I never remember a moment where I loved my body. I felt uncomfortable in clothes, uncomfortable in front of mirrors, and miserable in a dressing room. I never felt enough. I blamed every single painful experience and emotion on the fact that my body was disgusting. I abused my body in so many different ways. When I was in my first years of college I gained a large amount of weight. This only compounded my self-hate. I was terrified of walking into a store because I knew nothing would fit. After watching me wear the same stretchy pants for way too long my sister took me to Lane Bryant. I walked in the store and saw BEAUTIFUL plus sized models. They looked sexy and confident! I felt so empowered. I found a pair of jeans and a top that I felt really good in. Not only were they stylish they fit! Everywhere I went in that outfit I got compliments from strangers. Yes the outfit was cute but what they saw was that I loved what I was wearing and it helped me feel beautiful.
Fast forward 10 years, add many more years of self abuse and self hate, and now here I was, starting the healing process of recovery from countless years of a deep and dark eating disorder. I was walking around my favorite park and feeling desperate to be freed from the anxiety and pain of constantly feeling like I was not enough. As I felt the warm breeze on my face and the bubbly flow of blood running through my legs from trying to walk it all away, the strongest feeling came over me. A voice in my head said to my body “Thank you. Thank you for carrying me through so much. Thank you for allowing me to walk and run and feel. Thank you for taking so much abuse, for sticking with me despite the hate and utter disgust that I felt towards you”. I apologized for everything that I had done to my body. It was the first time in my life that I saw all that my body endured with me and because of me. Over and over my mind whispered “Thank you”. “Merci”.
3 years later when after days of labor my son came into this world with that same sister on one side of me, and my husband on the other. That life-changing event where after 9 months of anticipation, excitement, and discomfort, this beautiful creature that was created in my body now laid on my chest. It was the best day of my life. A few short days later I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Eager to force myself into my old jeans I went to bind my round flabby stomach with a constricting girdle. My uterus screamed with pain. I took that thing off and looked at myself with pride, with gratitude. “Thank you. Thank you for giving me my son. Thank you for my chest because it is a place for him to sleep. Thank you for my arms because they hold him so perfectly. Thank you for my big belly because it cradled him and nurtured him for so long.” “Merci.”
I share these stories because they are the foundation from which this store is built. I am not saying that happiness or beauty come from fashion. Those are inside jobs. I am just saying that like many creative formats (music, art, photography) what we wear can inspire amazing feelings such as confidence, joy, excitement, and beauty. And when that is paired with gratitude for the body that we have been blessed with, we can feel unstoppable. I hope that you find something in Merci Boutique that makes you feel unstoppable.