on body image.

I was never a clothes shopper. It’s true – ask anyone who knows me.

(I was never a shopper, period, but I did buy books. A backbreaking amount of books, as I learned after moving them all to our new house. #noragrets)

Growing up, I usually just wore whatever my mom got me for Christmas or my birthday. I didn’t have many new clothes, and I couldn’t care less.

In this inability to care less, my appearance suffered. My go-to outfit in my teen years was a t-shirt and jeans, with a skirt if we were going to church. Before our Skirts Phase, that is. Aka The Dark Days. Then, it was t-shirts and skirts. Denim skirts.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to look put-together – I did. It also wasn’t that I didn’t have many clothes to wear – I did. It was just that… I didn’t care.

For a long time, I was uncomfortable in my skin. For most of my teen years, I had an undiagnosed medical issue that caused weight gain. I didn’t know why I didn’t look good in certain things anymore, and, more than anything else, I wanted to cover up. Plus, it’s not like I had anyone to impress. (Moving two states away right when I was supposed to start liking guys made sure of that.)

It was only recently that I started buying clothes that I wanted to wear, with money that I’d earned.

Looking back, the only discernible thing that had changed was my outlook. I stopped viewing my body as an enemy or something that I shouldn’t put too much pride in. God gave me this body, dang it, and I should be happy with it – proud of it, even!

I didn’t start losing weight until I realized this, and accepted my body for what it was – mine.

If you’re struggling with what you look like, please know that it’s okay. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there, sometimes.

Today, I was there. I needed clothes for a temp job next month, and I felt all the lies I’d believed about myself come screaming back as I looked at myself in the mirror. But I didn’t let the thoughts take root. Instead, I just left. In another store, I put on a cute outfit and danced to Katy Perry and Ben Rector in the changing room. Needless to say, the thoughts were gone. (Totally because I knew I looked super cute.)

It’s okay to hate your body sometimes. Just please… don’t stay there.

It’s okay to love your body. It’s okay to put clothes on it that are inspired by a style that is uniquely yours. It’s okay to be proud of it. It’s okay to love it. And if you don’t, you’ll get there someday.

I’ve heard that the way to get over a crush is to focus on one of their flaws, until you can’t see why you liked them in the first place. Today, I challenge you to do the opposite. I challenge you to find something about your body that you love. Maybe it’s your nose or your legs or your elbows. It can be big or small – just something that either you love or something that others have complimented. Tomorrow or next week or next month, find something else. Keep doing this until your list reaches from the top of your pretty head to the bottom of your adorable heels (yeah, the same heels that are encircled in yucky dead skin sometimes). Whenever you look in the mirror, repeat these things over and over again. Soon, your perspective will change. If not, keep working at it. And hopefully, you’ll soon realize that you’re a beautiful, unforgettable, unique person made in God’s image, for His glory, because He delights in you.

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22 thoughts on “on body image.

  1. Super late to the party here but I just wanted to comment and say I’m so GLAD you’ve been able to view yourself positively ☺️☺️ I definitely have and still do struggle with body image (didn’t help that I had to go to school in long skirts and polo tops that invariably attracted unwanted questions and attention 😢) and it’s something that most women unfortunately struggle with. (Starting to be more of an issue amongst men these days too).

    Anyway, for everyone reading this, I want to say as a trained professional in the area of dieting, #1 don’t do it without going to a professional first for advice just as you don’t go taking meds without professional advice. #2 you can be healthy and beautiful at any size. The voice in your head is lying – call it out on that and refuse to believe it. Buy clothes that fit well even if they’re not the size you used to get and embrace the gorgeous person you ARE. Eat a wide variety of food across different food groups, get outside for fun and exercise but NOT to change your body – but because it makes you feel good and helps the INTERNAL body.

    Sorry for the rant Ashley but learning the above has made such a powerful and positive impact in my life so I really wanted to share!

