By Jena Melhberg
Last year was my year of self love and acceptance and learning not to gauge my happiness and confidence based on whatever man was a part of my life. A huge part of that adventure believe it or not was Instagram. Being 29, Facebook was always a huge part of my life and most of my experiences with social media. Everyone told me to get Instagram, but I just didn’t get it and didn’t really see the point, after all I was perfectly content in Facebook world. I created my Instagram on a dare and barely used it for almost a year. Once I started going to more social events and making a point of getting out into the community more and meeting more positive influences on my life, Instagram kept coming up over and over and I figured I would really give it a shot.
At first, I was really lost on who to follow but I knew I loved fashion, the beauty industry and traveling so that along with my suggested friends from Facebook seemed like a great start. Following brands like @fashionova, @fashionnovacurve, @shein and @boohoo started really exposing me to the world of plus size modeling. To say I was obsessed is an understatement. Here I am following these beautiful women who look like me and have cellulite and stretch marks and back fat and they have hundreds and thousands even millions of followers and people commenting how beautiful they are and I really just couldn’t believe it. These women looked like me and were so confident and wore clothing I honestly wouldn’t even dare to try on.
This was really the beginning of me feeling so confident and really thinking if they can wear these things I have always wanted to wear, and thousands of people love it and brands feature them then I can do it too.
The real turning point for me and the purpose of this article is this cut out one piece @jessicasimpsonstyle bathing suit that I was absolutely obsessed with the second I saw it in the store. I tried it on and was so sad, the mid part didn’t come up enough and you could see some of my stretch marks and my stomach pocked out a little. Add that with my back fat fully out on display to the whole world and it was quickly a no. I remember how sad I was putting it back onto the rack. Fast forward to a month later, I go back to the store and it’s still there and now its 50% off! I just figured ok let me try it on again, I have been working out a little so surely it will fit better this time. I rushed to the fitting room and sure enough it fit exactly the same. I thought well maybe I will just buy it and keep it and loose weight and then it will be ok! Like so many other things I have bought in the past knowing damn well that I’m not going to lose the weight and I’m not going to wear it. I made the decision previously to stop doing that so again with sadness put it back on the rack.
We’re almost done and this story has a happy ending I swear lol So fast forward another couple months i’m back @dillards (can you tell I like dillards lol) going shopping for me and my mom to buy us clothes for her surprise Christmas present A TRIP TO PUERTO RICO!!! I go to the bathing suits thinking maybe I can find a nice one for her and sure enough the nothing suit is still there!!! Its been discounted even more and now its only about $20. I grabbed it again and went to try it on knowing this time there wouldn’t be anything different and not really knowing why I am wasting my time. But I was surprised when this time there was something different. I was! All I could envision is all the beautiful ladies I follow and how amazing they look even with the cellulite and back fat and rolls and how if I could look at them and see such beauty then I could definitely look at myself the same way too!
This time I bought the bathing suit guys! I wore it to Puerto Rico, walked around #elyunque all day and even climbed up the side of a water fall to get these shots and I felt beautiful and confident and that my fiends is the important of representation.
I would like to thank some of the beautiful ladies I follow and express to them how much they mean to me and how much they have been my confidence catalysts.
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