In the Philippines, where the regular height for women is 5' to 5'2", being 5'7" made me an overgrown oddball, which in nicer terms, we now call plus-sized. Add to that the fact that I have always been on the fat side and born with big feet (10-10.5W) has made looking for clothes, shoes and accessories a lifelong challenge.
Every school assignment or presentation that required a specific item of clothing became an event of Amazing Race proportions, hopping from store to store, mall to mall until the farewell music starts playing and the sales people start packing. I even went through a phase during my teenage years, where I stopped caring, or at least pretended not to, about how I looked because nothing would fit me anyway. It took a while, a long while, before I learned to accept myself and appreciate the body I had. Only then did I start consciously taking off the negative labels that society and bullies boxed me into all those years. They hurt like band-aids being ripped from newly formed skin, but the act was necessary to allow the wounds to properly heal.
I am a late bloomer. (I'm more than a decade late!) But, I truly believe it's better late than never. Every one has their own time and season for blooming. Even ladies in their thirties, fifties or seventies can give themselves a makeover if it makes them feel better about themselves.
Dressing up, and actually having options to dress up, gave me a boost of extra confidence and made me see myself in a new light. Now that I've gained a new perspective, I realized just how little positive resources there are for ladies like myself, especially here in the Philippines or in this part of Asia. So I did my research and found a growing number of plus-sized blogs and other body-acceptance sites that gave me so much encouragement and reminded me to love myself for me. Like a light bulb being switched on, I saw myself in these bloggers and realized that I, in my atypical size, am beautiful. I began to see how ladies of every size, height and race could be stylish, decked to the nines and feel proud of how they look. It completely changed my perspective--like wearing a pair of correct-grade reading glasses after years of bumping into corners. As a way of paying it forward, I decided to add to the numbers and start this blog.
I hope, The Belated Bloomer, can be a refuge for those who feel inadequate or rejected, for those who need a change in their mindset and a push in the right direction, for those who are searching for a place of support and acceptance or simply for those who want a place to hang-out and be themselves. By sharing my thoughts and my experiences, I hope I can be a positive influence and affect change in the way other women see themselves and how far they can go--if they find the courage to take the first step.
Cheers to all belated bloomers!