2014: looking back before moving on

Ah it feels soooo good to be writing again! Although in my present physical condition, I can wait for a few more days..but writers, you’ll know this feeling..when you feel the words percolating in your head – you know that you Have to start writing.

Before I dive into the post proper,
allow me to explain just why there has been such a long blog break.

A few weeks after the fashion show, I had a photoshoot for local plus size magazine BIG (Big Is Gorgeous), which went gloriously well in all its old school splendour. The magazine featured a few of the girls who had walked the runway in late November. Here, have a look :

Group Shot

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My friend Annie and I

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C’est Moi

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It was SUCH fun and one of the nicest early birthday presents Ever!!!

A few days after the shoot, my left upper eyelid began to swell up and hurt. It was an eyelid infection – never had it before – so I spent the week before Christmas recuperating with warm compresses over the eye, consuming antibiotics and applying antibiotic eye cream.

Christmas was lovely but I still didn’t feel that well and I couldn’t put a finger on what was causing it. I was Really looking forward to the year end
– Hubster was on holiday for a month, one of my closest friends from Melbourne was going to stay with us for 2 weeks, plus the festivities – Christmas, birthdays, New Year’s Eve etc. 2014 was a little rough so I was looking forward to some relaxation and fun! The festive outfits were bought, the weather was easing up..what was there not to love about the end of the year?

Two things.
Another upper eyelid infection – this time on the right eye – followed by a depressive episode.

Try as I might, I just was not feeling festive or joyous. All my mind kept saying was “I am so incredibly tired of this year. I need to get away”. Which I couldn’t, obviously because my friend was coming to stay and there was much celebrating to be had since the birthday was coming close too. Now of course I was happy to have my friend here. And of course I was glad to usher in a new birthday and the new year. But I felt lacklustre.

The day before my birthday, I saw the Doc for the right eye. This one felt different from the left eye, it was noticeably more swollen and painful, obscured my vision and gave me migraines. Of course Aunt Flo decided to pay a visit right then. Oh Joy.

So yes, there was a lot brewing while I was away from the blog. I spent my birthday, New Year’s Eve and the first few weeks of the new year in a daze. I had to drag myself out of bed most days.

Poor health aside, I was reflective about the year and birthday that had gone by and it made me feel so happy and yet very tired. If not for the eye, I know that I would have found great joy in my festive ootd blog posts. But the outfits lay in a corner because I could not apply makeup let alone look at a laptop thanks to the eye, so I gritted my teeth and waited for the infection to dissolve like it did for the other eye.

But it did not, not until a few days ago.
The eye infection morphed into a cyst.
By the time I saw the specialist,
I was ready to take the next flight out of here and just disappear for a few weeks into one of my much loved solo retreats, which I have not done in Ages.

After it was ascertained that a day surgery needed to be had in order to remove the cyst, it was scheduled and I came out looking like this :

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At present, the cyst has visibly reduced and my vision is back to its normal myopic self (instead of not being able to blink the eye, let alone see anything). I will keep you posted on the upcoming visit to the specialist, I have a feeling it’s going to be all good πŸ™‚

The depressive episode has taken a good chunk off my usual slapstick laughs mojo, but I am doing better. I have crawled out of the rabbit hole and now it’s a matter of finding my way from here.

But wait, there is more…it’s all good I promise πŸ™‚

The curveballs of the year that I bid farewell to led to an intense paradigm migration. Last year saw plenty of emotional nose dives and grave disillusionment..and yet, it was also very special and had momentous occasions. One of the few things that kept me going was the blog.

Life is a lot like my favourite Dr Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

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There is a lesson to be learnt at every curve and corner. There is fun to be had. There are places and experiences to be explored. There are heights to be soared. And when the troughs get you down, and you cannot shake off that frown…
Just Remember Aarti,

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Oof okay lengthy explanation DONE!

Now let’s take a look back at the blog happenings of 2014, in a hopefully proper chronological order..

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The year started with the Love EVERY Body body positive workshop run by my blogger friend from The UK – Just Me, Leah. Every month we talked about specific parts of our bodies that we might otherwise have been too shy to speak of. The goal was to start a positive dialogue about the body.

The workshop led me to see the many ways I judged my body and appearance. It challenged me to look at the mirror and have a very good think about what mattered to me vs the societal propaganda fed over the years.

It made me realise that simply learning to love my body and Every body was quite a revolutionary act. Wisening up to the global body shaming chatter and Owning my body was easier said than done, but it could be done. I am eternally grateful to Leah for this opportunity to delve deep into the old wounds in order to make some headway with healing. Love you chicky xx

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I also began a collaborative fashion blogging effort with a group of fabulous women from around the globe, aptly named Curves Around the World. Every week, we pick one fashion theme or topic and have fun with it. The group has ladies from various parts of the world -Copenhagen, South Africa, Germany and the USA – just to name a few. They are a good natured group of bloggers that I am glad to have gotten to know over the course of the year. It is especially fun to see the unique flair each of us bring to the group!

I was approached by a few companies local and global to review their clothing. Some of them were new brands, others more established. As a blogger with a mere 2 years of fashion
blogging experience under my belt, I did not feel confident enough to reach out to companies or ask to be featured..because I felt I still had much to learn. So every collaborative opportunity that came my way surprised me and gave me such joy.