  2. Haha….I remember those dark days of ankle length skirts too….
    First off: I love everything you post. I kinda thought I was alone with what I thought and I believed until I found your blog. You’re such a wonderful, beautiful, inspirational person ❤
    next: I am a firm believer in that there is nothing wrong with dressing unfashionably. There are a few dos and don'ts that I stick by (black tøp shirt and black shorts is too emo; no plaid on plaid; guys in skinny jeans–eew no; etc.) but other than that fashion is relative. Different people have different standards and comfort zones. What matters is loving yourself even if you express that by not wearing makeup or even wearing denim skirts 🙂

    • Aww thank you! I actually re-read your initial email about my book this morning so I’m glad you found me bc you blessed me w your sweet words about it! ❤️

      A. MEN. Completely agree. (Black tøp shirt w jeans or white shorts is totally okay, though 😉) And yes!!! I realized after I posted this that it’s not even really about the clothes you put on – it’s about loving your body, skirts or no skirts, makeup or no makeup, skinny short-shorts or below-the-knee shorts. Loving yourself comes first, and everything flows out of that. ☺️

  3. Thank you for this, Ashley ❤ ❤ ❤

    I've struggled with this a lot over the years–that feeling that it's somehow WRONG to be proud of my body and of the way I look? Trying hard to get over it, though . . . and I think this will help a lot 🙂

    • You are so welcome! ❤️

      It’s totally okay – like I said, we’ve all been there! It took me sooooo long to realize this. You’ll get there! ☺️

  4. As others have said – I love this post! I am better some days than others at loving my body. I believe in radical self-acceptance for everyone but sometimes my brain doesn’t quite get that I am a part of “everyone.”

  5. This is such an uplifting post, Ashley! 🙂

    We never *really* went through the denim skirt phase, but I remember once the whole family was really busy and in five different directions at once and then we all met up in the grocery store and somehow all the girls were in denim skirts and the guys in jeans and polos and we all looked at each other in horror because STEREOTYPICAL HOMESCHOOLER GARB.

    (Also- you asked to follow my new blog a little while back- I’m actually not finished designing it yet! When I’m done I’m going to make it public. So I’m not ignoring you, I promise! 🙂 )

    • Thanks so much! So glad it blessed you! ☺️

      LOL. Oh no!!! I’m sure that was such a shock. 😂

      (Okay! Totally fine! Can’t wait to see it!!!)

  6. I LOOOOOVE this post, Ashley!

    And DUDE, I’ve TOTALLY been through the Dark Days! That was me through all of middle school. 😉 My current phase is t-shirts and jeans (and my goal this summer is to find some better, half-decent clothes 😛 ). Still not nearly as bad as my freshman year of high school: t-shirts… AND BASKETBALL SHORTS. *horrified scream*

    Your outfits in this post are super cute, BTW! ❤

    ~Liv
    livkfisher.blogspot.com

    • Thank you!!!

      Ugh goodness. Well, I still wear t-shirts & jeans sometimes, but I’m gradually picking more adulty clothes. Eww! XD

      Aww thanks! I bought both of them. (And LOL I say adulty but I got the striped shirt from the girls section! 😂)

  7. We went through a Dark Days Denim Skirt phase too. I’ve always had trouble finding stuff that fit because I’m built stockier, but I’ve definitely grown sooo much more confident in my self image in the past two years!

  8. So true! I’ve struggled with my weight/self-immolation for a few years now (right around the time I turn 15, I think). I used to hate going shopping because I couldn’t find anything I liked and would fit. Also, it doesn’t help that I’m basically 5′ even, so everything is also too long XD
    It has taken some deep soul searching, prayer, and long coffee talks with my mom and friends 😉 to reach the point where I am finally comfortable with my body. (It doesn’t hurt that I’m more aware of what/how much I eat and am losing weight!)

      • Ha! Reading back over my comment, I think I meant ‘self-image’ instead of whatever word that is up there 😂
        P. S. Having a job that requires you to wear actual “business wear” is a great excuse to go shopping for cute clothes.

        • Lol!

          P.S. Yes! Definitely my excuse. Plus, I didn’t buy anything that I wouldn’t wear outside of that week that I’ll be working, so it’s great!

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