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LOTUS, SHE / HER

TRIGGER WARNING: Eating disorder thoughts and behavioral content throughout the reflection.

The dark time ended my senior year of college. I found out a friend of a friend died. That same night I had a very serious stomach problem and aching teeth. I googled bulimia and I realized it had influenced both my mental and physical health. I questioned why people liking me and being attracted to me was the most important part of my life? Would they make me happy? Why do I care if everyone wants me? How are people going to appreciate or love me when I hate myself? Since then, I've started to open up more, letting the real Lotus out a little bit every day. I finally told my mom about being bulimic, and how hurtful her opinions of me were.

DESCRIBE LOOK 1.

This is how my mom wants me to look: tender and classy. She actually bought the dress I’m wearing and the high heels match. My hair is down which makes me look more tender and the pearl earrings add a touch of class.

DESCRIBE LOOK 2.

I wanted to balance the feminine and masculine sides of myself. I wore oversized camo pants, thick black leather platform boots, and a pink tank top. I think these pieces combine to express my empathetic, softer side while also showcasing just how tough I am. I like simplicity. Simple makeup and hoop earrings are a go-to. I’ve been pulling my hair back recently working to accept and love my round face. 

PHASE 1: A FOLLOWER (BEFORE HIGH SCHOOL)

There are briefly 4 stages of my life when I presented myself differently.

Before high school I befriended the popular girls in my year. We hung out, went shopping and gossiped. The cute boys would follow the group and even buy most of the girls snacks. However, they did not buy me anything. I wasn’t cute, I was tan and a little chubby. I was funny, but kids didn’t appreciate humor at that age.

I had to be a good follower to stay in their circle. It meant that I dressed myself exactly like those girls, bought all my clothes where they did, even when I found the clothes hideous. I knew there was another side of me who had an idea of what she wanted to look like, but I suppressed that to be a “good friend”, to be “popular”.

PHASE 2: EMO / GOTH (BEFORE COLLEGE)

Things changed when I started attending a different school, I lost the group of friends I had previously. High school was really serious. It took all of your time and energy, so if you went to a different high school then all of the connections you had were cut off, so I began shedding the style I had with the friends who were now gone.

This didn’t mean things got better. I became very self-conscious about my weight. People gave me nicknames that insinuated how fat I was. My mom suggested that I should work out more and skip my dinner.

So, I was so sensitive about the “weight” topic. I hid myself in black clothes because they allegedly made me look smaller. I told people I just loveed black and that I was a goth. Deep down I knew I was just a trembling girl who was scared to death to be called fat.

PHASE 3: A CAREFUL PLEASER (BEFORE SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE)

When I began attending college, I surprisingly (at least for me at that time) had some pursuers, which made me a little more confident about myself. But this confidence was so precious to me, I would do anything to keep those people around. I became a pleaser. I dressed myself in a way I thought guys would like.

I was so desperate for people to think I was beautiful, sexy and cool. I tried all kinds of outfits and styles, but honestly most of them were just slutty. As I became more popular and received more compliments I became bulimic. I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to be the most attractive person in a crowd. I love food so vomiting seemed like the only solution.

Not everyone, but most people I knew, they wanted to hook up with me, but I continued to hate myself. There are always people better than me: bigger boobs, longer legs, nicer ass, muscle lines. Vomiting couldn’t give me all those things. Vomiting wouldn’t make me perfect. It actually did the opposite. It’s disgusting. I was disgusting.

I’d wear tight, short dresses or showy tops. I would wear makeup to please others, but back at home I had my fingers in my throat, a bleeding stomach, corrupted teeth and hated everything about myself.

PHASE 4: AN EXPLORER (NOW)

I’m trying all kinds of outfits now and I find there’s a lot I love. I care less about how others will judge me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care at all. I'm still learning and progressing. I like blazers with my bossy face. I look tender and feminine in mini dresses. I go out with my leopard dress to feel sexy as hell. I also wear camo a lot because it's what I want to wear. 

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I still wish I had skinnier legs. When I see other girls on the street, I sometimes wish to be them. But I learned how to tell myself it’s okay, everybody shines in their own way.

WHAT DOES DRESS. CODE. MEAN TO YOU?

Magic. It came at the perfect time, syncing up with my mental growth and life transformations. This project didn’t come long after I made the decision to accept who I am and be who I really feel comfortable with, regardless of what others have to say.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU BEEN SCRUTINIZED?

My mom and friends have been judgemental. I know they care about me and want what’s best for me, but that makes their judgements even more hurtful and mean. They made me question myself, so I would dress and behave like someone I thought they would like.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU FELT EMPOWERED BY YOUR BODY + STYLE?

I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a feeling when I wear my funky shirt when hanging out with friends. Or wearing my high heels and a blazer during a meeting. Even wearing my comfortable, perfectly fitted leggings whenever I want. I feel happy, comfortable and free... finally.