the making of a confidence true story

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm sure you get a ton of mail a day but I just wanted to let you know that you're amazing! A friend showed me your blog this morning. Being a 26/28 is no walk in the park but you've given me new hope that style and success are things I can achieve and now i want to go shopping!                                                - Robin from Pasco, WA

Your blog inspires me! I love how you live life to the fullest! I often feel bad that I am a plus size woman and I feel like people judge me because of that so I stick to the droopy clothing away from what my heart truly wants and I think tomorrow will be better or if I could just lose more weight,m if I could lose 100lbs+ I would feel better about myself but I am beginning to see it is all about perception of how I feel about myself and not what others think or feel about me. Thank you! You have inspired me! - Beashua, Arkansas

I can't tell you how touched I am and how honored I feel that every day I receive emails, tweets, comments and more from readers telling me how much I have changed their lives. And, it overjoys me that my mission is empower women who struggle to love their bodies to feel confident and love themselves. This is why I will answer every reader question and comment possible! I read story after story of women who are/were depressed, lost and in search of someone to understand, I hear the voice of a 16 year old girl who wished the same things. Before internet and bloggers, back when the only influence you had were your school friends, family and magazines. 

That 16 year old was me. This confident girl that I am today is NOT who I've always been.

I'm NOT the girl who always knew her style, always loved hair/makeup, and was popular or cool (and I'm not saying it's bad if you are/were, just wasn't me). In fact, I was teased mercilessly for my maiden name, Head. (that's even hard to TYPE!) I was not happy or confident and certainly NEVER did I dream I'd be the woman I am today. My story is one I rarely share, because I don't look back and feel sorry for myself, and I don't want sympathy, but this is a great story - one of struggle and perseverance. And I am proud.

Not all of us have a female role model to look to, in fact, most of us have no one to look to. Coming from a cliche broken home (young & alcoholic mother, absentee father, poverty and living at a salvation army, sexual and physical abuse, two sisters that went to foster care so I never go to know them, and so forth), I didn't either. It was when I was 20 years old that I knew there was more out there and I knew I was meant for more. I wasn't able to afford college, was trapped in a marriage, but as a resourceful and hardworking woman, I opened many doors professionally. And, then the day I discovered makeup happened (wedding photo below), that moment changed my life forever and was the first day of a four year journey to find myself.

When I looked in the mirror....I saw this beautiful woman...someone I didn't recognize. And, then...a flicker of confidence went through my soul. I instantly looked at myself differently...with pride. 
Then, after a series life changing events in 2004 including a dangerous crash diet where I lost over 120lbs in 1 year, the end of my first marriage and a miscarriage, I realized my strength and potential, and instead of listening to the voices in my head that for so long tore me down, I chose to listen to the powerful woman that was hidden inside. And even after 7 years and 100lbs BACK on, I am STILL that confident woman. It wasn't the was me.

I'm sharing this because I want you to know why I'm so passionate, and that it's NOT just about the clothes for me. And to the women who tell me they think I have it all together and so easy....I don't. Even today, I struggle with feeling confident, loving my body, etc.(just ask my friends!) It takes effort and courage to say I love me, especially when the accepted norm is to pick yourself apart. And, it takes an army of positivity (again, thank you said friends and you my positive readers!)...which is why I refuse to tear anyone down or pick at anyone, because that action will not help that person think differently - but instead make them more defensive. I know this first-hand.

I want to share some never before seen photos with you, these are moments that I have only shared with my husband until now. Even my close friends have never seen these pictures. 

{ below } 
A lost 21 year old marrying her first boyfriend. I speak in a 3rd person, because this is a girl I do not know anymore. And, I look at her and wish I could tell her what I know today.
She spent way too much time hating herself. So beautiful, but hated her body, self and life. That smile is a forced one.

{ below } 
At my bridal shower the week before.
Obviously I didn't know makeup or hair or how much it would change my life and confidence.
I used to see just a fat girl, but didn't see until now that was just a big girl that didn't love herself.

{ below } 
Senior year in my locker bin, wearing my favorite outfit of the time. I was a total jock... I could only shop in the JcPenney men's dept. for my clothes. My go-to pants were the Silvertab Levi's - 42/32. Since I lived in a super small town, there was no Lane Bryant, no Torrid, not even a Macy's. Just JCP and Walmart...which at the time carried ZERO plus, having no idea how to style myself, I went with the comfy basics....and had to resort to the men's dept. 

{ below } 
Top, a 15 year old with no guidance on how to be a girl/woman.
Below, a 25 year old who found her confident self with the help of fashion/hair/makeup.

{ below } 
A 14 year old girl who only knew how to be smart and how to play sports. And a girl who longed to stop being teased about her name, her hair and clothes.

What strikes me about this photo, is I so remember how fat I felt since my shirt was a 2xl.
I would beat myself up every day because I was never good enough....and looking back, I can't believe that I thought that. I was 180lbs and all muscle from power lifting and being a shotput thrower...that's a great thing, I was HEALTHY.

{ below } 
Left, with my best friends and always felt like the fat ugly one, so I would hide in the back of photos.
Right, 10 years and many life lessons later, I was confident and fun and loving life.

{ below } 
My eighth grade graduation. I think the most un-confident day of my life! LOL I can thank my zero-fashion sense mom for my glasses and haircut! oyy!

my confidence manifesto.
You can be that confident girl in the room, you just have to BELIEVE.

Your weight is NOT the issue, the issue is how you are viewing yourself. I'm the same weight I was back at my most depressed, and yet I feel the most confident now...because I view myself as beautiful.

It's ok to say you love yourself and take pride in yourself...and it's ok to have those moments where you hold yourself accountable and give yourself a kick in the ass. Just be YOU.
Love yourself.
You're real
.....................and real is perfect.

Join my confidence army, and inspire someone today.
Share your confidence manifestos and stories with me below! I want to hear, plus, it could be used in a book I'm writing with my friend Mandy Allen. (shhhhh)

Jessica Kane (yes, the universe said sorry and gave me a husband with an AMAZING last name *wink*)

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