Kick it like Stephanie

I started following Stephanie Yeboah about 18 months ago when I started my blogging journey.

I’m very active on twitter and I’m obsessed with the u.k, dark skin women, confidence and fashion.. twitter suggested I follow Stephanie Yeboah based on my twitter habits…

The twitter algorithm gawds hit it out of the park by suggesting Stephanie Yeboah to me!

She’s smart, funny and drop dead gorgeous!

Right on her twitter page she called herself a “Fat acceptance” advocate and I was intrigued.

I would never say the word “fat” in my life to describe anyone let alone myself.. I was raised that’s a bad word.

Not that my family what fat-phobic.

I was just raised that a word that could hurt someone’s feelings.. but I learned from Stephanie

“Fat isn’t a bad word.. it’s a body type. Fat is the shape of my body and that’s that.”

I never experienced anyone talk so boldly about they shape and be so confident… I longed for that confidence… I became OBSESSED IMMEDIATELY!

She was the type of creator I wanted to be!

It was the like the universe gave me a gift in the form of Stephanie Yeboah.

I rushed to her blog stephanieyeboah.com (at the time it was “Nerdabouttown”)

I dove head first into a Stephanie Yeboah black hole!

I learned that Stephanie had been in the blogging space many years, she started blogging as an outlet to law.

At first Stephanie was posting beauty content. Stephanie posted makeup reviews for women with dark skin.

She would try the products and give her honest opinion but Stephanie had a real love for fashion and photography so in 2014 Stephanie stepped in front of the camera and being posting full body content.

Prior to 2014 there was just no fashion to accommodate Stephanie’s size and style.

Stephanie loves mesh, bikini’s baby doll dresses and she slays every look.

With the “body positivity” movement on the rise brands began marketing to plus sized women and Stephanie’s blog and content took off.

Stephanie quickly became my online addiction because I longed to have that kind of confidence. I longed to be that comfortable within my body. I hated my body with a passion and that hate consumed my daily thoughts. I also I knew what it was like for your family to want you to be a “professional” and you long to lead a creative lifestyle.

I related to knowing what it was like to not be the standard of beauty and never see yourself represented.

Stephanie was the voice I wish I had.

I’m confident as hell behind a keyboard.

However in reality, I can’t look in the mirror and see anything I like. I look at my body and I see the stretch marks and I cringe. I barely look at myself with out makeup.. just enough to do my skin care and make up. I don’t gaze at myself in the mirror..I stand there analyzing myself when I dress making sure my outfits lay perfectly and don’t show any “rolls”

I was in a relationship for many years where I was fat shamed.

In fact I was fat shamed on the first date, but my self esteem was so low and my desire to be loved was so high I didn’t see the red flag waving in front of my face.

He said “you’re cute but I never dated a girl as big as you”

At the time I was 150lbs I’m 4’11 so yeah I had weight on me but I never had anyone tell me I was “big” I became obsessed with losing weight. The more weight I lost, the better my ex would treat me. Buying me clothes, handbags, shoes, weaves, nails. I got down to below 100lbs because he loved the way I looked.

I loved him so I keep getting smaller and smaller.

That lead to anorexia and several other abusive weight loss tactics.

I was always “cute” but I was treated better when I was sickly thin. It was better than always being called “ugly”

I hate that word.

I was instantly classified as ugly in my town because I was black and dark skin black at that.

I grew up in a suburban white town.. and there weren’t a lot of black kids and the few that were there, weren’t very proud of their blackness.

I was actually publicly humiliated by a my first high school crush.

He was black, I thought his jet black skin was so beautiful and striking. I’ve always been drawn to dark skin.

I was a cheerleader, wrote his football number on my cheek every week and cheered extra loud just for him.

I worked up the courage to tell him that I liked him. I brought a few of my friends from cheer, it was lunch time and I had a whole speech prepared. I let him have it.

He told me:

“I would never date no burnt ugly bitch like you are serious”

He laughed, everyone laughed, and I ran to my next class a puddle of confused tears.

I always got teased about my skin tone and I hated it.

My grandparents made it a point to show me beautiful dark skin women of all sizes I loved their beauty but I couldn’t see beauty in myself.

I was called ugly so often I just thanked God I was funny, I would dance and dress my ass off.

What I love about Stephanie is she exudes the confidence I wish I was born with it and carried daily.

I gave myself 5 years to “make it happen” creatively and be able to lead a freelance lifestyle but I quickly learned its hard work.

Especially being a dark skin black woman that doesn’t look like a supermodel 😅

I dreamed of creating style content and using my IG as a source of income but the first year of my blogging career I was too afraid to post pictures of myself because I was afraid negative comments.

I often wondered “How does Stephanie do it?!”

How does she make it look so easy.

When I’m discouraged, anxious or unmotivated I turn to Stephanie’s blog.

I really wanted to start showcasing my style and pieces I find thrifting on my Ig.

I was a bit scared because I don’t have a Chanel budget and I had this theory that in order for me to be a successful style blogger or even create style content I had to have luxury brands and I had to be thin and blonde to make a career.

I had this fear that being a creative was going to be like high school all over again.

I wasn’t going to grow or be selected for campaigns because I’m black with natural hair and I’m the wrong kind of black with the wrong texture of curls.

