A bit about Me... and my weird relationship with fashion.

I have an almost unhealthy relationship with my clothing. There – I said it.
I think that a lot of plus sized women have a strong relationship with their clothes, though. Especially if you are in your 30s or older and grew up as a fat kid in a low income family.

My family was poor. We got new clothes before school and then again at Christmas. My Mom would have about $100-200 to spend on clothes per kid. And, we didn't really have thrift stores nearby. She was always extra abusive to me verbally when it was time to school shop. I didn't understand, until later, that it was just stress driving her to do and say things that she didn't mean. I was tall and fat. I became nearly impossible to shop for around 5th grade. I didn't fit into the clothes that were suited for my age group. So, I would end up leaving most stores crying because she would laugh at me and mock me when things didn't fit... or she would yell at me when things that did fit were too expensive for her to afford. As a kid I just didn't understand the whole money thing, really. I just felt hurt and ugly and stupid. She would end up buying me oversized clothes that I could “grow into”. I had a lot of big sweatshirts with cats on them and giant long skirts that would tent around me.

By 6th grade I was as tall as most adult women in this country. I sometimes would wear my Mom's clothes to school. I remember the day that I wore clothes that actually fit (I found an old pair of my Mom's white pants that she didn't fit into anymore, and wore them with a button up skirt tied at my waist) and one of the boys in school said to his friend “Whoa, she isn't as fat as she looks in those mumus she normally wears!”

When I hit middle school I was even taller. Even bigger. I was taller and stronger than most boys in my class, until we hit high school and they started filling out and playing football. I figured out that mens fashion was way cheaper. With my Mom's $150 I could get two pairs of jeans, six tshirts and two flannels. I was dressing “grunge” before it was trend... because it was all that really fit me and all I could afford. Plus, I wasn't going to school to be “seen”... I was going to school to get an education (I have always been a mouthy uppity bitch – and proud).

My Grandma was the one that would buy me clothes, later, for speech and debate. She came to one of my tournaments and saw what I was wearing (and saw what the other kids were wearing). I was doing really well and she wanted me to dress the part. I couldn't afford professional looking clothes. I couldn't get a part time job because, besides school and forensics, I was going home to raise my siblings every day while both of my parents worked at service industry jobs.   Grammy also got me a leather briefcase for Christmas one year. She got me some makeup. She taught me the value of wearing an expensive signature perfume. Grammy could afford all of those things because she was making extra money cleaning houses and apartments as a second job. I was going to tournaments and competing against kids of rich powerful people in our state. I won... a lot... because I figured out that it didn't matter who those people were. We weren't our names in tournaments. We were given numbers. And as a number... it didn't matter that I didn't have a lot of money to eat that weekend... because I was there to kick ass and was going home with all of the trophies!

The clothes that I had... the nice clothes... I kept those for years. I only wore them when it was important. I have clothing that I have had since the 90s. My Mom still wears clothes I wore in middle school (when we were the same size). Clothes weren't something that you just buy and then wear and then get rid of. If you loved something and it fit well, you wore it until it was faded and threadbare.

The truth is... I still do this for the most part. I still have three types of clothes. I have my good clothes (the clothes that I blog about and am proud of), I have my “performing” clothes (which have rhinestones and feathers and such)... and I have the clothes that I wear all of the time. The three hoodies that have been in regular rotation for the last three years. The two pairs of jeans that I will wear until the thighs wear out. The track pants and cut-off tshirts that I wear to exercise, or when I'm healing from surgery. They aren't glamorous clothes. The nice clothes and the performance clothes are my fancy clothes.

If you ran into me when I was out running errands or going to physical therapy for my leg... you wouldn't recognize me. I dress like I am traveling or hanging out at home. I have zero shame in dressing like I don't care... because I really really don't care. There are times when fashion and looking my best really matter to me. I want to look perfect from head-to-toe, so I do. But, growing up poor and with different values than most of the kids in my community... I learned how to shift my priorities and focus on what is most important in the moment.

