Harsh Lighting

I was set on the skirt, a faux suede skirt I had cut from its original maxi form to a mini skirt. I threw on a flouncy black crop top and my lace flats and posed in front of the mirror. I pulled at the hem of the skirt and tried to adjust my top. There was too much leg showing, too much of my tummy out for the world to scrutinize. Then I yanked the skirt off and replaced it with dark wash jeans. The  crop top was replaced by a black shirt. Just like that, I was back to my usual uniform: jeans, black top, and random shoes. My sister walked in and asked "Oh, why'd you change? You looked cute in the other outfit."  So I changed back into the original outfit and stared at the mirror again. I don't usually wear skirts and I rarely ever wear a crop top so wearing them together seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. What if my tummy stuck out too much and drew attention? What if the scars on my legs and the cellulite on my thighs makes people uncomfortable? What if my cleavage makes older ladies tut-tut? What if men stare and make comments? 

I eventually mustered the courage to step out of the house and I was met by people sitting by the front steps: my grandmother, my aunt, and my neighbor. All of them stared at me, first at my bright makeup then at my outfit. They were the kind of stares that make you feel ashamed for having a body and daring to show it off... I spent the rest of the day fighting off insecurities. I continuously asked my sister if I looked alright, if the skirt was too short, if I should put my hair down, if I should take off my blue eyeliner, if I should zip up my hoodie. It's easy to like my selfies and photos that zoom in on my upper body and cut out all my flaws. It's much harder to like what I see when my whole body is exposed under harsh lighting.

Baby steps, Val, baby steps

Skirt: One Clothing faux suede maxi skirt (cut into mini skirt)
Jacket:  Calvin Klein oversize denim jacket
Crop top: Windsor
Shoes: Chinese Laundry Great Time lace up flats