Writer: Marcy Cruz |The past has a way of sneaking up on you and showing you how far you’ve come. I recently cleaned out my closet and came across tons of shrugs that I have not worn for a very long time. And it took me back to a time where I was in a bad place when it came to loving myself.
For years, I hid my upper arms. I was that girl who owned shrugs in every color imaginable. I would never wear sleeveless dresses or tank tops alone. In my mind, I did not want to show my arms because I thought they were so big and ugly. I truly hated my upper arms. So I covered them every chance I got.
Fast forward to now… 2017. I now affectionately call my arms, my “wings”. And I haven’t worn a shrug in over three years. You might be wondering what happened to cause such a 180 degree turn in my feelings towards my arms.
I simply accepted my arms as they are.
It was easier said than done. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is self-confidence and love.
When you choose to accept all of you and love yourself unconditionally, that’s a major commitment you’re making, because that love doesn’t happen overnight. You have to work at it daily and commit to nurturing that love for yourself. You have to change your mindset from self-loathing to self-appreciation.
My arms have traveled the world with me, carrying my luggage and shopping bags as I trekked from country to country. My arms have made it possible for me to hug my nieces so tight and hold my bonus grandson as he looks at me with a smile. My arms have allowed me to be able to help care for my mom when she needs me. My arms have also allowed me to feel love from a significant other by being wrapped up in his arms.
My arms have done so much for my life so why would I hate them simply because they don’t fit a beauty ideal or what “thin” looks like? My arms are my arms. To fully love yourself, you have to love all of you and not just parts of you.
Don’t get me wrong. There will always be parts of me that I’m sure I’ll have an issue with. However, when you love yourself unconditionally, it makes it easier to accept those flaws. Instead of loathing them, you see the beauty in them because they are a part of you. Acceptance is letting go of the self-hate and recognizing that while you are not perfect, you are still beautiful. If you don’t believe in your own beauty, no one else will.
Now my wings take me places I never thought I would go. I have worn strapless styles, spaghetti strap styles, even swimsuits. I walk with my head up high and smile all the time. I dress my body, including my wings, lovingly and without fear or worry.
I feel more confident overall once I let go of those negative feelings towards myself and made that commitment to love myself unconditionally. What started out as a journey to love my wings became a journey where I have learned to love myself from head to toe and see my self-worth.
This journey has allowed me to take baby steps in other areas such as showing my legs off, showing my visible belly outline and just wearing what makes me happy. Once I committed to this journey, my style evolved and fashion became fun. Life became more colorful and adventurous. I have worn things I never thought I would. And the world did not come to an end.
When you love yourself, you suddenly realize you can do anything you set your mind to because you will never let anything, including your weight/size, stop you from living fully. You simply feel free.
My wings have me soaring in my life. Life is far from perfect but bad days do not equal a bad life. My focus has shifted from worry and hate of my body parts to hope and love for my life.
And I will never wear another shrug again. Those shrugs I found in my closet went into a bag that I donated to my local church, along with the old me that didn’t love herself. Sometimes a reminder is just what we need to stay on our journey.