think at least I can still rock a WIWS post. 

Many years ago, when I was in college and graduate school, I struggled with disordered eating...maybe not quite a full blown eating disorder, but bad enough. I was skinny back then, too skinny for my body type really.  I went 18 months without any menstruation, because I was too thin...except I wasn't by most standards. I was still considered a normal, healthy weight for my height.  But for me, for my body, it was too thin, so thin that my reproductive system ceased to function.

This was over 15 years ago. I've been basically fine for the last 12 years. Except that tiny, tiny part of me that wasn't....that tiny part that still had those negative voices. The tiny, tiny part that still has vestiges of occasional disordered eating.  I was mostly healed, mostly fine...except the tiny part that wasn't. 

Until I started taking full body pictures of myself every week and posting them on the Internet.  And then, I finally healed.   Because somehow in the process of taking pictures of myself every week and posting them on the Internet for all 25 of my readers to see, I finally learned to love and accept my body as it is. 

 I finally was able to see myself as a beautiful woman.

I was finally able to heal.

It's not about the clothes...not really.  Although, I do appreciate the motivation to dress a bit nicer for Mass, especially when we lived in a place where shorts and flip flops were not uncommon Mass attire. 

It's about me...learning to love and accept myself...and I'm sharing my journey with all of you. 

So, this is my message to you.

No matter what you look like, no matter what you weigh, no matter how many wrinkles or gray hairs, stop hiding from the camera.  Stop cringing at photos. 

Take your picture...and share it with others.  Your friends and family want to see you, YOU.  They want to see you as you are, because that is who they love. Wear rocking clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  Exercise because it makes you strong and eat healthy because it makes you feel good.   And, stop hiding from the camera.  Because, you are beautiful.

(Linking up with FLAP). 

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  1. Bravo, Amelia! Ditto on the 12 month club, and hating baptism pictures! But you know what? I love looking at baptism pictures. For a long time we couldn't find pictures from my baptism (middle child) and that broke my heart. I don't care about my mom's baby weight two months after giving birth. To me, my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world and now that I am a mother I have such a profound respect for what her body went through 7 times(!!!) to have all of us. But!!! I still hate what I look like 2 months after giving birth. It's so sad, isn't it? Way to go sharing your struggles and your triumphs with us, Amelia. We all have a lot to learn.

  2. I love this Amelia! You look great, and I love your perspective here. (And I'm in the 12 month club too.)

  3. This has me all teary-eyed. I think it is so beautiful that you did this in spite of but feeling very beautiful or fashionable. And I'm so glad it healed you. I am definitely who hides behind the camera. I'd pretty rather take pictures of anything else than be photographed myself. But you're right, it's not healthy. Thank you for sharing yourself every week and for sharing these moving thoughts. And keep it up, because you ARE beautiful. :)

    1. I'm so sorry for the typos. I'm on my phone. Hopefully you got the gist.

  4. What an absolutely beautiful post!!!!! So glad you've found healing - and to think...through a blog link up! God works in mysterious ways!

  5. Amelia, I love this post. I am happy for you!
    Recently, I made a short list of ways that blogging has made me a more confident person. Joining the WIWS link-up was definitely on my list. :)

  6. Amelia, This is so awesome. I love your WIWS posts. I had no idea they were so important, but I've always liked them anyway. They just feel so natural. There's you, there's your kids, there's your house or your yard. They don't seem staged. We just get to know YOU. Thanks for sharing them!

  7. What a beautiful post and beautiful reflection!

  8. So lovely :) I'm glad this has had such a profound effect on you - what an amazing community to be a part of, right? I also love that it creates actual photo documentation of MOM as a person, because I know I'm usually the one behind the camera. I've come to really treasure the crazy set of pictures we get every week, and I love seeing how much the kids have grown through the pictures, too!

  9. Love this! And I am linking it for all my friends to read :).

  10. Your beautiful Amelia, on the inside and out!:)

  11. This. Is. Excellent. Thank you!

  12. Who knew a little link-up could mean so much? I'm so glad you found grace through WIWS. God uses so many ways to reach out to us, and sometimes one of those ways is through a camera and a style website. :)

  13. This is awesome!
    It's definitely inspiring me to get over myself when it comes to getting my picture taken - and to dress with purpose.
    Thank you!

  14. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  15. Wonderfu words. And based on the number od comments, you might even hav more than 25 readers! ! :P

  16. I'm really impressed. I think you may have just converted me to WIWS. I didn't really *get* it before. I thought about linking up, but I would always stop myself and wonder if anyone really wants to see me or what I'm wearing. But they effect is more inward for you, and I think I could see myself feeling the way you have this last year.

    Thank you for sharing. It was really wonderful to read your post.

  17. Amelia, I haven't been reading too many blogs lately (we've been on the road a lot, we've had two sons' weddings, etc.); but today I'm kind of "catching up," and your latest WIWS post led me here. This is a wonderful post! I stopped doing WIWS posts, for the most part, because I started to feel silly posing for the pictures. But after reading this, I think maybe we should all do them nevery week! I think perhaps they are good for many of us!

    I was just like you: it took me about 6 months to gain the baby weight, and about 12 or more to lose it. Everyone would say, "Oh you're nursing, it'll drop right off." Or "You'll lose it so quickly, running after all those little ones." Nope. And when I'd just had my third baby (in 2 and 1/2 years!), a Navy wife I knew saw me in a bathing suit at a get-together we had at someone's pool with our kids, and she said, "Doesn't your husband make you work out?" Talk about having a bad body image!

    We women all seem to suffer from this poor body image syndrome, to some degree anyway. And I love what you say here: that we need to love our bodies as they are, and to stop cringing at photos.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. They are inspiring.

  18. I found my way over to this one from your top 10 post (this was one of the ones I missed the first time around) This was really profound and significant for me personally. Thanks for sharing your beautiful and deeply personal thoughts on this. I appreciated it!

  19. I'm visiting your link in Christine's Ten Things of Thankful post. Wow. Your post is very inspirational. I have definite body image problems. I am going to be beginning a new personal journal to work on loving the way I look. I never thought of taking weekly pictures. But I might do that and add them to the journal. Thanks for sharing this.


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