How years of a healing journey culminated into one fantastic shopping trip
This is a guest post by Erin Hoopes
I remember the moment it started. I was sitting on the swing set with my best friend Lauren outside of her house, on a picturesque Connecticut summer day. We were 8.
Lauren was sitting on the swing and looked down at her thighs in shorts. “Look at how big my thighs are!” she said in disgust. “What?!” I said “get up, let me try.”…”oh my god, they are huge!” I felt a deep sadness and emptiness flow through my body; I have been familiar with this energy since. It was that same feeling that eventually lead to binging and purging, drugs, alcohol and an ugly inner dialog. I remember thinking that I would never be OK. I would never be without this evil voice in my head that said horrible things. I would never love my body or myself.
I have battled an eating disorder since that day. I cringe writing these words because I really hate saying “eating-disorder”. Mostly because labeling things “Disorders” can have the connotation of it being something you can never be rid of. It’s as if you are powerless to the disorder, no one knows where it came from and you can’t fix it. It also fails to encompass what is really going on. What I have noticed going on, is a huge amount of energy around having a body as a woman.
I have remained present with this energy and noticed it in my life. I’ve become interested in it, become friends with it and patiently (or not so patiently) gotten to know its habits over the years. This approach has been the only thing that has worked for me, allowing me to unravel it and get to places where greater understanding and peace exist. In doing so, I have seen the large, small and often unconscious behavior that manifests around this energy in my life. One of these behaviors I’ve been present with for a while and recently healed in a deep way.
Since I was 16 or 17, I’ve bought clothes that are too small for my body. I’ve even bought shoes and underwear that were too small for me because I didn’t want to put on a larger size. I developed this habit out of thinking that I would, or should, lose weight in order to fit into the smaller size. Sound familiar, fellow sister with a closet full of old clothes?
It became a daily reminder that I didn’t have the body I wanted. I was constantly uncomfortable in everything I put on. But when you are young, living in the Abercombie/American Eagle sartorially challenged mall-scapes of the small town midwest, you really don’t have a chance. True self expression is not seen as a good thing when you’re a teenager. I also did not know how to dress a C cup woman’s figure at 12 years old in an age appropriate manner. The things one is attracted to wearing as a teen and or twenty something are not necessarily classy. There are some sexual revolution/society pressures going on that make you want to look like some version of a hooker. At that age I just wasn’t strong enough or sure enough of myself to not compare myself to other bodies. So, there was something wrong with me, not the energy I was battling with.
Now, all of this is not to say that I didn’t LOVE clothes. I have always been extremely visually aware. Which was just some kind of cruel joke. Fast forward through a decade of training as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor, Esthetician, Massage Therapist, and Psychic. Collectively all of these influences have helped me heal my relationship to my body over the years. But recently, fashion blogs have really been a healing. There are so many great personal style blogs with women of all shapes and sizes expressing their unique energy in ways I never thought possible.
It has been nothing short of inspirational and the missing piece in the journey back to loving my body.
I have learned: that a curated closet will produce a more cohesive style statement. This translates to only wearing what you love and makes you feel great! After all, why have a massive closet of clothes that don’t validate you? I used to buy things on sale so I could get more. I slowly broke my habits and began to realize that less is more – more economical and earth friendly too. I also began to realize that cut and fabric really matter; both make a world of difference on the body. Plus, a luxurious fabric is such a fantastic way to appreciate your body!
I know now that a two hundred dollar dress is two hundred dollars for a reason. It fits much better than a 50 dollar dress. And if it’s two hundred dollars, you’re gonna make sure you love it, it goes with the rest of your wardrobe and can be enjoyed many ways. I never used to think I was worth that much money. And I’ve learned that as a woman gets older she accepts her body more, becomes much more comfortable in her skin, becomes more knowledgeable about what clothing flatters her figure and is less likely to choose something for the sake of it being fashionable. This natural progression was something I both fought and secretly longed for when I was at the height of lost in that nasty energy. This new feeling has settled in quietly and peacefully, but also profoundly in the last few weeks.
So what have I done with all of these newfound truths, you ask? I promptly removed 2/3 of my closet: the clothes that were not validating my body or my energy anymore, had to go. I took my gorgeous self and a girlfriend shopping. I had an amazing time. Complete with dancing to awful music in H&M under the horrible florescent lighting, in an all-way mirror in my underwear. And you know what, I looked amazing!! I tried on everything that looked interesting to me. Some things looked great, most didn’t. And when it didn’t, it wasn’t because of my body. It was the clothes.
I can’t tell you the joy I get from expressing my creativity, personality, and energy through the art of dressing. I love my body, mind and spirit and for the first time in my life I feel like a woman. It only took me 20 years 🙂
P.S. My hope is that in sharing so openly that people will begin the conversation in their own lives around how we as women (or men) have become and maintained invalidation in our bodies. Please do comment, I would love to hear from you. What have you been through? What has helped you through it? I love hearing it as it is the bulk of what I help people with in my practice!
Wanna get inspired? Here are a few of my favorite style blogs:
Have Q’s…Awesome! You can reach Erin at www.erinmhoopes.com.
Erin Hoopes is a multi trained healer. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Esthetician as well as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach. She is also a trained Clairvoyant and Energy Healer. She mushes all those together to create an interesting blend information for her clients. She lives in Hollywood with her boyfriend James and her cat Moo. She is currently learning to be an adult and looks forward to redefining what that means.
Photo: Crystal Renn in an Elle photo