Local online ps store, Lurvehandles

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UK Store FD Avenue

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I was asked by one of my favourite new bloggers Joi of In My Joi to pen an excerpt on what the word Curvy means to me. It was a collaborative effort and this was the group pic posted on Instagram

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I am a body positive activist because I am a feminist. The seeds of feminism were sown from a young age, having curiously witnessed the ways of the world in my immediate surroundings and in my travels. My heritage and upbringing played a huge part in this as well. Indian women are viewed with such disparity – on one hand, we are sensual exotic brown beauties who are objectified and on the other, we are suppressed, mistreated and unheard. We are worshipped as idols in Hindu temples but our human forms are desecrated with archaic traditions, cultural beliefs and superstitions.

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Being involved in an organisation that looks after the welfare of womenfolk and speaks of empowerment, gender equality has always been a dream of mine. So when I made that step to walk through the doors of AWARE, it felt so right. Celebrating International Women’s Day with them felt like a privilege. Becoming a Change Maker by joining the We Can! Campaign – a campaign that strives to question our stereotypes on gender and to shine a light on abuse (for all genders) – felt fulfilling. A number of you may recall the short speech I gave for the campaign regarding my journey with body shaming and reclaiming myself through body positivity. You can check it out HERE.

Now that I look back at that speech, I wish I had said a whole lot more and been a whole lot less nervous! This year, I am sure I will find ways to get more active and productive with their endeavours and initiatives.

Soon after that, I was interviewed by my blogger friend Cassie of Style Cassentials to be featured as plus size and petite blogger of the week
on one of my revered ps blogger’s website, The Curvy Fashionista!!!!!!!!
I was pinching myself and jumping for joy when the article was e-published! To be recognised by someone I place in such high regard and who has been one of the reasons my fashion sense metamorphosed from boring garments to a rocking plus size wardrobe? Did not see that coming!

I have also had the immense pleasure of being featured and given much love by my followers across social media mediums. I am quite the Tumblr addict, Instagram junkie and my Facebook Page is pretty active (aside from right now because of the eye but that’s going to change!).

It is pretty neat to be a part of the global plus size community and body positive community and even more amazing to e-get to know so many bloggers, writers, fashion companies.
I have a little tight knit band of body positive sisters that I am proud to call my friends and fellow collaborators for #Untamed Style. This was conceptualised by Veronica of CID Style File for us girls above 30 and with a distinct (or in my case super eclectic) fashion sense who take pride in our uniqueness. Trends come and go, but style is timeless.

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Speaking of which, after I am done with this super long post, I will be penning the first Untamed Style post of the year! Yay! It’s so delayed (thanks to the eye) and I am so glad my girls have been understanding and supportive.

I saw an ad by local plus size magazine BIG announcing their very first fashion show and inviting plus size women to come for the casting call. Now I was interested, but I was no model so I decided against it. My friend Priscilla however called me and gave me the nudge to give it a try. I swear I was so close to not going on the day itself but my curiosity got the better of me. Boy am I glad I went! After a short holiday to Phuket, modelling classes commenced and we were coached by none other than local supermodel Hanis Hussey.

This experience led me to meeting so many fellow plus size local lasses and they are such a riot to be around! Gosh we were super nervous on the day itself and so exhausted by the end of it. Little did I know that I would also get interviewed by a journalist for local paper The New Paper to talk about my ‘weighty’ struggles of the past. When the pictures and video of the fashion show were shown to us, I was so proud of my girls and I. When the article was published, naturally there
were lots of haters but oh man the encouragement and love was incredible!

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2014 was one hell of a year πŸ™‚
I have not begun 2015 proper with the blog, but I am curious and hopeful to see what lies ahead.

It was a bittersweet 12 months and I cannot thank you enough for being there through it all. Thank you for blessing me with your constant love and support..It still feels surreal to have this wonderful opportunity to indulge in my fierce passions on the subject of body positivity, empowerment, feminism and fashion.

A South Asian girl typing from her darkened bedroom on a tiny island in Asia. Baring her soul, sharing her struggles and triumphs with people from all over the world. Learning to love herself one day at a time. Meeting kindred spirits along this path and finding our way together.

The next post will take a look at the fashion ootd posts from 2014. That should be good fun looking back at the variety of styles I tried! Once that post is done, it will be my New Year post, followed by a new collaboration post.
Better late than Never πŸ™‚

In 2014…my simple work motto was reinforced : Work hard, Keep your head down, Let your work do the talking while you work in silence.

In 2014…I learnt that we have to learn to pick our battles. I do not have to attend every fight that has been started.

In 2014…I learnt that you will find kinship in unexpected ways and places.

In 2014…I learnt that I really love being an introvert. I also learnt that I am less inclined to indulge in small talk or take part in activities that are not to my liking. I also learnt that I don’t indulge in even half of the things that I love to do.

In 2014…I learnt that patience is still not a virtue of mine, lol. I have learnt that if someone I care for is in distress, I tend to drop everything else to tend to the person and consume myself with worry. I am patient with everyone except myself.

And finally,

In 2014…I learnt that my body is no longer a warzone and I will not stand for rude body politics.

Chat soon my loves ❀
I hope you are doing well and please feel free to fill me in with how you've been keeping. Tell me what you've learnt from 2014 and what you hope to change in 2015..or maybe you have something you'd like to tick off the bucket list. I have missed chatting with you so much!

love and light,
Aarti Olivia xxxo

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5 thoughts on “2014: looking back before moving on

  1. HOLY CRAP. I’m glad your eye situation is getting better, dude. That’s incredible. I would’ve been a hermit forever if it was me. The last couple months of 2014 were crappy for everyone, I think. I had a mostly good year, I guess, but November and December were emotionally difficult for my gran dying to getting dumped. Anyway, you accomplished a hell of a lot and are definitely an inspiration. Keep going!

  2. You’ve had a helluva year! You’ve done so much so well and are a source of constant inspiration to me. Thanks for giving LEB a mention. ❀

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