“Tell us a little about yourself.”
Ugh, I cringed. I hate being asked to talk about myself. Who am I? How was I supposed to help them understand who I was when I don’t even know myself? And, at that point in my life, I hated myself.
So, it was hard to answer the smiling older lady running the church activity as we all went around the room and introduced ourselves. Most women talked about their kids and careers while I simply answered, “I’m married.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I had no kids, a career, or was a student. I sat at home all day sleeping and watching TV.
What I didn’t know at that moment was that I struggled with major depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder.
The next five years were spent in and out of the eating disorder treatment center and mental hospital as I tried to painfully piece my life back together.
Before this, I had an amazing career working with middle school students in the STEM program at the university. Right after I got that job, I went shopping for professional clothes. I bought a bunch of slacks and dress shirts, which is what I wore all day every day.
I’m not a fashionable person, I usually lean towards wearing whatever is most comfortable. So, professional business attire did not fit my personality, but I made it work.
As my need to lose weight, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts became worse, I had to leave my job.
My ability to function was at zero. Being either at home or in and out of the treatment center, my sense of worth was nonexistent. I hated everything about myself and my body. I wore only leggings and oversized t-shirts day after day.
One day my therapist asked me why I didn’t wear anything besides legging and t-shirts. I explained that they were comfortable and because I was so ugly there was not any point of trying to look nice.
For someone who wasn’t into fashion or style, my eating disorder made me put a lot of stock into each piece of clothing that I had. After a lot of prodding from my therapist, dietitian, and husband, I finally packed up all my old clothes that no longer fit. These included all my nice slacks and dress shirts from my workdays. For being a bunch of clothes that I didn’t even enjoy wearing I cried a lot as I gingerly placed each clothing item in the donation box. Because to me, it meant that my so-called “fat clothes” were too small, and to recover, I would have to get to a point of accepting my new weight.
Over the years and with excruciating effort, I was at a point where I could work again.
After dabbling in different jobs, I ended up at my current job, Halftee Layering Fashions. This job is perfect for me and I truly love it and the people I work with.
My biggest concern when I started was that I’m not into fashion or style. But as I’ve worked at Halftee and started wearing these layering pieces regularly, I better understand clothing. I’ve learned that clothes are just clothes. They do not define my worth. If something doesn’t fit, I throw it out and get a new one. Clothes are tangible items that I can use to express myself.
I no longer feel like I must dress in professional business attire or wear only leggings and t-shirts.
I’ve been able to find my own middle ground. I can wear my comfortable Halftees with cute shirts and leggings and look like I made an effort in getting ready for the day. I’ve discovered that my personal style is simple, cute, and comfortable clothes that make me feel good about myself.
As I have continued to work weekly with my therapist and dietitian, and actively studied out of the Body Image Workbook, Intuitive Eating Workbook, and Beyond Beautiful, I have been able to better accept my body and my weight. The truth is that regardless of what my weight has been in my life, I always saw myself as fat and was completely miserable. That goes to show that the issue was never with my weight but the way I saw myself. I still have a long way to go as I continue to love myself and my body but I’m so proud of how far I have come.
No longer am I upset being asked to tell a little about myself.
I don’t hate who I am anymore and feel excited to share my newfound joy with others.
So, who am I? I’m Krista Nelson. Because I struggle myself, I am an advocate for people battling mental illness and eating disorders through my personal blog and social media. I am the current Social Media Specialist at Halftee Layering Fashions. In my spare time, I can be found playing with my cats, fostering kittens, or watching movies with my husband. Oh, and I love anything Disney!