Today’s post is a bit different. I was recently approved to give a talk on body positivity at the Hug Me Harry Brooch Lovers day out. Now I’ve never given a speech before (unless you count being part of the debate team in year 7) but being such a a believer in body positivity I jumped at the opportunity. My shop Daisy Jean had a small stall as well but the highlight for me was chatting to people I’ve only ever seen online and getting to speak about something I’m super passionate about as well as meet fellow brooch designers Martini & Slippers, Kirbee Lawler & Story Book Rabbit.
While sadly it looks like no one on the day videoed the speech in full, I’ve decided to share the speech I gave here for those who expressed that would have loved to have read it!
I’ve put the slides from my powerpoint into the points where they showed during my speech and in the section with audience participation have noted the response for you all.
For those in Brisbane, QLD Australia Kate is bringing her brooch lovers event to you all February!
Embrace the unique you
Hello everyone! My name is Missi or Curve Creation and I’m here today to talk about body positivity. Now before I get started, I wanted to do a simple show of hands just to help us get familiar with each other, as it’s the later part of the day now and we should be starting to get over all out jitters and nerves. First up, I’m going to assume everyone is hopefully going to raise their hand on this one. Who loves brooches? (everyone put their hand up)
Ok that’s good. Who here has say more than 10 brooches? 20? 30? 50? More than 100? 200? (I was surprised by how many people kept their hands up at 200) And who doesn’t count because if they don’t know how many they have they don’t have to acknowledge that they’re an addict? *Raises hand*. If anyone knows of a good Brooch Addicts Anonymous group I can attend that would be fab as I’m sure we’d end up enabling each other to buy more brooches instead of acting like brooch collecting is an issue we need to address. Am I right?
So today I have been asked to talk to you all about Body Positivity
and what that means to me. Body Positivity for me is really just letting yourself just be you. Body positivity and building up your own confidence is something I believe in fiercely because it’s something that for me changed my life. It’s something I really hope all women and men can come to have in their own lives. Especially in a society where being different can be frowned upon and standing out can be daunting. While brooch wearing is definitely on the rise, as we’ve all clearly seen with some crazy fast sell outs of brands we love, it’s still not really happening in mainstream fashion. I mean the only person I recall wearing brooches in the public eye when I was a kid was the Queen.
It’s still viewed as quirky and different and its crazy how something so small can make you more visible in a crowd or open a conversation with a stranger which can definitely be daunting for some of us. Brooches really are more than just pieces of material we pin to our clothes. As a maker myself I know there’s an idea, a process and a story and love that goes along with it and seeing all the different creations available at the moment is truly amazing.
But how does this tie into body positivity? I mean, it’s just a brooch right?
Body positivity like all things is an attitude and a mindset. It’s not something that just happens one day, it’s something that’s worked on over time and nurtured to grow as we grow. We live in a world of labelled boxes and people have an expectation that we should fit into these neat labels but in reality, we, as people, are much more diverse. We exist in a world where others are constantly trying to define us based on how we look as the first point of reference. People project their own opinions and beliefs onto us and the more visible’ you are in the world, the more this happens.
I used to desperately want to fit these labels. I desperately wanted to feel accepted. Prior to becoming a regular wearing pinup and retro blogger, I was actually a fitness and weight loss blogger in my early 20s and at my blogs height it had quite a following. I initially started the space as a way to keep accountable to lose weight because my then partner indicated I was too fat. Over a span of 5 years I ran my little tumblr blog, dropping 20kg and keeping it off for a number of years. I overcame some serious binge disorder behaviours. I got quite fit and trim.
But looking back the experience really showed me that the labels don’t matter because there will always be people trying to bring you down. At my smallest I was still relentlessly trolled for being overweight/fat/plus sized. I had massive issues with body acceptance and the comments I use to get cut me like a blade. I was also living with a partner who hated my transition into something I loved so much (retro fashion) and was also trying to bring me down around that. I retaliated to the negative trolls and comments I got and strangely the more I reacted the more it fed the negative behaviour, which in turn fed my self-loathing and it became a vicious cycle. Despite trying so hard to fit a label and be what I felt would be socially acceptable, it was never enough and in reality, I wasn’t being true to myself either.
