I was really inspired by Ella's post yesterday, I think it is very brave of her to be so candid about her experiences and believe they will help others in similar circumstances. Although my experiences and perspective are very different, I decided to follow in Ella's footsteps and share my story - maybe it will help someone too. Also, since it is exactly two years since I bought my first PUG dress, I thought it was worth commemorating the occasion. :)
I've always been big - growing up I was always bigger than all my friends, bigger than the other female members of my family. Except for three periods in my life - one when I had whooping cough at 12, the other two when I went on Weight Watchers - I've been what you could call plus sized. And I hated it for most of my life - all through my teens and twenties. I hated what looked back at me in the mirror, I thought constant streams of negativity about myself and was never, ever good enough. I was obsessed with losing weight and being smaller and thus 'better'. But even when I lost weight - I got quite small both times - it was never enough. And I gained it back both times, which was cause for me to heap even more abuse on myself. Even after finding a good looking and lovely man who loved me and told me all the time that I was beautiful, it wasn't enough for me to feel better about myself.
In 2009, my husband and I moved to New Zealand and I had a bit of an epiphany. I was in my early 30s and I was sick to death of feeling bad about myself. I was sick of all the negativity I brought on myself, I was sick of constantly feeling guilty about eating or doing the wrong things and obsessing about my weight. I realised that I did not want to look back on my life in my 80s and regret wasting so much time on something so stupid and arbitrary, when there was so much awesome in my life. I figured I should start feeling more thankful for that, and not lament what I didn't have or wasn't.
Around this time, I stumbled upon a couple of body positivity blogs, and they really opened up my eyes and made me think. Here were women who weren't society's stereotypical ideal and they were happy! Here were people who loved themselves just as they were and didn't beat themselves up by trying to be something else. It was amazing to me. It was such a novel approach to life, at least it seemed so to me, and I eagerly read all I could about it. Being happy with yourself, as you are. Who would have thought.
I began to work on not allowing myself to think or say negative things about myself. I stopped comparing myself to others and tried to just appreciate others for their own unique beauty, without envy or feelings of inadequacy. I endeavoured to like myself and be good to myself, for what felt like the first time ever. And I started to look into finding clothes that fit me well and made me feel fabulous.
I had always loved the retro look, but assumed that none of it would fit me. I can't remember how I first came across PUG, but I do remember it was in August 2010 and I was amazed by their range of sizes and the fact that their clothes actually would fit me. I decided to try one of their dresses, just to see how it would look on me. I spent about a week going through the site, making decisions and then changing my mind, before finally settling on the Heidi in black cherry print. When it arrived, I couldn't believe how well it fit - I had never owned an article of clothing that fit so well, like it was made for me. And that was that. I placed another order the following month and have been ordering every month or two since. In the last two years, I have built an impressive PUG wardrobe and very rarely does a day go by that I don't wear something I bought at PUG.
As beautiful as the clothing and accessories are, the thing I value most about my PUG wardrobe is how it makes me feel. I wear these beautiful dresses and separates and feel amazing. And I know I look amazing too. I have confidence that I never imagined I would have. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I am just so happy. I might have started on the body positivity journey by myself, but I have certainly only gotten as far as I have because of PUG. And I have no plans to stop anytime soon, have you seen some of the designs they have coming up??
As a final note, I would also like to mention the wonderful PUG community, first (and still) on Facebook and now here on Pinup Girl Style. I have met so many fantastic people because of PUG, some just online and some in person (like the lovely, lovely Ella!). All of the support that these wonderful ladies from all over the world give to each other is nothing short of amazing, and this support has definitely also been an important part of my body acceptance. So thank all of you so very much for that. <3