When we truly believe we are worthy, it means we accept and love ourselves unconditionally. It means we approve of and appreciate who we authentically are, even when that goes against what society tells us. Self-worth is knowing who you are, inside and out, “good” and “bad”, light and dark. Believing in your worthiness to take up space in the world is taking your story, personality, fears, values, dreams, and owning them. Proudly.
I believe that starting with clothing is an easy way to get into our self-worth. To build a wardrobe you truly love, you have to do a deep personal inventory. You have to think about what your values are, what your day-to-day life is like, how you currently feel, and how you want to feel. Things like colours, shapes, and fabrics all help us figure out what we aesthetically like in life – and it might be different than what we were told to like.
As a curvy woman, I was told to avoid wearing anything wide legged, cropped or shapeless. When I was working retail, I was always pushed to try wearing loud colours rather than the peaceful, minimalistic palette I craved. And for a while, I listened to those voices. I denied, or didn’t even know, what I truly liked. I didn’t take the time to get to know myself, and I definitely didn’t love myself enough to try. Instead, I let the world convince me that my body wasn’t worthy of being seen as beautiful, or that preferring quiet things was not an acceptable way to be. When this happens with something as small as clothing it often means it carries over into bigger areas as well, like career choices, relationships or life changing decisions.
When I started working with my closet, I started getting to know myself. I realized that I hid who I was deep down because I didn’t feel like I was worthy of being known. That who I truly am didn’t bring any value to the world, because I was told the things that make me unique don’t fit in. I am deeply introverted, quiet, awkward, and more comfortable in nature or with a book than I am with people. I prefer writing to speaking. I am deeply empathic and sensitive, and I deal with chronic health issues. But these things that I’ve been told make me strange, weak, or “too much” are actually my strengths.
My quietness and love of books lends itself to research, learning and writing – a way to share my strengths with the world while still honouring my introversion. The fact that I’ve survived a nervous breakdown, deal with both anxiety and depression, and suffer from debilitating chronic pain, I am still living. I’m strong as hell. I’m a great listener, and I can relate to things most other people can’t. I see things differently than others and can come up with solutions to problems that they would probably never think of. My health issues mean I fight against and speak out about a lot of things most people are afraid to. My vulnerability is actually honesty and authenticity. It’s how I help people not feel so alone. All of these things make me who I am, and that is worth sharing. I wouldn’t have realized any of that if I hadn’t started looking at what I was wearing and why.
Now, I only wear things that my body and soul feel good in. My wardrobe is full of things I truly love – muted, neutral, quiet colours in natural fabrics and oversized shapes. I wear cropped pants almost daily, and I’m a huge fan of an oversized silk shirt tied at my waist. I also wear almost everything oversized, not because I want to hide, but because it’s what feels most like “me”. I very rarely wear a bra despite being a DD because I don’t usually find them very comfortable. I listen to what my heart wants and disregard all the other “shoulds” and trends. I am enough, exactly as I am, and I don’t need to change to be worthy of being seen.
The world needs people who aren’t like everyone else. It needs us to be who we authentically are because we each bring a unique magic to the world that no one else has. It can start out with something as simple as figuring out what you want to wear, and it can change the world.
Photographed by Isaac Peters Photography