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No Longer Being Ashamed About My Size on the Tag

I was always insecure about having to buy new clothes. The ritual of going before an event, a birthday, and the academic year made me anxious. Having an older sister meant that the cool clothes she bought would be mine once I got to that height, and funny enough, I outgrew the clothes prepared for me by the time I hit puberty. I became taller, fuller, and very resentful of having to wear hand-me-downs. When I was younger, I enjoyed shopping because I could look at all the clothes on a rack and imagine how I could mix and match the pieces. Because of my growth spurt, I had earned my ticket to getting to buy clothes exclusively for me. But the changing room was no fun. As I grew older, it became a dreadful time looking for a certain number on a tag. I remember feeling shy about the size of my waist and my tummy that showed whenever I put on something fitting. I would take the maximum number of pieces allowed to the changing room stalls and shuffled through them as fast as possible. Even if the clothes fit, I would practice holding in my breath and ‘sucking in’ but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t hide the huge font size that would stare in front of me as I put on and off my clothes.

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Instead of measuring my waist again every year, I became an avid user of leggings and pants with elastic bands. My staple look was with a pair of black leggings. My comfortable look was with a pair of black leggings. My going-out look was with a pair of black leggings. I bought into the idea that black leggings shaped your body differently so that no one would ever notice the outline of your body with them. And I was comfortable with that; my black leggings brought me peace of mind. I thought that if I wore something black—something loose—no one would see that I’m a big girl. That was until I began to grow up.

I began college and realized that I didn’t have outfits for different occasions and began to look into my clothing style. Once I recognized that my friends loved me for all that I am—and not the size of my jeans—I began to feel more confident in my curves. The shopping trips were for us to find different clothes that suited our tastes, making it not feel like a dreadful chore. Shopping became fun and exciting, not only because I had people who loved me with me but also because I was beginning to love myself. I no longer felt the need to hide in attempts to not stand out. I began growing out of my mentality of avoiding my body. I started shopping with friends and didn’t feel shy to tell them the store didn’t carry my size. Slowly, I became comfortable telling them I was looking for my specific size and if they could let me know if they found something cute for me. My friends encouraged me to buy things that made me feel beautiful. I bought myself a crop top for the first time and felt…hot. I started wearing shorts and skirts more and I was…comfortable—something I had never felt before. I started to no longer resent the number on the tags to hide my size but instead used it to welcome the support system that wanted me to look my best and happiest.

[bf_image id="q8vz85-2usvhc-gh6mgl"] I thought I wouldn’t have friends because of my size but, I realized that I had surrounded myself with people who were there for me. My friends weren’t ashamed of me; it was me who was ashamed of myself. It took time and lots of self-love, but I no longer feel bad about taking up my space. My clothes are no longer to shield me from criticism but rather an extension of myself to the world. To all the girls who feel ashamed about their tummies and about saying your size out loud - I hope you can find happiness in your beauty because we only have one body in this lifetime. In embracing your body, there’s peace no clothing tag or number can take away from you.

Diana is a senior at UC Davis majoring in English and minoring in Communications and Education. She spends her free time reading, painting, watching anime or trying local foods in Davis or in her hometown, Oakland. Diana is an advocate for self-love, body positivity and spreading kindness while keeping it real.
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