As an adult I have more options for good clothes. So do you! This is really why I started blogging I wanted to share the clothes that made me happy... and tell you why. I wanted to talk about the brands that are amazing... and also sometimes the brands or clothes that have missed the mark in some way or disappointed me as a plus sized consumer. That's how fashion gets better and evolves. That's how you know where to find the good stuff.

Where I come from is still very much who I am. It's part of who I will always be. I have to say that, looking back, I see great value in not being able to be hip and fashionable in my youth. While other girls obsessed over fake nails, the latest trends and going to the mall on the weekend... I was obsessing over foreign policy and boxes of evidence for debate. I was learning how to make strong arguments and convey powerful messages and earn respect from my peers. I was studying hard and making art. I was sharing all of that with my younger siblngs. I found self worth in the things I could do instead of the things I was wearing.

I say all of this... and you're thinking “Well, then, Vivi... why aren't you a politician or a scientist? Why are you an actress and a fashion blogger?”
I've used the skills that I picked up along the way and have focused them on my own pursuits. I develop and market my own cosmetics. I speak up for social change. I seek out and support other women who are destined for greatness. I try to be a good role model. Or, at least an honest and candid imperfect human role model.
But, my early childhood was spent in a trailer park in the woods. I was born white trash. cue Reba singing Fancy. I'm not going to pretend that I come from something better than that or that what I am today was ever easy to become.

I think that fashion is powerful and beautiful and fun. It is one of my biggest passions in life. Fashion isn't all that there is to me, however. And there is much more to fashion than what we discuss superficially.

Earlier this year I had this epiphany...
I realized that for the last decade of my life I have focused on promoting plus sized bodies and promoting plus sized women as beautiful and fashionable in this world. I've championed body positive mega stars. I was a ground-breaker in a lot of ways.
But, I didn't stop to think about how my singular mind was avoiding other important issues in fashion, as well. Issues of sweatshops, unethical business practices and discrimination of other types.
I hope to be able to start focusing on those things more and more in my blogging.

I don't want to be the fat girl who is so honored to be included... that I forget what is important in this world. I want to keep being the uppity bitch in a flannel. We can strive to have ethical sustainable fashion as well as beautiful fashion. We can have more diversity in fashion and entertainment. These things are absolutely possible and easier to obtain than we think.

This is just me sort of word vomiting, tonight.
Letting you know more of where I came from... how I got to where I am... and a glimpse into the life I've had so far. I did not come from wealthy people. I've had to work my ass off for everything I've ever accomplished. I don't know any other way to be or relate to the world. Hopefully this insight helps you understand more about my perspective and who I am as a person. Maybe it will help people understand that the fire inside of me burns because of where I come from.

I'm going to do my best to try to share more about myself through my blog.
There are a lot of assumptions and lies about me online. I figure that the best way to counter that is with the truth from the source.

You don't have to like me, dear readers.
But, I'm not going anywhere. I've worked too hard and have overcome too much to slink off into obscurity and disappear. I have things to say, powerful social and political missions to support... and fucking AMAZING fashion to wear and tell you about. Fashion is my armor. When I'm wearing something on point... Me, the person inside, is fucking BULLETPROOF.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.
Even those of you who read my blog just to hate it/me.
Thank you for being here.


1 comments:

  1. Hi. I found you on Instagram and came to check out your blog. This post truly spoke to me. I can relate so much. Growing up in a one income household and being the only plus sized kid of five, I certainly know what it's like to be in love with fashion. It's because we didn't get it when we were young. There was one plus size store in my town (Smart Size) and it actually catered to the plus size woman and not the teenager. So my mom made a lot of my shorts and skirts. Anywho, I wondered where you grew up and where you live now. You might have said this in another post but I need to delve deeper into your postings. Much love from Elena in WA state.

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