My Makeover ~ From Deep Struggle to Personal Success

My Story

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been taking my blog in a different direction lately. I want to make sure my posts are as relevant and meaningful as possible so that I’m connecting with my readers on a personal level. Since my goal is to inspire women one step at a time starting with their wardrobe, I would like to take this opportunity to explain how I have been empowered through my own journey so I’m risking it all and opening myself up. In this post I am choosing to be vulnerable by sharing my own story with you.

As a fashion blogger, stylist and wardrobe consultant, I always have people saying to me, “You’re so tall and skinny of course you look good in everything you wear”. Some of my previous posts would sometimes work against me in this regard by evoking additional comments of this nature. So its important for me to make sure my message is coming across clear. What I really want to share with you today is that I didn’t always look and feel this way.

As an overweight adolescent, I tried every diet in the book. I went to extremes to lose weight and fit in ~ putting enormous pressure on myself. I yoyo dieted, compulsively exercised, and ate like a bird but could never get a handle on my weight. As a result, my self-confidence was non-existent. I never felt good enough. I simply couldn’t love and accept myself. As a result I suffered from depression and anxiety.

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Then, the unimaginable happened. My mom and best friend got ill and passed away from cancer at the young age of 50. This was by far the darkest period of my life where at the age of 22, my mother and biggest role model had been taken from me in a time when I needed her most. My anxiety and depression went from bad to life threatening.

Feeling lost and depressed, my hero of a father suggested I go away to school. I wanted to get as far away from Toronto as possible, so off I went to teachers college in Australia~ that’s what all the girls around me were doing. Not knowing what I wanted out of life I just kind of followed, but the truth is since I was a little girl, I always loved fashion and I quickly learned that running away from my problems wasn’t going to solve them.

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A year later I came home still feeling depressed and grieving over the loss of my mother. Miraculously, with the love and support of my now husband, family and friends, I dug myself out of that dark hole through intense therapy and a lot of hard work. I vowed I wasn’t going to waste another second of my life thinking about what others thought of me ~ life was simply too short. So I made the decision to love and accept myself 100%. The woman I was, the woman I am and the woman I will never be.

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A main part of my journey to self-acceptance included living a healthier, more active lifestyle. I started to make smarter choices about what I was eating. As a result, I started to look and feel better and felt the strong urge within me to present myself more confidently. My passion for fashion was back!

My mom was my biggest inspiration. I used to watch her, she was always so classic, chic and well put together. Largely because of her, fashion was the one thing that always gave me a rush ~ deep down I always knew it was my passion, but as an adolescent I never tapped into it because the confidence was simply not there.

When I was home with my kids on maternity leave from teaching, I started to notice other women around me, in particular moms who seemed to have given up on them selves. I noticed unhappy women wearing black all the time or living in their sweatpants. This used to be me so I totally understood! Women were getting too comfortable and were stuck in a rut. Having been there myself, I felt a strong urge to help them ~ hence my mission!!! – To empower woman through their wardrobe. It became my purpose to educate, build self-confidence and inspire.

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So I had a choice: Would I go back to teaching where I didn’t feel true passion or excitement for my career? Is that the sort of example I wanted to show my kids? I decided to go for it – I went back to school, became a fashion stylist and my business was born. The concept was to help women build their self-confidence through fashion and voila – Can’t Help But Stare emerged. I began by making a list of all the challenges women were facing around me regarding their wardrobe: before baby, post baby, too thin, overweight, concealing problem areas, enhancing assets, frumpy clothes, wearing only black. I started with all of my friends and I realized, hey I can actually help these women ~ touch and inspire them, empower, and build them up. The feeling I got was so incredibly fulfilling. I had rediscovered my passion and purpose and I have never looked back.

Thank you so much for giving me the space to be completely vulnerable. Really appreciate you taking the time to read and my hope is that you can resonate with my journey in some way. Have the most wonderful day 🙂

Renata, xo

10 thoughts on “My Makeover ~ From Deep Struggle to Personal Success

  • October 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm
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    Thanks for sharing! Your post was very inspirational; makes me want to do what I love- now on to figuring out what that is 🙂

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    • October 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm
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      Thanks so much Ziv – so happy I could inspire you in sharing my truth. Good luck with discover your passion!!! xo

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  • October 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm
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    Wow Renata! What an inspirational story! I’m glad you decided to share this with us because I love it! You come a long way and the best is yet to come :-). I have to say, you look beautiful either way, but I understand being fit isn’t just about looking good, but mostly being healthy! Kuddos to this post darling!Xo
    Edwige | http://www.hypnozglam.com

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    • October 8, 2014 at 9:43 pm
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      Wow – Thank you so much for the love Edwige. Appreciate your kind words and support xx

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  • October 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. You’re doing some amazing stuff! Never stop:)

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    • October 10, 2014 at 12:33 am
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      Thank you so much Maya. Appreciate your kind words!!! You’re right, it wasn’t easy LOL Definitely turned my stomach upside down, but my gut told me it was the right thing to do 🙂

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  • October 13, 2014 at 10:46 pm
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    Hi Renata! I just wanted to tell you how much your story touched my heart. As someone who has personally struggled with a poor body image her entire life, I felt a real connection to the challenges that you faced. I never felt thin enough or good enough; and as a result, I spiraled into a decade of anorexia in my twenties. And you are right, it is really hard work to accept and love yourself. I still work at it every day.

    I have also found that fashion blogging has saved me in so many ways. I get to meet people like you who inspire me and share a passion for something I have loved since I was a little girl. I have also been waiting to share my own story and your post has given me the courage to open up to my readers. I am truly sorry for the loss of your mother. I imagine she is looking down on you and is so proud of your inner strength, ambition, and desire to help others. I am so glad I found you in the world of fashion blogging! Your friend, Lauren http://www.ginnysclosetblog.com

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    • October 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm
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      So incredibly touched that I was able to inspire you to share your story. It’s not easy, but it’s completely liberating. Thank you sooo much for your kind words ~ really appreciate it! Good luck with your post! Can’t wait to see it ~ it’s all about inspiring and empowering women, wonderful to know that we are not alone. Take care!!! xx

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    • October 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm
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      Thank you so much Lena – so happy you enjoyed it!

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