Meet the Community: Elyssa's Story

I love getting the chance to highlight the incredible folks in the Arrayed community. Many thanks to Elyssa for sharing her story! Read more about her below:

Please introduce yourself to the Arrayed community.

Hi! I'm Elyssa Salinas-Lazarski and I'm a doctoral candidate in theology working on my dissertation weaving together Lutheran incarnational theology from a queer Latina perspective. I work with the understanding that our bodies are truly divine, that includes fat bodies, differently abled bodies, queer bodies, and your body. Our bodies are gifts that can experience deep sensuality and my theology tries to embrace that fully. I live in Chicago with my husband, two toddlers, and two ridiculous cats. 

Describe your conscious fashion journey. 

My conscious fashion journey began with getting to know Lizzy when we worked together and understanding a bit more about what fashion can be for me. I've always been bigger than my peers and I was wearing plus size clothing as a middle schooler, so for years I've felt like my my body was too big for the clothes I wanted. It was Lizzy who shed a light on this thinking and reminded me that clothes are made to fit a bunch of bodies via one size, and so it is the clothing and not my body that is the issue. That led me to thinking about how to find clothes that not only fit my body, but also my style. I wanted to fit quality pieces that I could invest in, instead of following fast fashion trends. I was introduced to second hand online shopping and started to really consider how my style could also connect to my ethics. I'm still learning, and really trying to lean into buying from shops like Arrayed and secondhand shops. 

What’s an outfit that makes you feel amazing?

I adore what I have on today! I have on a t-shirt that is a subtle nod to my favorite book series (A Discovery of Witches), distressed jeans, converse, and my favorite beanie. I have a shaved head, so keeping a hat close by for chilly libraries is a must! I tuck in my shirt to show off my curves and that simple style has been new to me. When I was younger, I wanted to make sure I was covered up and not embrace my curves because I was ashamed of living in a fat body. But today I tuck in my shirt to show off my waist, my hips, and my butt and honestly, it has been one of the simplest and most important style shifts in my life. 

How do you practice your spirituality day-to-day?

I sing. I sing a lot, including in my church choir and it helps me connect to my faith. My faith is grounded in my body, so when I sing I can feel my lungs expand, my voice reach notes, my lips form lyrics and it helps me reconnect spiritually. I found after singing in choir (and therefore rejoining a church community in an active way) I found myself praying more, but like angry or sad prayers in the car. I just start talking to God about what's going on in my life, in the world, and ask lots of questions. My daughter who is four also asks a lot of questions and has opinions about God, so talking with her is also a spiritual practice as I speak to what I believe. 

Do you have any advice or encouragement for folks wanting to connect their faith and their closets?

I think taking it slow, just start with a piece to see what it feels like to make a really intentional purchase and add it to your closet. Think about the hands that made it and maybe say a prayer for those hands. Also GRACE, give yourself grace because connecting spirituality to anything with more intention can feel like there's a right way to do it and there's not. Maybe it's simply giving thanks for the clothes that help you move through the world or the ability stay warm in cold months. Your closet is clothing a divine body and that in itself is a beautiful thing. 

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