With Me-Made-May starting tomorrow, I’ve been doing a good amount of thinking about what this year’s May will mean for me. Last year, I didn’t participate because I felt like I couldn’t “compete” with the makers who were wearing something new every day of the month. I kept telling myself that the things I made weren’t cute enough to be Instagram worthy. How would my handful of handmade items compare? But if the past year has taught me anything, it’s a bit of self-acceptance.
As have so many others, I have long struggled with body image and self-confidence. I had the best friend who could eat whatever she wanted and still look good in a bikini. I had the boyfriend who told me I wasn’t pretty enough (he’s long gone). I grew up in the world of fashion retail, where anything over a size 8 was considered “plus”. For a long time, I would beat myself up whenever my jeans got a little too tight or someone else looked cuter in that shirt I loved.
There have been a lot of factors that have played a part in my path to accepting who I am. Graduating from both high school and college were big ones. Suddenly, all the drama of school life just didn't matter. Leading an amazing group of women at Anthropologie helped too. But within the last year, my efforts to create a handmade wardrobe and live a more creative lifestyle have truly made the biggest impact on my mental well-being.
When I’m sewing for myself, it isn’t about what size pattern I’m tracing or how I could probably fit into a smaller size if I could just lose five pounds. I'm not trying to fit into someone else's idea of a size 6. It’s about creating something that’s just for me. My dress will fit me, just as I am, flaws and all. Maybe I need to add a full-bust adjustment, but I’m also probably going to take it in at the waist. Add a little more here, take away a little there. I stopped comparing myself to everyone around me, and instead took pride in my handiwork. I'm not perfect, but I'm learning to be alright with that.
There’s something to be said for the community that I’ve found through Instagram as well. I have been so inspired by seeing projects out and about in real-life, not in a magazine ad. The women I follow are beautiful, creative and don’t need to be photo-shopped to share that inspiration with others. As I continue to build my handmade wardrobe, I realize how much I want to be that person for someone else. I want someone to see my picture and think, “I need to make one of those for myself!”, not wonder how many cheeseburgers I had to pass up in order to fit in my outfit.
And that brings us to this year’s Me-Made-May. I still sometimes have to remind myself that I look good, just as I am. I’m still building my handmade wardrobe. I’m still learning, not just about sewing techniques, but about myself and the person I want to be.
So this May...
I will wear something that I have made every day that I can.
I will spend time working on a project if I'm not wearing a me-made item.
I will try patterns that push me beyond my comfort zone.
I will not compare myself and my skills to those of others.
I will accept that I am what I am, and that is okay.
Happy Me-Made-May everyone! I apologize in advance for far to many pictures of myself this month...