"YOU AREN'T PLUS SIZE ENOUGH"
“What happens when you finally lose all the baby weight, what will you call yourself then?”
“What size are you REALLY, though?”
“Are you calling yourself plus size just because you’re pregnant?”
“What size were you before you got pregnant?”
These are just a few examples of questions I get ALL of the time. From real life friends and family, to people I don’t know on the internet.
Sure, by putting myself out there as a blogger last year I knew I’d be in a very vulnerable position. And I knew I’d have to have some thick skin going in to this.
And sure, some of these questions are fair.
But first things first, I just have to say. I am SO TIRED of the term PLUS SIZE. I labeled myself that way on Instagram in order to hopefully reach women who can relate to me, and, well duh - I AM plus sized. But I have to tell you that honestly the word itself pisses me off.
It always has.
First of all, it has this negative stigma that goes along with it.
“Oh… you have to shop in the PLUS SIZE section?”
“OMG ASHLEY! You are SO NOT plus size!”
These are sorts of things I’ve heard and have always stopped me from shopping with girlfriends who don’t have the same body type as me.
Because you know what? FOR ME and everyone else who’s size they don’t carry in the store, your comments are currently making us feel like SH%$. Which is wrong. But can we really blame you? Probably not. This is the world we’ve grown up in.
Which brings me to my next point…
The “segregation” between plus and regular sizes in stores. On one hand, I understand why it’s done that way. It makes it simpler to go straight to the department where you know your size can be located.
But it seriously creates this barrier between what NORMAL women wear and should wear, and what THE OTHER WOMEN can wear, because these are the things that will fit them.
That is probably a topic for another day, but for now…
On to what sparked this post to begin with:
I was recently asked about my business as a blogger, and how I marketed myself. I explained that I started my blog because I was tired of not seeing anyone like me. I went on further to say, that I cover plus size style, curvy style, and all style really… as well as other lifestyle topics that I feel are important to the empowerment of women.
And then, there it came. I’ve gotten this question before, and so you’d think I’d be great at answering it but I still find myself frustrated when trying to answer.
“But what happens when you finally lose all of this baby weight after two babies? By looking at you, I can tell that you probably haven’t always been this size. How will you market yourself then?”
Instead of getting offended, I smiled and tried to explain what most of you who follow me hopefully have gathered.
This is not all about WHAT SIZE I AM. There is SO MUCH MORE to what is in my heart and what I share.
If numbers are really important to you, in my lifetime (non-pregnant) I have been as SMALL AS A 10/12, and as BIG AS A 20.
I have experienced several BOUTS OF DEPRESSION, at all size ranges. I’ve been UNHAPPY at every size.
I spent the majority of my life feeling like sh%$ about what size I was. So in order to try and fit in to the standard and be able to shop with my friends, I’d all sorts of things to be able to fit into a size 10-12.
It wasn’t until after I had my first baby that I truly started to understand:
SIZE DOES NOT MATTER. SIZE DOESN’T MAKE ME HAPPY, OR SUCCESSFUL, OR CONFIDENT.
I’d look back at my wedding photos, missing those slender arms and tiny waist and then suddenly remember how MISERABLE I was with myself. I could barely bring myself to walk outside on my honeymoon in a swimsuit.
If I could go back in time, I’d appreciate the body I had back then - but to be honest with you, I didn’t love the person I was. I was basically starving myself and on a strict workout routine that became obsessive. It ruled me.
This wasn’t the first time I had gotten extremely “small” - which, in my body frame, is a 10/12. I did the same thing in college. And again right before I got pregnant with Emaline.
Every single time I decided to do a “lifestyle” change I did it for the wrong reasons. I did it because I hated that person I saw in the mirror.
Sure… it was confidence building. It was great to look in the mirror and see the body I dreamt of having.
Or…. maybe this is what I thought would happen when I would hit my goals.
But really, every time I looked in the mirror I was still self conscious. I still hated my arms. I still thought I had massive love handles. I couldn’t fathom the fact that I had decided to wear a tight denim mini skirt and a tank top in public, so I’d be uncomfortable all day long. I was so incredibly self conscious.
Last year in the Fall, I came to the harsh realization that I was having major anxiety attacks, depression, and stress and I needed to do something about it. I had zero self care habits. That is when I decided to start working out with Barry’s and it honestly changed my life. I’m not sure how much weight I lost, but by proving to myself that I could do REALLY HARD THINGS like wake up at 5am and do Barry’s 4x a week… THAT is what was life-changing.
Feeling better, mentally and physically, was my goal. And that is the ultimate form of self love, in my opinion — to take care of yourself. It was then that I truly realized that self love, confidence, all of that… starts on the inside.
So to answer your question:
This was never supposed to be about size. When I started my blog, I was a 14/16 depending on the brand. I found that everyone I followed was EITHER a size 4 or under or a size 20 and above. Although I love everyone I follow, this sometimes made it hard for me to relate, especially when it came to fashion.
I just want to wear cute clothes - duh ;), BE CONFIDENT, and love myself. Whether that means I’m a size 14 at the time or an 18, it really doesn’t matter.
What matters to me is that I’m able to connect with the community of women who are following along and who may be going through the same things I’m going through. At the end of the day, if I can keep it real and reach someone in a positive light, then my job is done.
I always try to share the actual size of clothing I’m wearing, because I feel like transparency is important.
I also work REALLY hard to include all sizes when possible, because my passion is inspiring women of EVERY SHAPE.
Size inclusive brands are my JAM, obviously, and they are seriously helping to BRIDGE THIS GAP between plus sizes and regular sizes in the fashion industry.
Check out this kimono that from Sanctuary that I LOVE. It goes with a lot of things and it’s currently on sale in both PLUS and REGULAR. Make sure you use your special House of Dorough VIP discount code at checkout for 20% off Sanctuary’s website (CODE: ASHLEY20)!
SHOP THIS LOOK:
Click photos below that will take you straight to shopping links!