"I Believe"

This was the very first, and obviously not last, post on INSPIRED WIT back on February 9, 2013.  I would have never thought back then that a simple wish would end up coming true...

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything else seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
— Audrey Hepburn

As this may be the first and last, or first of many, entries I share with the world, I need to take a few moments to share the reasons behind this new endeavor. 

Over the past year and a half, I have completely immersed myself in the NYC fashion world and quite frankly, up until recently, scared the living out of me. In a city of picture perfect and fashion divas, where does a chubby, slightly awkward and unsure, self-conscious girl belong? Certainly not in the center of Fashion Night Out or gallivanting at The Four Seasons...and yet, here I am, 24 years old, official New Yorker (if I pay taxes to the state, it counts), and most importantly 100% confident to be myself for the first time ever. And honestly, that makes all the difference. I always believed that New York City had special air that breathes a fresh life into its' people. It's as if the skyline takes away all of your fears and replaces it with a new light that only inspires and encourages you to push yourself further than you ever could before to be free. 

No need to dive back into the fashionably tragic times of my youth, other than to ask who was responsible for Airwalks, denim overalls and the dreaded perm??? Really?!? The tale is old as time, cute little girl hits that lovely time around middle school where "things start changing" and BAM, the Hefty Fairy comes to visit overnight. Who wants to make a Disney movie about that? No one. You learn at that age people have really developed awesome creative language skills around the same time as the "jerk" gene. Don't worry, I'm not gonna make this a bully blog, because in all honesty, without it I would not be the confident woman I am today...or have an awesome story how I made the bully cry in the principal's office. After battling weight and body image issues for most of my teen/early adult years and covering it up with laughter, jokes, bread, chocolate and most of the Old Navy XXL collection, I ended up not even recognizing the girl I saw in the mirror. Finding clothes for job interviews and going out was always a struggle, usually always ending in tears, wine and binge eating. Not a good combo. 

The big change happened when I was offered a position at Lord & Taylor Department store on 5th ave, type-cast for a role in the "Women's" department. Contrary to popular belief, it is not called the "Fat Lady's Floor" OR the "Animal Shop". (Yes, I've heard both.) I'm still not sold on the whole "Plus-size" name, but it's no biggie... Regardless of what you call it, finally there was more than 5 options for someone who needed, as I call it, "a little wiggle room". From contemporary designers like Michael Kors & Calvin Klein, to Jones New York, Ralph Lauren & Eileen Fisher, I finally had choices. I felt as if I had stepped off the elevator into my personal dream closet. My body was important and valued and appreciated for once. I didn't have to dig in the back or bottom of the pile to find my size. I was home. For the first time in my life, I could breathe and with each breath, little by little, the weight started to come off. I'm not saying that my journey is over, far from it, but knowing that it is possible and working positively vs out of spite or anger makes all the difference. No, I wont ever be a size 2, and really? Who wants that? But at a size 14, I'm comfortable and myself. 

In the year and a half that I have worked in our shop, I have met some of the strongest women I will ever know. Women, like me, who never felt like they had a place in the world to be themselves, until we could shop like everyone else. Women, who worked hard to support their families, maintain social calendars and had to look damn good doing it. We could bond over our struggles and share positive encouragement to be better for the future. It was then that I was accepted for being the woman that I wanted to be on the inside, and not judged for who I was on the outside. I could allow myself to focus on building my confidence without always second guessing how I looked. It helped by having a whole new wardrobe and some fantastic supportive friends who, from the very beginning, saw me as ME, and not the "fat girl" who I thought I always was. Being surrounded in this environment constantly encourages me to focus on who we are, what each and everyone's story is, and using every opportunity to learn from those around us. It has taught me to finally be HAPPY, and that everything else will fall into place. We all need a place to let the walls down and just be free and HAPPY. 

My wish for this blog is to inspire the woman inside each and every one of my friends and readers to finally be HAPPY with who they are. I believe that women can change how they feel about themselves with encouragement from others and, of course, a fabulous wardrobe. This blog is going to be a culmination of imagination, information, fashion, inspiration and wit, proving to the world that "HAPPY girls are the prettiest girls."