A massive shift in this mindset for me came when I started dressing in retro styled clothing at around 23 and for me, this included that much loved item of the day: brooches. I got into retro fashion because it just felt right. I’ve always been a creative person and the prints, styles and accessories that encompass the retro look just fit me. I was actually interested in retro from the age of 17 but accessibility (lack of debit cards for a 17-year-old was an issue in 2007) and the belief I needed to be slim to be a good retro girl kept me from taking the steps I needed to move forward.
One day I decided jump and trust that I would grow my wings on the way down. Taking that step was one of the best things that I’ve ever done for me, not just for body positivity but my life quality and mindset. It gave me a sense of pride in my appearance. It gave me a creative outlet. It made me feel good about myself which in turn empowered me. I began to reject trolls and refused to become involved with any interaction that including judgement. I questioned my ex on things that didn’t sit right with me (which was part of the reason for our break up). I began to nurture myself instead of loath myself. I shifted away from a mentality that I “have to” be thin or look a certain way to be successful. That I don’t have to prescribe to a certain way of existing just because other people thought I should. I did things my way.
I used to hit the gym with my rollers in my hair. Apparently not something everyone was used to seeing that in the Sydney CBD. I’ve lifted weights with a beehive and red lippy. Worn petticoats and brooches to work as well as theme dressed for certain seasons. I learnt to let my own creativity and positivity flow through my wardrobe which empowered me to rise about the negativity of others.
Oddly enough as I’ve embraced this mindset more I’ve been more game to try some gothic looks that I’ve always loved, even though this doesn’t fit the prescribed “pinup girl” image. I stopped trying to adhere to the labels of society and just started to embrace what I enjoyed. The flow on affect has been incredible. This new self-acceptance that had begun to set in for me opened some pretty awesome doors in the pinup world.
For example, ironically, I never intended to be a “pinup/fashion” blogger. It actually spawned from people forever asking me about the things I wore. So, one January day 3 years ago I sat down and started my blog. Now I must admit I had no idea what I was doing when I started and a lot of people who’d followed me over from my fitness blog didn’t appreciate my shifted focus, a lot followed. But I found it became something I really enjoy. It gave me a platform to connect with people. It gave me a platform to share something I was fast becoming passionate about.
Before pinup I was pretty much a fashion victim. I never felt overly comfortable in modern clothing which meant my ability to put together outfits was pretty limited. I look back and cringe a little at some things I used to wear. But as I embraced pinup more, my own personal style grew. I have a massive wardrobe now. Over 200 brooches at last count (I’m not a brooch addict OK I’m an art collector) and pretty much dress how I like every day. Having the platform of my blog has allowed me to connect with some amazing brands and people and share some things I’m truly passionate about.
Being a brooch lover, I’ve had the privilege of working with Erstwilder at one of their trade shows.
I even entered Miss Pinup Australia this year and despite my health limiting my ability to be in the grand finale, I’ve made some amazing friends and done something I wasn’t sure I could ever have the courage to do.
Perhaps one of the most telling signs of my shift of mentality is that despite a weight gain the past few years, I’m still rocking my retro, I’m achieving some awesome things and being presented with so many opportunities. I’m still being true to myself and I haven’t let that stop me. Being true to yourself, in your own way is one of the most empowering things you can do.
I came to realise that what other people think of me isn’t any of my business. That I can’t control how others feel, only my own reactions and what baggage I choose to carry. As I stopped putting importance on these negative sentiments from strangers I stopped receiving them. The negativity has mostly stopped, and it shows how negative people seek out and feed off others negativity. You don’t need to justify your existence to others, the only opinion that is important about yourself is your own. You choose from there what other opinions you want to take on and I really cannot stress this enough. You don’t have to carry the baggage others project on you. You’re allowed to be and feel happy about who you are.
