Since 2015, I’ve written an annual blog post called “A Year of Loving Myself” where I chronicle the decisions, choices and changes that have created my radical self love journey for the previous twelve months. I can proudly say that with God’s help, seven years of radical self love have resulted in a complete reset of my life. The results of my journey are visible and invisible, tangible and intangible, spiritual and physical. They say that after about seven years of cellular replication, you’re an entirely new collection of cells, inside and out. So, I guess I’m right on time.
If you’ve been with me since my first “a year of loving myself” post in 2015, it truly touches my heart that you’ve stayed with me this long. If you’re new here, welcome.
CeCe Olisa’s Self Love Journey: Year by Year
2015: The Blow Up Year
A year of loving myself 2015 – The TLDR is that I started therapy, broke up with my boyfriend, quit my job, put sisterlocks in my hair, and started theCURVYcon all in the same year.
In the past, I referred to 2015 as the year I blew up my life. Now, I think of it as the year that I surrendered to God, planted seeds to grow into my future self. I let go of things, hoping and believing that good and better things were on the way.
I made my very first vision board. I started journaling again.
The breakup made room for new love in my life. Quitting my corporate job gave me the bandwidth to become a successful entrepreneur. Putting my natural hair into sisterlocks unlocked a whole new level of self love. By trusting God, letting go of my life as I knew it, releasing what didn’t serve me and planting seeds for my future, I took a big step in the right direction for my life.
2016: The Struggle Year
A year of loving myself 2016 – The TLDR is that I regretted all the decisions I made in 2015. I wanted my man back. I wanted my job back. If this was the payoff for following my dreams, I wanted a refund.
There’s something that happened in 2016 that I haven’t told you about. My community has grown a lot over the last few years and while I’m so grateful for you dolls, being vulnerable with 100,000+ people at a time has it’s challenges. I don’t rush to tell you dolls all of my business like I used to, but after praying about it, I feel that this part of my story is important for you to know.
I’d like to talk to you about the big D-word (*ahem* stay focused, dolls)
I’m talking about… Depression.
When my therapist first mentioned that I might have depression, my response was something like:
Depression? Me? No way…
First of all, I’m saved, sanctified and washed in the blood of the lamb so how dare you suggest that I could be depressed!
Secondly, have you seen my life? What do I have to be depressed about? Now those other people with real problems? They have a right to be depressed, not me.
Thirdly, even if I happened to be depressed, the joy of the Lord is my strength so I’ll just take it to the altar on Sunday.
Conversations with my therapist went on like this for about two years and every time she mentioned that I may have depression or be depressed, I would get really frustrated with her like she was confusing me with someone else.
Then slowly, session after session, I began to open myself up to the idea that maybe my untreated mental health was tied to some of the things that had challenged me my whole life– including my weight. I began to write in my journal…
My therapist says I’m self medicating and using food to treat my depression and low serotonin levels. What if she’s right?
What would happen if I stopped using food to treat my depression? What if I embraced a medical treatment for my depression?
After some research and a few additional appointments with my other doctors, I made the decision to begin taking an anti-depressant called Bupropion (Wellbutrin). You may be curious about what it feels like to take an anti-depressant– I have only ever taken bupropion and the best way I can describe what it feels like to be on bupropion is to say that I feel 100% of my emotions– I don’t feel numb or anything like that. I cry, I get frustrated, angry, happy, excited. I feel the highs and the lows of life. The difference is that without bupoprion my lows can get really low and stay low for a very long time. With bupropion, my emotional “bounce back” is quicker and more reasonable.
Because food can be a big part of my self medicating during untreated low periods, I can look back over my life and see how intense emotional periods resulted in major weight gain for me. I even wrote a blog post about eating my way through grief, but I didn’t understand the medical term for what was happening to me– DEPRESSION. I hit my highest weight (almost 400 pounds) during a deep period of loss and depression (2014-2016). So, when I began to treat my depression with bupropion instead of ordering tuna melt sandwiches and french fries at 2am, it made a big impact on my health overall.
