By Mary Young, CEO and Designer of MARY YOUNG
I don’t know when the transition happened from being a girl to a woman, but I remember visually seeing it before I felt it. I’ve always been tiny, or petite as most say, with the exception of my hips. My mom says at the ripe age of 3 I already had hips and a round bum, which at 25 I’ve now grown to love. Key word, grown.
As a kid, having hips didn’t cross my mind as a thing. I was just a kid, I ran, played and had fun. Then the teen years crept in, when I started to look at myself in the mirror and wonder if everyone else looks like this too. My tall friends had thinner legs, less of a bum and clothes fit smoothly across their shape. I always struggled finding pants to fit my body, my short legs that were thick didn’t easily slide into denim. Despite questioning my body shape and how ‘normal’ I was in comparison to others, I thankfully never dieted or struggled with my weight as a teenager.
When I moved out on my own to Toronto things definitely changed. I started studying Fashion and was overloaded with images of models and body shapes, trying to better understand how clothes fit a shape. This is when I really began to struggle with my shape. Always categorized as petite I struggled to feel that way. I personally believe we all struggle with body dysmorphia to an extent. I think of myself as 5’6” when in reality I’m 5’2” and I personally wouldn’t say I’m tiny. This is when I began to wear oversized clothes not because I felt confident in them but because I never felt confident in anything, so hiding my body felt better.
This went on for a good two years. I wasn’t able to go to the gym because of a previous concussion and I never had the self-control to diet – which I’m beyond thankful for. Instead I turned to looking at my mind as a part of the issue, not my body. My mind was being filled with images of tall, thin women who wore clothes that hung on their frame. I never saw myself in any of the images I was studying or in any store I shopped. I realized that didn’t mean I was the problem but rather the industry was lying to me by saying I was the problem.
Upon realizing this I felt empowered but still at a loss for what to do. How do I quickly change my mental perception of my body that I’ve lived in my whole life? Well, fact is, that’s impossible. It took time and conscious thinking to change the distaste I felt for my body into love for my body. I first started with looking in the mirror once a day and complimenting myself. At first it started with, I like my freckles, and it eventually ended up with, I love my hips. That was definitely not an easy start but over time it became second nature and I truly did love what I saw. To further appreciate my body I stopped getting dressed first thing in the morning. My normal routine was to put on clothes for the day, do my hair and make-up, have breakfast and then head out. I switched it up by doing my hair and make-up while only wearing a bra and underwear. The first week was very challenging, I felt uncomfortable seeing myself nearly naked for so long and often scrutinized what I saw. As time went on I began to give myself more compliments every morning and from that I loved being half naked. I loved what I saw in the mirror and in turn felt so much love for my body.
My hips no longer were wide and heavy but rather added curves and definition to my outfits. My thighs were no longer thick but were strong thighs that carried me throughout my busy days.
Changing the way you look at anything doesn’t happen over night, especially changing the way you see yourself. Learning to love yourself takes dedication and conscious thinking. Every moment of effort leads to the day you look in the mirror and feel love for every inch of your skin is worth it, trust me.
*Flaws are things society and the industry has taught us to believe are wrong or unattractive