I'd met a guy at college and he was due to arrive from out of state to meet my family and I completely over-stressed about what I would wear when we reunited.
I remember trying on several garments but since I loved wearing dresses the most in these circumstances, a dress it was to be. Even then I believed a well-designed dress would flatter my figure and make me feel more confident.
He was due to arrive at four in the afternoon and my parents were near me as I waited impatiently by the front door.
Unfortunately, I had never been content with how my legs looked and I have no recollection of where I would have invented that thought except through personal insecurity. As I waited anxiously, I surveyed the silhouette of my curvy shadow in the light created by the afternoon sun in my parent’s hallway and I mumbled aloud, "I hate my calves."
"Why?" My dad asked as if surprised by my sudden confession.
"Because they're so fat. And my thighs are even worse." I said.
"You're not fat. You're shapely. It's a much more attractive quality." He said this with the type of inflection at the end of his sentence that I knew there was nothing else to discuss.
My eyes froze on the shapely shadow and without realizing it, my mindset shifted. My posture immediately improved and my shoulders relaxed. It felt as if my spine was being pulled straight as if it were attached to a string from the ceiling above me. I leveled my chin and all anxiety was relieved and my confidence soared.
He could have said:
What he did say:
Appreciate your body the way it was designed.
When we hear a sister, daughter, friend say "I'm fat." How can we respond? Be honest. Be healthful. Be supportive. Dad's honesty affirmed I was a healthy weight and his support was not only a comfort, but a paradigm shift.
It is of preeminent importance that we continue to support each other with positive affirmations. When we don't, it creates insecurities within the mindset that are difficult to regain. So how can we help a loved one gain the confidence needed to overcome private degradation and poor body image mindset?
Recognize Public Influence
One would think maturity would free me of the sophomoric insecurities. At over time, the influence of public figures surrounding me had a confidence wavering effect on my mindset, both good and ill. The ill challenged my confidence constantly but the good was stored away like data. Privately, I worked on a formula that would help an artistic introvert like myself more easily express herself. It was a long journey that tested my creativity. I struggled constantly to articulate my style within the restrictions of whichever season lived.
But when I recognized the effect these influences had good and ill, I was able to use that knowledge to better myself and my family. Society places a lot of pressure on women to "do it all" while "looking flawless." Don't let that wreck your confidence. Evaluate your health, examine your circumstances, and move forward with confidence that you are the best you can be or in the private stages of personal development.
Execute Private Development
Once we recognize the amount of pressure we receive from public influences, we can use that information to experiment and develop our own personal style. Don't be discouraged, this may take time.
Over the years, I admit to having my share of body insecurities and also witnessed my daughters struggle with similar insecurities. But with empowering memory of my Dad's statement, I utilized that mindset over and over to assure others that they're perfect the way they're designed. And the clothes they chose are just an outward expression of the inner beauty and creativity.
For myself, I had to shut out the overwhelming pressure from an upright social class with their pious list of standards was the only way to be recognized as acceptable within their company. Gaining control over that influential mindset became a literal wreck that nearly defeated me as a mother, wife and Christian.
Public and Private wReck
When your four-year-old daughter cries "I just want to be cool" while you try to convince her that wearing denim overalls and a long sleeve black turtleneck was not going to be seasonally appropriate in July. Or your teen daughter with tear filled eyes falls to the carpet at a local retail store from the pressure of a pious dress code assigned for a youth social activity.
With the correct mindset, my four year old changed her clothes after learning the necessity of dressing seasonally. She learned that being cool in front of the older neighborhood girls would depend on her being herself and being friendly. Those girls became life long friends that have more in common than their trends.
With the correct mindset, my teen boldly decided to construct her own dress code while still respecting the intent of the standards. She chose an appropriate, modest outfit that fit well and elevated her confidence enough to score that day (not only on the sports field) but in developing the kind of individuality needed to overcome obstacles and personal challenges.