Which brings us to…
2017: The Remember What’s Important Year
A year of loving myself 2017 – TLDR. In college, I found out that I have Factor V Leiden, and need to take blood thinners for life. In 2017, theCURVYcon was in full swing, my entrepreneur dreams were coming true and in the fast pace of my career and fashion week, I forgot to refill my prescription for blood thinners. I ended up getting very very sick. Some of you may remember when this happened, you remember the details, you remember how scary it was and how God spared my life. I’ve chosen to take down those posts and videos for personal reasons, but 2017 was the year that I learned that my health had to come first. This is when I got super serious and consistent about my health practice.
2018: The Elevation Year
A year of loving myself 2018 – TLDR After years in my modest east village apartment, I moved into my first luxury apartment in Manhattan.
This was probably the first time that I felt like my vision board was coming to life. This was also the year that I gave my Tedx Talk “How to Build Self Confidence” which now has over 1 Million Views. If you take a moment to watch that talk, I hope it will inspire you in your own journey to self love and self confidence.
2019: The Glow up Year
A year of loving myself 2019 – TLDR everyone kept saying “CeCe done Glowed up!” and I was just happy that all the work I had been doing since 2015 was finally starting to pay off. I didn’t want a refund anymore!
As a plus size woman, I must go back to what I said when I sat down with WWD— I’ve gone from a size 28 to a size 18. My style has gotten exponentially better the smaller my jeans size gets and I have a real issue with that. Women should be able to express themselves through style. But it’s so hard for me to encourage a plus-size woman to be confident when she can’t have a closet full of clothes that help her do that.
My opinion has not changed.
I’m working on doing what I can for plus size women within and beyond theCURVYcon.
This includes my body positive body care company, cocoa by cece plus a few other exciting projects.
More to come in 2023.
2020: The Results Year
A year of loving myself 2020 – TLDR through the chaos of 2020, surgery for a torn lateral meniscus and putting theCURVYcon on hiatus, I was still able to support myself and maintain my lifestyle as an unmarried influencer and entrepreneur in one of the most expensive cities in the world. God is good.
Everyday, someone asks me if theCURVYcon is coming back.
Warren Buffett has a quote that says “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.” What does this mean? Things may look good and rosy up to a certain point, but if you’ve got all of your eggs in one basket, expecting a wave to come, and instead the tide goes out? eek! everything will be exposed.
In 2020, I expected a wave of success for theCURVYcon and plus size fashion– in April 2020, theCURVYcon had some of our biggest brand contracts EVER and I was ready to take plus size women to the moon. Of course, we all know what happened in March 2020. Those contracts were rescinded and some of the brands who were EXTREMELY committed to theCURVYcon don’t even serve plus size women anymore.
The truth is that theCURVYcon was built on a model that depended on fashion brands to care about plus size women with the same depth and passion that I care about plus size women. When the world came to a screeching halt, extended sizes were the first to get cut.
The tide went out and I found out I was swimming naked.
I told myself never again would I make the same mistake.
So, I’m working on it… and it’s taking time.
If God says the same, theCURVYcon will be back but there are some things I need to put in place before that can happen.
Thank you for your patience and support.
2021: The New Attitude Year
A year of loving myself 2021 – TLDR I moved to Brooklyn (even dreamier apartment!) I took long social media breaks. God and I have been hanging tough as I prepare for the next seven years of radical self love.
At this point, I know you dolls pretty well and I know you’re probably expecting a romantic update. Spoiler alert, you’re not getting one today. But I have decided to bring our plus size dating conversation back into my work in 2023 as long as my boundaries are respected, so stay tuned for that!
I am very happy, my family is healthy, my life is full of love.
When I wrote the first “a year of loving myself” post in 2015, I truly could not imagine the life I have now.
If you’re at a point in your life where you want to change your life through self love, make big changes, step out on faith and bet on yourself– I encourage you to do it. It will be challenging, you will want to give up, but you never know where life can take you over seven years, and beyond.
Cheers to an incredible New Year!
All my love!