I noticed I was creating these blocks for myself but I kept finding successful black women in my space that proved my wrong.

Stephanie being the leader of the pack!

January 2019 I made a New Year’s goal to finally step out in front of the camera and share myself.

As fate would have it Stephanie wrote a blog post titled “Hot shots! Shooting photos in public”

It was like the universe handing me a sign!

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A small task like taking pictures in public is something that can cause me to overthink so severely I’m unable to leave my home.

I have had times where my husband would have to talk me through panic attacks to get me to leave the house and enjoy a date with him.

Your thoughts can be a prison.

My thoughts were keeping me from doing what I really wanted to do.

I wanted to be like Stephanie!

I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to be a full time freelance creative!

I wanted to learn to love myself they way she loved herself.

I wanted to be unapologetic… I wanted to be FASHUN😩

I decided to take Stephanie’s advice

I posted myself online and I began to showcase my personality and my fashion.

The response was amazing! I was finally doing it!

I was sharing my fashion!

Sharing my thoughts! My audience was responsive!

I started really getting into planning my front yard photo shoots!

I started tagging the brands I use and curating whole scenes!

I fell in love with style blogging! I landed a few deals, made a few dollars.

I had to push past the fear and silence my own self hate and self doubt.

Once I did I had a blast

When brands started to repost me and I would cry.

I never thought, I could do this.

I was so proud to finally be in front of the camera but something in me still knew in order to reach the level of success I want.. Stephanie Yeboah level of success I needed to leave my front yard.

I needed to take what I was doing mote seriously.

If I wanted to work with more brands I needed to show I was capable taking picture in public to model the looks I had styled with the fashion I was gifted or thrifted.

I was terrified.

I read Stephanie’s article in January but it took me 6 months to even step in front of my yard..

Stephanie posted these really great images of her signature leg kick on her Ig about a week ago.

I challenged myself to recreate the shots in homage to my blogging idol Stephanie Yeboah.

I was nervous and excited.

I was so motivated I woke up my husband at 0500 before I walked out the door and said

“BABE! WE’RE GOING TO OLD TOWN OVER THE WEEKEND! I NEED TO KICK MY LEG LIKE STEPHANIE!”

He’s used to me dragging him on adventures at this point.. he sleepily agreed went back to bed and I went to began to spam him with Stephanie photos to prepare for the shoot.

Prior to this weekend 90% of the photos on my feed were taking with my iPhone.

I purchased a DSLR camera in March but I mainly shot food. I never dreamed of having anyone turn the camera on me.

Chris is taking photography classes at the local community college, he’s very eager to practice and I was eager to crush my comfort zone and kick it like Stephanie and leave my front yard!

We did the first few shots in an empty parking lot.

It was a lot of fun actually!

Chris helped me place my arms and we worked together well.

I wasn’t nervous.. but we didn’t have much kid free time to get these photos!

I had 3 looks planned and I wanted to get every shot I had in my mind.

I was doing great till we arrived in Old Town Temecula.

Chris found a really cool tree stump he wanted to photograph me on.

I was nervous. There were cars parked all around the stump.

Some cars even had people in them.

I felt my pulse start to race. I felt my palms sweat. My stomach began to tighten. I felt my heartbeat in my throat and I heard the sick little voice in my head say:

“They’re looking at you and they think you’re an idiot!”

I blurted out:

“Everyone is looking at me and I’m starting to panic. We need to leave! I think the car is in a red zone! I swear I’m gonna die! Let’s go! I don’t want the shot that bad!”

Chris talked me down by saying “They’re looking at you because you’re jumping up and down on tree stump in a pretty skirt kicking your leg really high.. just keep going you’re going to love the pictures trust me”

Once I relaxed I had fun!

I stopped caring about who was around me.

I stopped caring about what they thought about. I was happy to be doing what I loved.. in public!

I conquered a huge fear thanks to Stephanie Yeboah.

I look at Stephanie’s pictures and career and I pray for just a fraction of her success and modeling skill.

She’s my mentor in my mind.

Stephanie has taught me more than just kicking my leg into the air.

Stephanie taught me to stop chasing “Likes”

Stephanie creates for the big picture. She creates for those who don’t see themselves represented. She advocates for more than just body positivity.

She forces her readers to examine the ugly in this beauty and fashion industry.

I learned to accept people and myself who I am.

I don’t look like the typical “blogger” or “influencer” and that’s ok.

We’re not all supposed to look alike.

I have flaws buck teeth, chipped teeth, stretch marks, weight that I wish would magic transfer to my booty.

I learned to love those flaws because honestly they’re a part of who am I and what makes me beautiful.

I felt so good yesterday! I felt vibrant and beautiful! I had a blast showing off my $3 blouse!

(👉🏾Obsessed with this $3 blouse)

There’s a whole world for Chris and I to shoot in and I’m so grateful for Stephanie and her content because I don’t think if I would have ever left my front yard if I didn’t see Stephanie’s content.

There are several kinds of beauty.. the key is finding comfort in YOUR skin everywhere, all the time.

I think we people tend to build boxes made of comfort and safety that keep them trapped.

You have the kick threw that box! It’s so much fun outside your front yard.

Take the risk… kick your leg.. you won’t regret it I promise.

Be excellent to each other ✌🏾

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