But for some reason, the confidence had know in my youth could no longer suppress the shame I constantly bore for not meeting the public standards of my social community. It was a wreck! With my family confused, my career in limbo and my personal relationships in jeopardy, I finally gave myself the freedom to ask those closest to me to accept and support me to fully express myself.
With the fear of public judgement removed, my private individuality was able to naturally expressed itself and my public life became a successful wReck! All thanks to the simple, honest assessment from a significant support person.
Share the Confidence
When we hear a dear sister, daughter, friend say "I'm fat, ugly, worthless." How can we respond? Be honest. Be healthful. Be supportive. YOU can a positive influence on their mindset.
Finding a purpose can be motivating.
I love my family; they motivate me to be a better person.
I love my neighbors and friends; they motivate me to learn more about my community and help our neighborhood stay safe and beautiful.
I love my city; it's energizing activities and beautiful skyline remind me of the capabilities of men and women to develop, create and innovate.
I love the Lord; He constantly reminds me in his Word that I was created for a special purpose.
But sometimes the physical difficulties I face overwhelm all of these exceptional motivators. Finding a purpose within my work at Reckless Resale has been the motivating factor I need to keep working, exploring and loving without the insecurities that accompany poor health and business ownership.
When you see our brand name splashed across you soc media, remember it's all about the wReckage. Resale and Vintage clothing are not landfill fodder, the're not wrecked or ruined because of their age, apparent wear or possible damage. Most likely the wear has polished or softened the fabric and tarnished buckles and zippers giving them a antique and wise appearance. Resale and Vintage clothing have an important role in a circular economy that benefits everyone.
Similarly, I am not wrecked because of my age, my wear or damage. I am wRecked and wReckless and ready to keep moving in a world where being sedentary can be an easy escape from reality. But it can also become a life ending existence.
What motivates you? Leave me a comment or connect with me on Instagram or Twitter. Together, we can really make some wReckage!
Originally published on Story Behind the Cloth as part of their Valentine Self-love party, February 10, 2018.
We like labels. Colorfully embroidered, easy to read, descriptive, labels. Labels can identify manufacturer, origin, fiber content, and, care instructions.
Yet, even when a label is clearly printed with all FTC required elements, can it define the product's quality or value? A wise consumer will be more likely to purchase a product if familiar with a brand they recognize on the label. A valuable brand recognized for its quality.
We often label and define each other and ourselves by perceived identifiable terms:
But do these terms truly describe our environmental, social, intellectual, and sensual needs? Self-Love is providing adequate care to maintain the quality of our content.
Could you create a label that fully describes your content? Would you be able to list all your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs? You can imagine the lengthy list of instructions the label would require.
Our parentage (manufacturer) and place of birth (origin) may be out of our control, but the nurture we received at our origin has a strong influence on our mental and emotional needs.
Self-love gives us the knowledge and strength needed to value ourselves no matter our gender, nationality, occupation, status, or age. When we recognize ourselves as beautiful, intellectual, loving, artistic (fill in your own content here), we are empowering ourselves with what the Greeks called, Philautia.
Philautia is self-love in its healthiest form. It shares the philosophy of “self-compassion” which is the deep understanding that only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, will you be able to provide love to others. As Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”
You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to truly be happy is to find that unconditional love for yourself. This self-love naturally affords you with increased confidence, poise, and self-assurance.
Practicing self-love naturally assists you with defining your own personal style, labeled by YOU! Here are some simple steps to help you create a personal style that deserves your own label:
Honestly identify your needs.
Attentively identify the styles that make you look and feel amazing.
When my active, intuitive, and ambitious daughter was in the 4th grade, she entered a music contest. After working to prepare her for the competition, her teacher confessed to having trouble relating to her.
“Well, you know, your daughter is gregarious.” He said.
Despite being a word nerd, I hadn't heard that word used in this context (about a child).
“I’m sorry, what do you mean by that?” I asked.
“You know, she’s very outspoken and likes to be the center of attention.” He said.
As a young mother, I was not sure what to do with that. But I recognized it as his label, not mine, not her fathers, and certainly not hers.
“Well, perhaps she was graced with those qualities for a reason?” I responded.
