Any time someone asks why I started blogging, I always tell them the same thing– so I can find other people like me, and so they can feel like they are not alone. It was such a dark, lonely, and trying time as a new mother and seeing parenting perfection on social media just made it worse, as if I wasn’t doing a good enough job as a mother. That’s how Effortless Mom got started (the effortless part was on purpose and to be taken literally, as I always posted how I enjoyed shortcuts and parenting hacks, anything that requires minimal effort on my part) and that idea still holds true with Beauty and the Pleats today. Let me post photos of what goes on behind the scenes:
I always try to be as real as I can on here– wearing the clothes that I want to whether it’s “for my shape” or not, bending the fashion rules, and breaking the mold. I don’t photoshop myself skinny and if I have acne breakout on my chest and body or if I have a scar somewhere, it stays on there. I try to be as realistic and authentic as I can on my posts, only wearing things I really would wear, talking about brands that I actually use, and talking about my flaws and insecurities. Like my zits that never go away. Pretty sure I’ve had that same one on my chin since December.
Here’s one thing that I’ve learned about being present on social media these past few years: you immediately hold some sort of social media responsibility the moment you get up on your platform. Opening up your world to a bunch of strangers is not easy, but someone out there is listening and you will have an impact of some sort– whether it’s good or bad. The responsibility comes in with the message you are conveying to those that see your work. I’m not talking about just syntax or the pictures, but rather the ACTUAL message that gets funneled out of your words.
It truly hurts my heart when I see posts talking about how to cover up insecurities and how to hide flaws, because what they’re really saying is that they possess something below the “standards of beauty,” and that their readers who share the same attributes fall just as short. I find that irresponsible. And yes, I do wear makeup and post about it, but I find joy in beauty products and I wear it because it’s fun. Shit, I’ve worn makeup several times for no reason and without even leaving the house. I still have my own set of flaws and insecurities, but I sure as hell don’t hide them, nor do I tell other people to. I’ll tell you something though– for the longest time I’ve hated a certain part of my body but thanks to the people that I’ve chosen to surround myself with, I found it to be something I love. I’m hoping to make the same change on other people.
That’s one thing I don’t like about social media– majority of it is filled with people aiming for perfection while their following starts pouring in with the hundreds and thousands likes, leaving comments like “OMG how do I get your body?” or “I want your life!” and not being aware of the consequences it has on others, especially younger people. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great Instagram photo, and I think even mine is a “greatest hits” collection (who doesn’t have a set aesthetic for their feed amirite) but I don’t aim for people to start questioning their own style and self-love, that how they wear something is wrong or unflattering. I just always try to assure folks that what they often see is just a layer (hence my favorite tagline: did NOT wake up like this, and no dig at Beyoncé because I really am convinced she woke up like that, but I digress) and that who you are underneath matters the most. That you are beautiful the way you are, no matter your size or skin color. That you can wear whatever makes you happy. That if you’re like me and pack a double chin that appears out of nowhere like a wild Pokemon, your thighs touch and even make clapping sounds when you’re running SO FAST up and down the stairs, you have terrible acne and even worse during that time of the month, have body hair, have stretch marks, have a booty that doesn’t fit the last 5 pants you tried on, that you can be confident in yourself and that you are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. And you are beautiful.
I find myself more drawn to influencers who embrace their individuality while encouraging their followers to do the same. The blogging world has turned into a real-life magazine and a lot of times it’s not any better than the airbrushed photos you see in ads. Surrounding yourself with people who are unapologetically themselves is one of the healthiest things a person can do. This is why I do Diversity Chic, and why I love hanging out with like-minded women. There is enough pretentiousness in the world and I certainly don’t want to add to it. I want to have a platform where people can feel inspired, not inadequate.
photos: Stephanie Drenka