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How Wearing Lingerie Helped Me Fall In Love With My Body

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One of my first memories of body shaming is my mami telling me that my thighs were fat and that I shouldn’t wear shorts. She said it very matter-of-fact in a way that, I think, wasn’t meant to hurt my feelings but still left an emotional scar on my pre-pubescent body. I was in the 5th grade and, after that day, never again wore shorts to school. However, now that I am an adult, I’ve slowly learned to embrace and love my body with all of its perfect imperfections — and I do that largely thanks to sexy lingerie.

My mother’s declaration that I was a “gordita” and my family’s ability to put on weight easily (and never exercise or eat well), I spent much of my teen years and early adulthood feeling ashamed of myself.

Looking back at my early childhood, I knew I was different early on. Although my family had originally moved to Miami when we first came to the United States when I was eight years old, we eventually made it to the southwest coast of Florida where I was the only Latina I knew growing up.

Because of this, I was quickly confronted with classmates who were, well, nothing like me. They had quiet, calm parents who never had screaming matches like mine. They had tiny, skinny bodies whereas I have had large thighs for as long as I could remember.

Long before Jennifer Lopez made curves and big booties cool, I was struggling with body image issues and only seeing way-too-skinny 90s models in the media.

At the time, I didn’t know what body positivity meant or how I could get some until I was well into my 20s. In high school, I was overweight and eventually obese. In college, I lost 90 pounds but regained 80 of them after I started my first stressful job at the beginning of the Great Recession. All the while, I kept hearing my mami’s voice constantly telling me that I was too fat. She continued to say that to me throughout my entire life — up until the point that I got “too skinny” for her, that is. But deep down, I knew something was up. Life couldn’t be solely about gaining and losing the same weight over and over again.

Unable to maintain a healthy body weight on my own and afraid of what lifelong morbid obesity would mean for my overall health, I received a gastric bypass shortly before my 23rd birthday. But during my preparation for the life-altering surgery, I met with my doctor who taught me a very valuable lesson: He told me that he was simply giving me a tool to help me manage my weight. I would need to do the work myself in order to learn to eat better and, most importantly, grow comfortable in my body.

It turns out that I had been in a perpetual cycle of stress eating, feeling bad about it, and then eating some more.

I needed to heal my mind as well as my body before I could truly learn to love myself.

The journey to love my body seemed impossible at first. I didn’t know where to start, so I started by reading magazine articles about accepting my body and embracing my curves. This was the days before runways began to feature curvy beauties like Denise Bidot (and other plus-size Latina models) or you could simply search the #bodypositive hashtag on Instagram. But I had to start somewhere, so I started there. Then an ex-boyfriend recommended I try lingerie and I was HOOKED.

I began to scour the internet for scantily clad women in sexy lingerie. The caveat is that they had to be women that looked like me: Women with curves, big thighs, loads of cellulite. They had to look comfortable and exude sexiness; and not just because they were models. I wanted to connect with the women I saw in those images as much as I wanted to feel good imagining myself in their clothes. I discovered pin-up style in my searches and, soon after, the plus-size friendly clothing site, Unique Vintage.

I bought my first bikini on that site. It was white and made me look and feel just like Marilyn Monroe in those famous images of her on the beach (though she actually wore a one-piece). Eventually, I started to sneak into Victoria’s Secret and try on their lingerie. I was still too scared to buy it for myself in front of others, fearing their judgment, so instead, I would go home after each trip and browse through the lingerie on the Frederick’s of Hollywood site.

I fell in love with everything lacy, especially anything that was red or black or a combination.

Although  I owned several of these sexy things, I was still too scared to show it off to anyone.

I wanted to, but I was scared. Loving your body is a journey and, although I was at a weight I was finally happy with and generally comfortable in my body, I could still hear my mami in the back of my head telling me that my thighs were huge. It was an uncomfortable feeling and, to be honest, why none of the items in my growing lingerie collection included thigh-highs despite me finding them to be a very alluring look on other women. Just before my 25th birthday, I decided to do something daring and bought a Groupon for a boudoir photo shoot. The expiration date was six months away, so my promise to myself was that I would spend that time going to the gym and getting in shape, then schedule my photoshoot.

But I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, I let the coupon expire and tried not to think of it for years.

During that time, I continued my journey to loving my body. I learned how to nourish it by eating well. I learned to cook healthy meals because I enjoyed time in the kitchen. I learned to put post-it notes on my mirror that read “I love me for who I am RIGHT NOW” and repeat that mantra every time I got out of the shower, while I was still naked. I learned to not feel shy by walking around my apartment naked on Saturday mornings, making breakfast and reading my favorite magazines.

