Throughout my childhood and into my teenage years, I found myself hiding in long sleeved t-shirts and other garments that specifically covered my arms.

In middle school, I was a healthy weight, but despite my participation in sports and normal, pre-teen lifestyle, I couldn’t shake my hatred for my arms. My insecurity was only heightened by other middle schoolers teasing me relentlessly.

As a result, I swore off strapless and spaghetti-strap tops for the entirety of high school. I even went so far as to order a long-sleeved prom dress off the internet.

I was always envious of the confidence exuded by the girls proudly displaying their shoulders and arms. However, this envy never pushed me to explore these revealing tops on my own.

It was not until I entered my college years that I decided to fully embrace self-love and say, “Eff the haters, I love my arms.”

My exploration into arm exposure started when I was working in retail. The longer I paced around the boutique staring at the cute, strappy tops, the more I longed for them.

Thus, I decided to take the plunge. It started with one corset-style top, then evolved to strappy dresses and fluttery-sleeved blouses.

The more I experimented, the more I realized that I had nothing to hide – nothing to be ashamed of. My arms are remarkably normal. Sure, they may be larger that someone else’s, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t flaunt what I’ve got.

Strappy tanks and flowy dresses are not reserved to one specific body type. Everyone is entitled to wear what makes them feel great.

If your confidence comes from long-sleeved blouses and pencil skirts, rock it. If you lean toward backless dresses, you go. No matter what style you teeter toward, own it.

You deserve to wear what you want to wear, and you shouldn’t limit yourself because some middle school boy teased you over a decade ago.

Fashion is a pivotal part of self-expression. So, if you’re interested in branching out and experimenting with new pieces, this is your sign.

Since my adoption of spaghetti-straps, I’ve felt more myself and more comfortable in my own skin. I hope that everyone is able to feel this level of confidence and comfortability.

Ultimately, the path to self-love is long and winding, but everyone deserve to get there.