|A reflective photo for this reflective post :)|
My darling readers --
Hi, it's me, Allie.
Do you remember me? It's been so long -- embarrassingly long -- and I'm sure that maybe you've forgotten about me. I have so many things to say and collecting my thoughts has been a long, arduous task.
I want to start by saying I'm sorry. I mean -- I'm sure most of you have lives and worries and tons of other blogs to follow. You weren't sitting there waiting for me with baited breath. But I'm still sorry. It was a long time of no blogging with no explanation. I shouldn't have bounced like that without a word.
But the truth is, I went through a lot in the last year and a half and most of it involved reaching the depths of an emotional valley that I started heading down a few years ago. I will be opening up about all of that in upcoming posts and videos. It was not one large, life-changing event, thankfully. But the sum of a million little things pushed me to a very tough place. Inside this little brain of mine, I feel like I went to war.
To make a very long story short, I thought I let everyone down. I gained weight -- and not a little bit of weight --a dangerous, make your doctor ask "do you want to die?" amount of weight. I didn't feel like being "body positive" every day. I was tired of the lies, fakeness and bullshit from brands, models and bloggers. Tired of watching people buy into it. I went back to work full time. I wanted to just enjoy being married. I left modeling behind. I was tired of trying to lose weight and having it never, ever be enough. I didn't want to deal with what I call "brand politics," or what some would refer to as "inauthentic ass-kissing posts for small sums of money" (that's the technical term).
And in that mindset, while I sat paralyzed by that nagging "am I good enough" question, all while trying figure out what I wanted this blog to be, my worst "fear" about blogging came true. People forgot about me. Or at least, that's what I told myself.
How could I think myself important if people didn't care anymore? People who followed me surpassed my numbers. Bloggers who came to me for advice were now blowing me out of the water.
The industry passed me by, because of course, that is the way of the world -- things move on. And why shouldn't they? I was the one who was getting lost in thought and insecurity. All of this may sound shallow, perhaps even cocky of me, but I am content existing in a space where I always tell the truth, no matter how ridiculous it may sound.
And the ridiculous, inconvenient truth is, all of that kind of broke me apart inside.
And as for that weight gain? Man, what a mind fuck. Because in that process, Allie with the small waist, pretty face and flat stomach disappeared. When I gained this time, it went to my face. And my double chin. And my waist and belly. Suddenly the OG bodycon queen couldn't wear bodycon anymore. I had an entire closet full of crop tops and form-fitting dresses that could no longer fit me.
As I type this, I am painfully aware of how shallow it is of me to say that it sent me into an identity crisis. But depression is adept at tricking you into believing ridiculous things you would otherwise KNOW are ridiculous. The deeper I got into my brain, the more I asked myself "who was I" without the body, looks and followers I had before.
Who was I if I wasn't a model anymore? If I didn't have a following? If I wasn't considered beautiful?
It didn't matter that I was a smart, driven person with a masters degree, friends who stuck around even as I pushed them further away, a family that loved me, a beautiful new husband and a great job in the field I went to school for. All I could think about was how I didn't have ME anymore. How I didn't have a modeling contract or posters in the windows of stores. How I didn't have companies inviting me to events or magazines asking to use my photo. How I couldn't even wear the clothes I loved. And, perhaps the worst part, in my sad and emotionally torn mind, was that when people who met me in the "non-model" capacity saw older photos of me they would ask that inevitable, stinging "is that YOU" question. It broke me every time.
It was then that I had one of the biggest realizations of my life.
Allie, the woman who thought she didn't need validation from anyone, that person who had survived deep insecurities, an eating disorder and darkness as a teen, who swore she had it all figured out, realized that in fact, I had been living off of other people's approval on the most absolutely superficial bullshit of all -- the way that I looked.
But perhaps most puzzling of all is that I realized it was actually never about how I looked, my popularity or all of the things I mentioned above. It was the fact that I had not dealt with the depression that had been with me forever, hiding behind self-medicating habits and bad decisions, waiting ever so patiently for me to break. I had never tried to look at the root causes of why, in the dark corners of my mind, I felt so worthless while simultaneously selling a story to the world that I was completely in love with myself. That I was perfect. And it was exactly that contradiction I was living with -- me having a platform like this blog to talk about loving yourself no matter what -- that essentially put the biggest, fattest mirror of my life right smack dab in my face.
And just like that, I knew I had to let go of all of the "perfection" I was holding onto or drown in the process.
More than anything, I believe that God told me to put it all down. To let the story of Perfect Allie go. To lock up the "social media" life and step away to find the person I really was. Without 1000+ likes on photos or appearances on "top bloggers to follow" lists. Without a thriving clothing line or modeling career or articles written about me. To just know Allison McGevna for who Allison McGevna really was.
And I did. My life circumstances forced me to.
If you're expecting this to be the part of the story where I tell you that I finally looked in the mirror one morning and the "I'm HAPPY" switch turned on, or that, like some bad movie plot, I lost all that weight I gained, got signed again, and came back better than ever -- you are wrong. Because I didn't. I'm the same Allie as I was, only evolved. That's not to say that all of those things won't happen. But somewhere along the way, I remembered something better than any click or compliment could make me feel. I remembered, once again, that I'm worthy of love from God, loved ones, and myself simply because of who I am as a person, rather than how I look.
And so, this return to blogging will be different. Because I am different and my goals are different. This time, I want it to be what it was originally meant to be -- before I got seduced into the mind-fuckery of "social media fame." Before I allowed myself to care about shit that doesn't matter.
This time, I will fight my hardest to exist in the space where I really don't care what people think. To believe in the journey and know that it never ends. To know that I will make mistakes and that I will fall down. That I don't have to be the most beautiful or the most fashionable or the most accomplished woman in the space. It's ok to just be who I am, just as I am, at any given moment of the day.
I started blogging for fun and I am returning to that. To share my love of fashion and my truths. To talk about things that matter. To inspire. To interact with however many people take a moment to read a post of mine -- whether that be 5 or 50,000.
And on this journey, there will be other things I'd like to talk about. I went through a very dark depression. Even with a wonderful job and a wonderful man in my life and lots of "on paper" things that are amazing, I still fell victim to it. Because depression doesn't care what you look like or how much money you have or if you're in a relationship or even, ah yes, how many likes you get. It doesn't warn you it's coming and it doesn't care if you deny that it's there. It is real and it is difficult and it is plaguing us, mostly because we are denial that it is happening. No matter what brought it on for you, how long you've struggled or how deep it goes, it is nothing to be ashamed about.
So, perhaps in this iteration of my blog, you will say you don't want to hear all of this or that you don't like my fashions or a million other deserved critiques. But, beloveds, that is totally fine with me. I understand and I still love you and wish you the best. But I have grown up and moved forward after some of the toughest times in my life.
And ultimately, I have decided to come back home after that journey so that yet another one can begin. I'm excited to take it.
With all of my love,
Please stay tuned in the coming days for a video talking about women and depression. You do not need to suffer in silence. Please visit http://nostigmas.org/ for information and resources. *Note, I am in no way affiliated with that organization, it is just a site I have found useful.