We never used that word again, nor allowed her teacher to use it.
Many years later, that same girl would take me to visit the ancient British monument at Stonehenge and encourage me to love myself through a, particularly difficult time. She returned the self-love she was allowed to own as a child.
This article is dedicated to her and her loving husband on this, February 10, 2018, their 6th Wedding Anniversary. Without their love and dedication, I may have been lost after that visit to Stonehenge. But with her encouragement, I regained the ability to love myself again and found the confidence I needed to repair relationships, develop my own fashion business, and share my personal style with the world on my mission to wreck, less.
Now, it’s your turn. What's your label going to say?
Many thanks to Alissa Ackerman for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Alissa’s blog, Behind the Cloth, touched me deeply. She is around the same age as my daughters and her insight into why we make the retail choices we do, intrigued me. I started re-tweeting her insightful posts and one day she purchased from my resale store! I felt that an honor since she obviously takes careful consideration of her fashion choices. Thanks, Alissa!
Versatile blogger award?
Here’s a free fun fact about me outside the assigned seven: I love words. I love learning the etymology of a word, I love seeing how words have changed through generations and I love unique ways we use words. This is a challenge for me as I’m not necessarily an academic, so my dialogue should be casual and fun when I sometimes I get caught up on finding the perfect words to describe a product, activity, or service.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, versatile is defined as: “able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.” Being versatile is an important trait for bloggers to navigate a digital platform, create interesting content and be your own photographer. But the archaic definition of versatile is actually, “changeable; inconstant,” and THAT more closely describes my ability as a blogger. My life changes constantly with the demands of being a mother and wife. Our suburban life is often unstable and readily inconsistent.
So being nominated for this award is both an honor and a charge to keep my work versatile enough to meet the changeable circumstances thrown at us every day. Sharing these facts about myself as an author may help you better understand our "reckless" brand a little better.
I've always been a little Reckless! So here goes!
7 Facts about @gwenbielicki
Some are friends, some are online sellers I met at Poshfest, and some are more experienced bloggers that may choose not to participate, but they were an inspiration to me when I started blogging, so in salute, I nominate them today! I look forward to getting to know all of you better!
Thank you for the opportunity to grow together this coming year and may you find your own reckless spirit while exploring 7 things that make you, YOU!
Had a woman today tell me she believes she is too old to wear a graphic tee shirt (she could not have been more that a few years older than myself). Wearing my own Talbots graphic tee, I just looked at her. She probably doesn't realize that we are only as old as we think we are. Wear what you love and makes you look lovely.
It's times like these I'm reminded of my dear Grandmother Verville; she couldn't wait to turn 100, because she just knew someone would throw her a party. Really, girls, we're never too old to party or wear a graphic tee!
Speaking with a friend from high school recently, I told her I was now working as a stylist at a nationally recognized retail store. This store offers high quality fashions for women typically of a higher income. I admit, prior to working at this store, I had never shopped there, but had identified their clothing as being of very good quality per my explorations into the resale market.
She was excited for me and most keenly interested in the fact that as a benefit, the store offers me a generous discount to purchase their clothes. In perhaps what she thought was an encouraging reply, she stated: "Oh good, now you can start dressing like a grown up."
Slightly taken aback, but knowing this person well enough to remember that her filter is very broad, I glossed over the statement and continued to catch up on "Old times." But thinking about it later, I surmised why she would perceive that thought:
So, if you have to go to a retail store like mine to be dressed; who's the grown up now?
I love pairing vintage and reclaimed items from resale or consignment shops with new fashions. This vintage vest is the only item of clothing I've kept since high school.
Black Polka Dot Maxi Skirt (Talbots)
White Thermal Tee (Talbots)
Vintage Denim Vest (Lee Rider)
Multi Hearts Silver Necklace (Reclaimed Nordstrom)
Flat Black Sandals (Payless)
Author: Gwen Bielicki
curvy girl stylist, Posh Ambassador, aging gracelessly
Alternative apparel for curvy girls with edges.
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