A Body Image Journey // Anna Proffitt

 This is Anna Proffitt! She is from all over the US! She is originally from Nevada but moved to Tennessee at the age of ten. She was homeschooled from kindergarten-12th grade and then attended to a small university in South Carolina where she met her husband. They currently reside near Dallas, TX. She really enjoys fashion, but she generally feels intimidated wearing fun fashion because she doesn’t think most things look good on her body. She says, "I am so excited to partner with Melissa and her body positivity series!"

Alwaysm: Tell me about a time you had a negative thought about your appearance, or body.

 Anna Proffitt: “So growing up I was not really allowed to wear, I would say ‘fun’ clothing. I couldn’t wear sleeveless clothing, I couldn’t wear jeans, I couldn’t wear shorts. Recently I have been thinking for myself about what I want to wear, and I have just decided that shorts and pants and sleeveless shirts are okay to wear. But, because I was raised that way where I wasn’t allowed to, I would still have my parents’ voices in the back of my head like, ‘What you’re doing is wrong. What you’re doing is not okay’. So, I really struggle anytime I wear something that shows skin, I feel very negatively about myself.”

Alwaysm: Yeah. That’s been pretty recently you said?

 Anna: “Yeah.”

Tell me a little more about how you worked through that. And how do you respond when those thoughts come to mind?

 “I guess the way I worked through it was by talking to my husband. He reassures me that it’s not wrong. He’s fine with it, and the Bible doesn’t have specific guidelines. It’s just about your convictions and what you believe and stuff. So I really worked through that. And I also really think about, ‘Okay, I’m not under my parents’ authority anymore. I’m an adult. It’s not something that I have to worry about- my parents’ approval or really anyone’s approval.’ I am really just constantly telling myself those things.”

How has that upbringing affected your view of the fashion world, and your personal style?

 “It’s really affected the way I view the fashion world. I mean, I used to think that if someone else wore jeans, or anything really, I used to judge them. I still catch myself doing that, and I’ve had to even change my thinking and tell myself, ‘No, what they’re doing is not wrong. They are just expressing themselves.’ And yeah, it might not be something that I personally would wear, but that’s not bad. And as far as my personal style, it’s really affected me. I have always felt like I am really creative, and that I have a unique style. Back before vintage was cool, I really loved vintage clothing. But I feel like I was also stifled because I was told what I could and could not wear.”

Totally understand that. Have you been able to come to a place where you like your own style?

 “Ummm, hmmm. That’s a good question. I think I’m still working on it. There are times when I still feel very self-conscious. A lot of the beliefs that I was raised up with was that a man is tempted by a woman’s body. So if I wear something that’s, not too tight, but is tighter fitting and I have a lower cut shirt I still feel pretty uncomfortable around other men. Because I’m afraid that I’m making them stumble somehow. Which, we all know, it’s a man’s choice to look. It’s a man’s choice if he decides to do something inappropriate. But that is something that I still really struggle with.”

Yeah, totally. It’s extremely difficult sometimes to ‘retrain’ your brain after those negative thought pathways have been fortified and reinforced for so many years.

How does this outfit that we chose for you express who you are, and how does it represent you?

“Well, the t-shirt is super awesome because it says ‘Mrs.’ And, I am a ‘Mrs.’ *laughter* Also, I’ve never worn booties before, and I’ve always wanted to. I’ve kind of wondered, ‘I don’t know if this is me.’ So, I am doing something that I’ve never done before, which I’m excited about. And, I love being girly, and wearing girly dresses. But I also really love the dark, moody side of myself and fall always seems to bring that out. I love dark colors.”

It’s like a touch of feminine because it says ‘Mrs’.

*laughter* “Exactly.”

Love it. Do you have any words for young women who are working through that, who maybe have been raised that same way and are feeling guilty at times when they shouldn’t?

“I would say, sit down with someone who has gone through those same things. And just talk through your emotions, and what you feel when you wear something. Doing the pendulum swing, and going completely opposite is not very healthy, either. So go slow. Maybe buy a nice pair of jeans that are loose and you’re comfortable with it, and kind of work your way into that style.”

Good advice. When dealing with extremes, it’s always very easy to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum. Well, I’m super excited about your outfit. Great job on your makeup, by the way. You’ve told us that have your own makeup tutorial Youtube channel. Tell me a little bit about how you got into that.

“Well, I was not allowed to wear makeup when I was younger, and so once I got into college I decided that I wanted to try wearing makeup. Then fast-forward four years I graduated, got married. When I got married, I didn’t really know how to wear makeup at all. It was super embarrassing for me. I was like, ‘I don’t want to go through junior high all over again *laughs*, so I started watching Youtube videos. That was super exciting. I was watching tons of videos over a year, and then I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this myself’. So, I started getting into it and started my own channel.” 

That’s really cool. There are so many women who don’t know how to do their makeup. I think what you’re doing is awesome.                     

 *This interview was lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

**Follow Anna's makeup tutorials on YouTube here!