As someone who has always considered themselves beautiful at any size, I can't say that I have always loved my body. Sure, there have been moments where I thought I was the sexiest thing walking. But for the most part, all I saw when I looked in the mirror were flaws. My thighs were always too big. Butt full of dimples from cellulite. Boobs always in the way. And my arms too jiggly.
I never saw the same things as others when they looked at me because I was too focused on what I felt needed changing, which caused me to become insecure with my body. Feeling like it wasn't good enough.
At first, I thought that maybe if I lost weight, then I would finally be pleased with what I looked like on the outside. But no matter how small I got, I still couldn't see past my imperfections. Which led to years of comparing my body to countless models and celebrities, wishing I had what they had.
Abs like Janet Jackson. Thighs like Serena Williams. Arms like Angela Bassett. Booty like Melyssa Ford. Legs like Tina Turner. With perfect, perky boobs like Rihanna's that didn't require me to wear a bra.
To associates and the people closest to me, no one ever knew that I was dealing with these insecurities because all they saw was confidence when they saw me. I walk with my head held high, wear whatever I want, can be the life of a party, and have no problem with catching the eye of potential suitors. But on the inside, it was the total opposite.
I was always overly concerned about something falling out, feeling like I had to cover some part of my body or put on shapewear for a smoother appearance. It even got to the point where my body insecurities began spilling over into my relationships. I didn't want to be seen naked with the lights on. Sex had to be done in total darkness or at max, by candlelight. And the thought of wearing lingerie made me even more uncomfortable.
Even though, as a former Victoria's Secret Angel Card carrier, I, like many women eagerly anticipated their semi-annual sales so that I could rack up on all things satin, silk, velvet, and lace. But when it came time to wear it, I felt discomfort like no other. Resulting in a lot of those items being pushed to the back of my drawer only to never again see the light of day.
My body insecurities worsened over time, especially when I began to put on weight. I found myself wearing more black, turning down opportunities to go out, and shying away from cameras. It was bad enough that I knew I was gaining weight, but I didn't want others to notice it either.
However, at some point last year, shortly after I committed to a new fitness journey, I started to become comfortable in my body. Maybe it was because I needed to reach my heaviest size to appreciate the body that I had been given, or maybe I just reached the age where I stopped giving a damn. But something in me caused me to find my confidence.
And this newfound confidence made me want to invest in lingerie once again. But this time, with the intent to actually wear it.
So, I began purchasing pieces here and there. Trying them on while admiring my body in the mirror. Marveling at just how perfectly each piece adorned the areas that I thought were my ugliest. How the strings were strategically placed on various parts of my body. The lace seductively covered my most intimate parts. The cups lifted my breasts, giving them that perfect look that I had always strived for.
Even the way each item enhanced my God-given curves.
The way I looked when I saw myself in the mirror wearing my lingerie made me feel sexy, confident, bold, and beautiful. It forced me to see what others had always seen in me and to love my body in ways that I never thought were possible.
Nowadays, my drawers are filled with lingerie because I never want to lose sight of this feeling. I never want to revert to the days of feeling insecure in my body. Nor do I want to see flaws whenever I look in the mirror.
Because for me, wearing lingerie is more than just something to entice my partner or to spice things up in the bedroom. It is now a tool to help me feel sexy and remind me of my beauty. A way for me to fall deeper in love with my body. A symbol of how far I have come in my self-love, body-positivity journey.
Featured image by Racquel Coral