Throughout my life, I have always struggled with showing off my body. As a child, I have never felt the need to put my body, and specifically my chest, on display. Oh gosh, showing off my chest has always been my biggest struggle. Before I stopped dancing, I had tiny, tiny boobs so I never had to worry about having anything out in the open because there was literally nothing to be out in the open. Once I quit my 30+ hours a week ballet training, everything filled out. My boobs, my hips, my thighs- I was 16 years old and finally had a mature looking body. I no longer looked like a 12 year-old girl… and the boys most definitely noticed. I began to receive attention for my body versus my personality, and it completely disgusted me.
I could not wrap my mind around the idea that. To a large amount of people, my body was more desired than my personality. It made absolutely no sense to me. The realization that I could receive attention from guys if I showed off my newly developed body but I would receive barely any attention for my personality was extremely bothersome. Instead of boosting my confidence, it shrunk my confidence. I began to view my personality as something to hide instead of something to celebrate. As a result, I started to cover up my body.
I got rid of everything that showed off my chest and anything that accentuated my butt. I literally hid my body to avoid receiving attention for it. It was not so much that I was self-conscience, more so that I wanted to receive attention for the right reasons. I wasn’t comfortable with the looks I received and the comments that were made.
Now that I am 18, my mother has been encouraging me to wear things that are outside of my comfort zone. For my 18th birthday, she bought me a Lilly crop top/skirt set. I tried the ensemble on as a joke, but I quickly fell in love with the way it fit my body. The outfit showed only a few inches of skin on my midriff and did not show off my chest. Though I have yet to wear this outfit in public, I enjoy the mature look it gives me.
There are somethings I feel are completely inappropriate for a high schooler to wear, like the dress I wore to Prime the other night. I am constantly reminding myself that I am an 18 year old college student and that there are certain outfits that are now appropriate for me to wear.
One of the best parts about Summer Experience was meeting people from all over the country. One of my closest friends from my past month at HPU just so happens to be from Seattle, completely confident with showing off her body (in a classy manor), and has a totally different outlook on life. She is all for being free, wearing Birkenstocks, and just going with the flow. If something is not perfect, she does not strive to change it- she just lets it be. It is a mindset that I admire and have oh so eagerly attempted to embrace.
When we were trying to plan out our outfits for Prime last Tuesday, we mutually agreed to test out each other’s outfits. I dressed her in one of my favorite Lilly dresses with my Jack Roger wedges- an outfit that embodies the classic, southern style and is something that is completely outside of her comfort zone.
She dressed me in a stunning olive green dress that showed off my chest… and I could not wear a bra with it. Three things that I never do: wear earth tones, show off my chest, and go bra-less. I literally only buy things I can wear a normal bra with.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone by wearing my friend’s dress has taught me a lot about myself. For starters, it has shown me that I do indeed look rockin’ in earth tones, that you can still have a classic look while showing off a little skin, and that sometimes it is good to try something outside of your comfort zone.
Life can be better outside your comfort zone. Allow yourself to take a risk- it may pay off.