This reoccurring category features me trying new things. Whether it's something outside my comfort zone, trying something I've always wanted to do or trying out something I think is super gimmicky.
"You're so brave" people sometimes say when I tell them I'm going to the beach. I think it meant to be a compliment but in reality it's not. It implies that someone with my body type would need to have a substantial amount of courage to exist in a public place in a swim suit.
Well fuck that.
For as long as I can remember I've always been the "curvy Asian" girl. I have large double D breasts that people feel comfortable asking me whether or not they're real (in case anyone was wondering - it's none of your business) and my weight has fluctuated for a multitude of mostly unhealthy reasons since high school. At my heaviest I felt like a stranger in my own body and was dating a real asshat at the time (fuck you, Steve) that loved to point out how unattractive my body "suddenly was" hence the shift from normal body insecurities to a real sense of hatred for my body.
Even after that relationship ended, for years I found myself apologizing for my body. I apologized to sales staff whenever I couldn't find my size, or whenever I handed them something that needed to be put back on the shelf because it didn't fit over my curves. I apologized to my friends for not wanting to be in photos or declining a night out because I had "nothing to wear" when reality I just felt uncomfortable in everything I was wearing. A low point for me was when I found myself apologizing to a fictitious "skinnier" version of me; "I'm sorry that I let it get this bad. I'm sorry that people stare at you. I'm sorry that you avoid dating because you think that no one in their right mind would be attracted to you. I'm sorry that you're fat."
As close friends and poor retail workers could tell you, my body is something that I have a complicated relationship with. Working in the fashion industry I am constantly surrounded by photos of models and influencers that have ideal body types. We're not even taking about the 90s ideal of very petite, but even curvy girls in magazines seem to have the right proportions.
Learning to love my body was (and still is) a slow process. A fake-it-until-you-make-it type of thing. I acted like I was happy with what I had going on and told internet trolls to s my d every time they commented "fat" on my Instagram page until eventually I believed my own hype. Yeah, I might not have the body I had when I was in high school but there is a lot about my body to love. I do have the occasional bad day - I don't know how many times I have tried to find a new pair of jeans only to hold back tears in the change room while trying to avoid looking at my own reflection in the full length mirror when absolutely nothing fits me properly. My body confidence is definitely a pendulum but thankfully 95% of the time it's in an upswing.
Nettle's Tale Swimwear is a Vancouver based swimwear company that prides themselves on locally made swimwear made for and modeled by real bodies. I have adored Nettle's Tale for years and was excited to have an opportunity to shoot with them but when I started to share the news with friends and acquaintances I received a lot of apprehensive looks.
"Oh... really?" some said while glancing up and down my figure, fixating a bit too long on my chest and stomach.
"You're so brave" most people said.
"I would never - and I'm probably much slimmer than you are!" some basic bitch who I will probably never speak to again said.
To those people I say "Yes, really. I'm just going to the beach in the summertime - this is not groundbreaking. Fuck you, don't do it then, what does that have to do with me?"
To myself I find myself apologizing to my body instead of for my body now.
"I'm sorry for getting mad at you for not fitting into that dress. It's not your fault that you have amazing breasts that retailers don't accommodate. I'm sorry that I don't appreciate you more for what you do. You take me to and from places and you amaze me constantly with how strong you are. I'm sorry that I assumed a lack of love in my life had more to do with what you look like instead of the person you are inside - plus, guys like what you're all about - if anything they like it too much sometimes."
Once I arrived at Jericho beach the Nettle's Tale team was so easy to work with. The photographer, Meghan, gave great direction in the sense that she didn't want any of us to be too posed and encouraged us to move the way we would normally move, laugh with one another and not focus too much on the fact that we were having our photos taken. As someone who has witnessed many fake laughing photos in the making I am proud to say that none of the laughs in these photos were forced or faked. (I was probably laughing about how hard it is to walk on sand.)
It was refreshing to work with a group of women who were so encouraging to one another. For the first time in a long time, I could see someone else wearing the same version of something I was wearing and not wonder "oh, it probably looks way better on her" but instead "we probably look so cute!"
(Also, before this shoot I went to have dessert with a friend and you better believe that I ate that entire slice of homemade apple pie.)
Side note: Mom, if you're reading this I'm sorry about the tattoos you're now seeing that I didn't tell you about. If you're anyone else, please don't tell my mom.
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