Body Love Ball

(credit: Nancy Kim [NSB Photography])

Sometimes my days feel planned out to the minute, each week is a messily scripted entry in a day planner I don’t have time to keep updated. I thought once I went down to one job after the madness of October, I would be in the clear. Instead, I continue to be busier than ever. I am not complaining, in fact I don’t remember the last time I was this happy. I’ve found a job I love in a city that has always felt like home. But despite the excitement and the good ole happiness I am recognizing that some things are falling through the cracks because I’m just that busy.

I do have a hard time finding the energy and time to workout. This isn’t meant to be an excuse, it’s honestly just an honest evaluation of how life has been going. Just like I’ve slacked with this blog a bit in the past few months, I’ve slacked on working on my health and fitness. It’s something that’s really frustrated me because I was feeling like I was watching all my progress slip away. But then an event I went to a few weekends ago reminded me that my shrinking waistline and smaller pant sizes were not the only things I had made progress on. There was a much more important lesson that I was forgetting: body love.

I told myself early on in this journey that it would not be worth it if I did not work on the thoughts in my head as much as I was working on the rolls on my midsection. I knew that if I did not change the way I think about my body then no amount of weight loss would matter. I had to change my mindset. The Body Love Ball by the wonderful team at Body Confidence Canada was a reminder that the weight was never what mattered: it was how I felt about myself.

And on that night I felt amazing.

(Credit: John Simone Photography)

This is a big turn around from the emotional upset I had before the Shine Charity Gala early in November. I tried on the dress that I had had tucked away in my closet for months only to find that it really didn’t fit. Not only that but it fit worse than it had when I bought it. This was frustrating because for the longest time that dress was what had kept me motivated. It was a sleeker shape than I was normally used to, something I would have never dreamed of wearing before. And in the end I didn’t get to wear it because I just wasn’t comfortable in it.

But a month later, it was like a whole different young woman had stepped out for the evening. Between my dress for Chief’s Gala (seen here) and my suit for Body Love Ball, I couldn’t have been happier with the way I looked, even with a few extra pounds and a bit of reversed progress. That isn’t to say I had my doubts about the high waisted pants and the white shirt. I spent more time looking in the mirror than I personally care to admit but once the party started I was so empowered by the other individuals around me that I stopped worrying about how I looked from the side or if my belly was rolling over the top of my pants. I just enjoyed myself and for once I celebrated the body I have, not the one I’ve always thought I needed.

(Credit: John Simone Photography)

I still want to be healthier, I still want to try and work harder because of the other benefits I was getting throughout that journey. But I’m learning that my confidence doesn’t need to be tied to the width of my hips or the size of my jeans. I can be confident throughout this journey, whether I’m on the up or the down. It’s because of the Body Love Ball that I’m more aware of this now, and it’s something I’m going to try my best not to forget. In the spirit of this I wanted to share four lessons that I took home from that night, they are ones I think everyone could stand to remember;

A lot of amazing people don’t give a damn about conventional beauty

There were all shapes and sizes, all diversities, and all beauties present at the event. Everyone we bumped into was nothing less than complimentary and kind. People wore what they wanted, they embraced styles that made them feel beautiful and that part was easy; they all were. It didn’t matter the cut of your dress, the width of your hips, the size of your bra, none of this came into play. It was a room full of beautiful people, not in spite of how people looked on the outside but because of it.

Body confidence is an ongoing journey and the path is yours to forge for yourself

There were some wonderful speakers at the event that talked about their different journeys in body confidence. They explored that desire to fit in and to want to look a certain way and really normalized that experience for everyone in attendance. But each speaker so powerfully reminded the crowd that you do not need to fit a mould to be beautiful, that you will shine brighter when you learn to love and accept the body you are in. It is the only body you have.

What is on the outside does matter and everyone’s outside is beautiful

One of the speakers had a really powerful message that tore apart this whole ‘it’s what is on the inside that counts’ argument. Because yes, your personality, your drive, your charisma, your passion, all of these things are important and they matter but so does your outside. Just because you don’t look a certain way or don’t fit a certain size does not mean your outside is lesser. You are not suddenly beautiful despite your size or looks, your size and looks are included in that beauty. Because what is on the outside does matter, it plays a part in first impressions, it plays a part in who approaches you or what jobs you get. Our society is not blind to the outside and therefore we should not pretend it doesn’t exist, we just need to embrace the differences and celebrate each and every body, not just the ones in magazines. So know your outside is just as beautiful as your inside, and it deserves to be loved too.

You define what body confidence and beauty means to you

It may be surprising to hear but I learned this lesson from clothing, specifically the clothes everyone was wearing that night. Body Love Ball’s dress code was simple: fabulously you. While this originally made choosing an outfit for the evening a little more difficult, it did open up a lot of options and really allowed people to wear what they were most comfortable in. We saw crop tops, beach dresses, ball gowns, jeans, pant suits, suspenders, heels, flats, boots, every different and fabulously fun combination you could imagine and we spent most of the night worshipping everyone’s outfits. You see, everyone looked radiant, they looked confident, and they looked absolutely lovely. There was something about that atmosphere from the moment you walked in that just empowered you, that made you stop worrying about all the little things that we get caught up in. As long as you were fabulously you you were doing just fine. It was that lesson that reminded me that body confidence and beauty looks different on everyone. For some people it’s a boudoir shoot or a two piece bathing suit, for others it’s a rockin’ pair of jeans or comfy sneakers. It’s not about conforming to any trend, standard, or anything else, it’s about being yourself in the body you’re in.

(Credit: John Simone Photography)

The Body Love Ball is something we’d like to make a staple in our year going forward. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this event by pure coincidence. At first it just sounded like a fun night out that reflected the journey I have been on this year, but in the end it was so much more than that. This inspiring event is something that will drive me forward and will hopefully help me when I’m having another crisis over a stupid dress. As one of the wonderful speakers said “sometimes it’s the fucking pants.” and in this case it was just the fucking dress.

I hope all of you out there remember to love yourselves today, to celebrate the body you have because it’s the only one you’re going to get. Put on something that empowers you, whether it’s a dress, a pant suit, a crop top, or an old t-shirt. Own your beauty and don’t let anyone convince you that you are anything other than stunning.

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