Growing up in Ohio, I knew I was lucky to have a loving family and friends I had known my whole life. My mother was the breadwinner, and my father took care of me and my three siblings at home. I had a strong female figure in my mother (and the women she surrounded herself with, including many other women in my family) who taught me early on that my mind, spirit, and deep need to be a good person were my true strengths. I knew that we had privileges others didn’t have and that it was my responsibility to help others. We didn’t talk about our bodies or self esteem; we just focused on being good people.
But when I started working in the fashion industry after college, I had put on weight, and pretty quickly I started to feel confused about who I was and what actually mattered to me. I wanted to be doing good in the world—I wanted to be like the women I grew up admiring, and I wanted to feel happy every day in mind, spirit, and my body—but I didn’t feel that way at all.