My name is Paxyshia (Pah-see SHE-ah) “Pa” Yang, and I am a fashion enthusiast. I could say I’m a blogger or YouTuber, but I really only post about my outfits on Instagram (what brands they are and where I bought them from). It has also never felt all that right to say I’m a blogger. Maybe I am and I just don’t know it, but I know I love doing what I do. It’s been an incredible build up in the last 3 years, albeit slow, but I am so genuinely grateful for all the things I’ve received.
I get many amazing messages from strangers online, people in my everyday life, and even newly found friends, telling me how I’ve helped them become more confident in their own skin and the clothes they love wearing. It’s so great to be hearing about their stories of strength, and to be able to hear them from just posting photos on social media is truly mind-boggling. They’re all so inspiring and I’m really never going to be able to thank them enough for inspiring me to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s so comforting knowing I can help people in that way because it really just started for fun (with the hope it would lead to more), but with that as a benefit I really can’t complain.
Getting into posting photos and being more aware of what I represent and who I am is actually such a huge deal. Since I was young, I’ve always tried to define myself. I started simple: girl, age, what grade I was in, how many siblings I have, where I was born, etc. As I grew up, I began questioning myself with more elaborate ideas: Where do I belong? Who are my friends? What hobbies am I into? How can I make that productive? And about 5,000 other questions that no one needs to even begin thinking about. It wasn’t until I left college that I began to re-evaluate what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become.
Clothes and fashion were really the only things for me that gave me that bounce back. It was the only thing I had control over and that helped me shape myself into who I am today. It may be the print, the color scheme, or the way the garment is being worn, and it makes me feel beautiful and comfortable. It makes me smile and gives me courage to laugh loud and say what’s on my mind. It’s made me accept the beauty of my own body along with the beauty I wear. I think it’s so crucial for young people to wear things they love because to have that love and reassurance of our selves is power. As long as it’s for you, nothing else matters.
Having that awareness of what my body is like helped me realize how corrupt a lot of things are. The way people treat any body that isn’t what is shown in the media is a shame. I think back to when I was young and all the mean things people said to me, or the look they gave me when I would walk by. I felt really ashamed growing up. I remember being in the 6th grade and trying to plan how I was going to lose 100 pounds from my 120. I hated my body down to the core. But if someone had told me then that I would eventually be filled with so much more love and inspiration, and be attending cool events with my best friend, I would have labeled it a dream too far away to be reached.
It’s the idea that “fat” is a synonym to the word “ugly” that ruins us. It’s the people glorifying a size 2 when the average in 2016 is a size 16. It’s the idea that comparing yourself to someone who is not you and could never be you, is normal. We are born to be who we are, and we can change whenever we want and how we want, but when it is forced on us by some imaginary standard of beauty, we do not need to conform to it. We do not need to live by it. We are our own beauty.
I would love to see people of all different races, backgrounds, and all spectrums of sexuality and gender, be included in the beauty and fashion world. Representation is so incredibly important and that starts at a young age. Because I never saw someone who looked like me and showed me that it was okay to be who I was, I struggled for a long time trying to get validation from others. Whether it be a parent, a celebrity, or a fictional character, it’s important for people to see themselves in strong and inspiring roles and know it’s okay to be who they are and that they can be great too. There is power in that, and it’s so simple if everyone could have a fair chance and be appreciated for who they are. Institutionalized racism, sexism, and ableism are all examples that hold people with incredible art and passion back. It’s lacking in this “one type of beauty world,” but if people are able to see someone like themselves doing and succeeding in amazing things, it can inspire them who in turn can inspire others. They can give a whole new meaning to what beauty really is.
The business needs some fixing, obviously, and I’d love to see it do a complete 180. With the recent progress made with models and designers breaking the mould, I’m proud to be apart of it, even if it’s just in a small way. It’s also nice seeing it closer to the ground, with just regular people on social media trying to help change the tide of the beauty and fashion industry. It’s real proof that representation matters. If there is even a small chance that I can become that representation for someone, it would mean so much to me. To be able to show someone they’re more than just what people see would be an honour.
People are their talents, their strengths, their passions, their love, and their kindnesses, and as long as we show people our own kindness and love, we can begin to change the fashion world, the beauty world, and the world in general with what beauty truly is.
Lastly, to those out there trying to find the confidence and the love for themselves, work at your own pace and do your best. Don’t compare your progress to others and recognize that progress is small but still progress nonetheless. Continue to love lots, play hard, and be kind.