But on the flip side, it’s also important to remember Body positivity, self-belief, self-confidence like all things in life aren’t linear (21). We all have bad days when it comes to how we feel about ourselves, what we’re capable of and what we’ve achieved. And ladies this goes for me as well!!! I still have days where I have huge mental issues with my body, especially my tummy, but I know that if we try and embrace it we get better at managing it. Let’s face it, in a world that tries to commercialise happiness, buy our self-love and puts importance on always being productive it can be hard! Really hard.
We’re taught to look at failure as a negative when in reality failure is simply proof of trying. We’ve been taught being unproductive is laziness when really its essential for recharging. The media tells us constantly what we should aspire to in all parts of our lives when really, it’s important we discover this for ourselves, in our own way and in our own time. Let yourself move through the motions of the bad days and come out the other side. Life is an experience of positives and negatives but that’s not important. What’s important is how you decide to approach the days you are given.
Around the time I started my blog, I founded my own small business Daisy Jean . Daisy Jean originally only made hair flowers but in the past few years has expanded to other accessories. My amazing little business has helped also give me a platform to meet, interact and boost with so many amazing women, especially through my Face of Daisy Jean program, which is aimed at helping connect my brand with women to give them a platform to give back some of the skills I’ve gained over the years from having my own social media accounts. Being able to try and give back has been such a fulfilling experience and is one of my favorite aspects of my little business.
Now being a brooch lover and creative soul, I naturally wanted to make brooches of my own and found pretty quick its definitely a process. There’s a lot that goes into the process of design, creation and final product. My first brooches where, mediocre at best and its taken me 2 and a half years to reach a point where I’m feeling amazingly confident in my brooch creation, to the point I recently bought my own laser cutter. Business is probably one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done because I’m putting my creativity out there to the masses, so to speak. But business has also taught me a lot about myself and what I’m capable of.
I run my small business alongside my blog and I work full time. It’s a juggling act I never thought I could manage. Small business is a lot of hard work, a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice but if your heart is in it, its worth it. The juggling act can be hard but here I am, still at it almost 4 years on. Its another way to nurture my creativity and share things I enjoy, which is an amazing journey I hope to continue.
So back to those brooches. At the start of this speech I mentioned that brooches can make you stand out in a crowd and they really can. We buy brooches we enjoy and if we choose to wear them, they make a bit of a visual statement about us, whether that’s something as simple as animals we like or things we enjoy or just show a bit of a quirky personality. When I first started wearing brooches I used to get approached by people wo would comment on them and I wouldn’t know how to react. I was still finding my feet and learning to embrace who I am. Now days I welcome these sorts of conversations, though my favorite ones are definitely seeing fellow “broochies” when you’re out and about. Brooches can bring such job to our days. They can lift us when we’re sad. They make our day when they arrive. Even bidding pieces farewell to go to new loving homes can be an amazing feeling and they can connect us with other likeminded people when sometimes we feel like the loner. This entire day was made possible simply but us all loving brooches and I do truly believe that’s an absolutely amazing thing.
My point is that Body Positivity steams from the attitude we choose to engage it with … just like wearing brooches, or creating a blog, or starting a business… our attitude sets our direction. We choose whether to accept the messages that we receive from the media and society or embrace our unique selves. Body Positivity is all about understanding who we are and accepting that it is a good thing. Embracing the fact that we are enough just the way we are and working at loving ourselves as best we can. Sure, it takes courage to go against all the negative messages we have received. Sure, it takes work, Sure it is a journey of growth just like most things in life. Sure, it can be scary, but like any major investment in ourselves the payoff is well worth the investment.
I hope my ramblings have helped in some way to help you realise its ok to be you… and the biggest step to body positivity is to be your own unique you. Thank you for listening and please try to embrace the unique you – She’s actually quite beautiful and way more capable than you can imagine. Thank you