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I’ve always been super skinny all my life. In fact I’ve been a straight 45kg from 6th grade to now (grown up me in my 30’s). I could eat whatever I wanted and would never see it affect my body. I’d hear people make fun of my siblings or cousins that gained a couple of pounds but could never really relate to them in that respect. So you’re probably thinking then what the hell do you know about struggling to being confident in your own skin, right? Well I admit growing up as a teen I knew nothing about body positivity. I loved my body and was a little awkward growing up but that was about it.
However everything changed for me and my body on one dreadful day. It was when I first moved to NY and was the tender age of 21. I was out at a party and was hailing a cab when a car swivel onto the sidewalk from nowhere and hit me. The next thing I knew I was in the hospital with excruciating pain in my right leg. Not only did both my bones break but the muscle in my leg died as well. After 12+ surgeries and my 2nd muscel transplant taking, my leg looked completely disfigured- not to mention I had to wear a leg brace for the rest of my life. The pain of it all was bad enough but what was more painful was the change. I had scars all over my body from the muscle transplants and skin grafts and my right leg would always look disfigured because of the trauma I had been through- I had to learn how to love my body all over again.
At first I would experiment with dresses and let my brace and disfigured leg be seen but after getting heckled by some obnoxious hipsters I decided I didn't want anyone to see that part of me anymore. I learnt how to wear my brace in my pants and subsequently after ONLY wore pants. This worked great and sometimes even my closest friends would forget I was wearing a brace. I hid my scars and my body from the world and this plan worked just fine… that is until I liked a boy. Getting intimate was the hardest part for me because I was just getting used to my own new body and didn't know how to help the other person understand my predicament. My self esteem had plummeted! Who was I ? I didn't love my body anymore. I had a sudden sense of shame and embarrassment with my body. When a boy tried to touch my leg I’d move away. I stopped taking risks and lowered my standards because when I thought someone was too cute for meI thought they wouldn’t accept someone so imperfect.
Fast Forward 10 years later- I’m still nowhere close to being as confident as I would like to be and still avoid the pool whenever possible. But here’s what I’ve learnt turning 30- loving yourself is a choice! You have to choose YOU every single day. And what that means is choosing to put you before anyone else, choosing to love yourself before anyone else, choosing to ignore other people that don't think the way you do. Your body is yours and yours alone so love it, take care of it and OWN it!
Most of the iconic women in the world weren’t stereotypically beautiful but they were confident in their own skin and that’s what made them beautiful. I studied those women, idolized them and looked up to them.
What I learnt was that we have to teach the world how to see imperfection as beautiful. We had a responsibility to broaden people's minds by showing them that different meant unique. And how do we do this ? Accept yourself for who you are. Be confident in you and your body and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!