Little by little, I bought more and more lingerie — modeling it for myself in front of the mirror at least once a week — and learned to love my body more and more.

And then, just before my 30th birthday, I finally booked that boudoir photoshoot.

Nomi Ellenson, @nomifoto/Instagram

To be honest, I was terrified when I walked into the Boudoir by Nomi studio on a snowy Sunday afternoon just two days before my 30th birthday a couple of March’s ago. I still wasn’t completely in love with my thighs (though working on it) and I didn’t know what to expect. But photographer Nomi Ellenson was incredibly encouraging and shared with me her own lingerie and body positivity stories (her great-grandmother was a bra-fitter!). She specializes in photography that focuses on helping women feel more comfortable in their bodies and wasn’t just taking photos for someone’s boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day present. Instead, she made me feel comfortable instantly and even gave me helpful advice about which of the several lingerie outfits I brought to our session I should wear.

Ultimately, I chose my favorite sheer black curve-hugging dress and focused on red accents, like my lips and shoes. Did I mention how much I love that black-and-red combo?

Beyond that, the experience of actually doing something for myself was thrilling. It took over five years and, really, a lifetime of getting comfortable with my body but now I proudly have evidence of my lingerie photoshoot hanging in my bathroom. It’s a daily reminder of how far I’ve come on my body positivity journey. And even though there are still some morning when I wake up and just, ahem, don’t love myself very much, all I have to do is look at that picture and remember: Damn, I really do look good.

Gamora's Marvel Timeline Offers A Lot Of Clues On What To Expect From 'Endgame'

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Gamora’s Marvel Timeline Offers A Lot Of Clues On What To Expect From ‘Endgame’

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s epic grand finale is just days away and reviews about the series have already debuted. And while so many fans of the Marvel franchise are thrilled over the chance to see the Avengers reunited once again, for us it’s really all about getting a chance to see what end Zoe Saldana’s beloved MCU character Gamora will meet. After all, at the end of Infinity War, we were all pretty certain that she’d been murdered by her adoptive father Thanos.

In a recent interview with Esquire, Saldana confirmed that Endgame” was “such a top-secret project that even the cast is confused in terms of what is up and what is down… Nobody ever had a full script, you were just given sides like a day before you were supposed to travel to location to shoot, and by the time you would get there it turned out that those sides were inaccurate, they purposefully misdirected you, and now your sides are given to you an hour before you were supposed to be on set.”

To be totally prepped for what’s to happen in “Endgame” here’s a break down of Gamora’s history and what to expect from her in the new movie.

She’s definitely going to be in Endgame.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In an interview with E News lsat year, Saldana let it slip that she will be making an appearance in the fourth Avengers film. So we’ll definitely be seeing her in the big film once again!

She’s a holder of cosmic powers.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

She might not have them in the upcoming film, or they could make an appearance in a very big way. Either way, Gamora has a history of having cosmic powers which she received from Star-Lord.

Girl comes from the future.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Thanos snatched Gamora up from a future timeline and after he did so he brought her back to his ship. Keep in mind that Thanos’ timeline 20 years prior to the Universal Church’s invasion. This means that Gamora witnessed the devastation of her entire planet while also growing up in a timeline where she was able to see her people the Zen Whobris alive.

She has precognitive powers.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Gamora might have guarded the Time Gem but she didn’t use it for a very long time.

She was trapped in the soul stone more than once.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

After her “death” in Infinity War, many of us were pretty certain that she wasn’t actually dead but instead trapped in the Soul Stone. It wouldn’t be the first time for her either. In Avengers Annual #7 Gamora received critical wounds during a fine with Thanos. As she was dying Adam Warlock pulled her into the Soul Gem where she healed.

She’s not a turncoat, but girl has fought both sides of the same war.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In Civil War II Gamora fought on both sides of the war. She initially fought against Iron Man with Captain Marvel. Then when she learned Captain Marvel had kept information from her about Thanos she turnedo n him.

She used to be part of the Holy Guard

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Gamora might be a recluse but she sure knows how to play on a team. Keep in mind that she’s fought with  Infinity Watch, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Holy Guard.

She was in love with someone else before Star-Lord

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Yes the two make a perfect match in MCU but Gamora’s original love interest wasn’t always a half-Terran vigilante. She used to be madly in love with Adam Arlock.

She trained She-Hulk

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

She’s a great trainer and once trained She-Hulk to be come the champion she becomes during the Power Gem match.

She was a mother in another dimension.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Gamora and Adam Warlock travel with Atleza to another dimension to raise her after it is discovered that she is successor of the Anchor of Reality.

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