Confident Women Finish First - My Journey to Confidence & Self-Love
This is a story all about how...
Growing up in a small Northern Ontario community, I did not live the ultimate sand + surf beach life, but I did have the privilege of traveling with my family, which resulted in a wanderlust spirit. I spent a significant amount of time in Florida in the U.S.A. I grew accustomed to tropical vacations during the long and dreary winter months. I fell in love with the feel-good energy that came from the sun and warmth of a long summer’s day. However, for many years, what I did not love was my body and how self-conscious I felt in summer clothes. I recall many occasions wearing long pants and over sized shirts in temperatures that suggested I was over-dressed. Being the ‘fat kid’, I often compared myself to others and wondered how to best appeal to them. It took YEARS before I felt comfortable in my own skin.
How many ladies out there have seen the movie Phat Girls, starring Monique? To this day, Phat Girls remains one of my favourite movies. After watching it for the first time, I sat in my mom’s house sketching clothes, imagining I was a famous designer. My first collection was going to be “Thick Madams” (thank you, Monique). Well, I never did create my “Thick Madams” collection, but, after years of fearing what was or wasn’t cool or what would or wouldn’t fit my body, I began to appreciate fashion and started to love it as much as I loved the warmth of summer.
Fashion became a sense of purpose and pride for me when I found out how to convert clothes into outfits to reflect who I am – unapologetically bold, dramatic and daring! To this day, it feels absolutely amazing when I create statement outfits by pairing clothes with my favourite accessories to truly make them MY OWN!
My Confidence Journey
Even after connecting with fashion, something was still missing...
By my late 20s, I was living what society considered a successful life. I was married, owned a home, had a stable and secure job and was surrounded by friends and family. However, during that time, there was still a void, an emptiness that I was filling with food, the unhealthy food that comforted me as a child. I did not realize it at the time, but when I learnt where my food addiction came from and how it 'healed me', it made complete sense!
Before my 29th birthday, I weighed over 250 lbs. and was encroaching on a size 3x.I often used humour to disguise my insecurities and show my family, friends and the world that I was plus sized and happy. I was of the opinion that if I brought humour to the situation and took the first shot, I could prevent others from commenting on my size and appearance. The most ironic thing is that I would see other plus sized women and thought that they were absolutely beautiful, but I couldn't apply that to myself. I was officially uncomfortable with who I had become.
August 2014 - Dirty Girls Mud Run
At that time, I was a fan of My 600 Lb. Life on TLC - I LOVED the series and Dr. Now. During one episode, I finally had my AH-HA moment and realized that my weight was increasing quite rapidly; If I wasn't careful, I would be an actual patient of Dr. Now's and featured on the show.
Enter my FIRST REAL SALAD!! That's right, from this epiphany, I tried my first salad at an office Christmas party. It was a combination of spinach, raspberries, bacon and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Hmmm, until that moment, I never realized that fruits and vegetables (when combined the way YOU LIKE THEM) could be as satisfying as pizza! From there, I began to experiment more with food and workout routines until I found what worked for me. Before I knew it, the pounds were flying, my confidence was growing, and I converted the process into a full mission, creating a vision board and setting regular goals for myself.
July 2021- Gym Workout Routine (never thought I would enjoy the gym!!)
Suddenly, my motivation, energy and optimism were through the roof and I knew it was time to fully redirect my life. I did some deep soul searching and assessing with professionals. I quickly determined that the successful life I was living was not my idea of success, and that my husband was actually holding me back. I felt trapped.
September 2021 - Petrie Island Beach - Product Photoshoot
Fast forward six years and here I am, for the first time EVER in full control of my life. I weigh 100 lbs less than I did at 29, I am divorced, living in a new City, aware of the mind and body connection that is essential for health and no longer working a mundane 9 to 5.
The Return of my Inspiration
Sometimes, your ideal life is just around the corner waiting for you to say "yes" to something new.
Bohemian Beach Boutique was born in May of 2021 when I joined 100 Most Powerful Women. I was wholly inspired by my business coaches and my new sisterhood of like-minded and empowered women. It is through 100 Most Powerful Women that I learnt I have a bigger purpose and so much to offer women in this World. This led me right back to my passion for fashion and I knew owning my own business and sharing my style and personality was my purpose.
For me, Bohemian Beach Boutique is more than summer retail. It is about supporting and celebrating women, promoting body positivity and creating an inclusive community. My mission is to ignite confidence in women of all shapes and sizes. It is time to accept that we are all bold and beautiful, and have the right to live every day unconventionally care-free. Let us unleash our inner bad-asses and start living today as vibrant and bright as the hot summer sun!!
At the end of the day, as long as women are confident in their skin and happy, truly happy, with their lives, then all is well. Sometimes there are situation we face that our out of our control. However, there is still so much that is within our control and no unexpected situation should result in giving up.
If you let fear in and use it to create excuses & prevent you from new experiences, it's time to assess your life. What are your goals and dreams? Have you dared to step outside the ordinary and chase them? If not, what is holding you back? Go within and then let go!
Please feel free to leave a comment - I love hearing from you!!
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