free of deceit; truthful and sincere.
We at Lois Hazel appreciate honesty in fashion, and also in ourselves as women. We believe it is important acknowledge our value and welcome self-care as a priority to self-expression.
We discovered @sunflowercitizen on Instagram and fell in love with her honest approach to health and gratitude for life. Emma’s written a piece about her journey to self-love we thought we should share.
The Day I Decided to Stand Naked in Front of the Mirror
I remember the day I decided to stand naked in front of the mirror to take a good, hard look at myself.
Not your usual Tuesday afternoon, is it?
Or maybe it is for you. Maybe Naked Tuesdays are your jam. Well sorry to say, but I prefer peanut butter. Food puns... too weird? Fine. Let’s just put it to, Naked Tuesdays had never been a favourite pastime of mine.
For a long time, my body was my prison. I didn’t like her, and honestly it felt like she wasn’t too fond of me either. The bumps, bulges, dimples, curves and scars that once made her wonderfully mine now marked me with shame. I had allowed myself to believe the lie that she was incredibly, and grossly, flawed.
A deeply ingrained thought about yourself, positive or negative, impacts you one way or another. A healthy self-appreciation leads to an overflow of love and generosity in your life and in the lives of others. On the other hand, a dwindling love tank leads to pain, bitterness and self-destruction. Not to mention it keeps you from accepting the love you deserve.
In the days leading up to that fateful and very naked day, weight, measurements and #fitspiration photos were plaguing my mind. I couldn’t stop myself from wondering why obsessing over weight and health didn’t make me happy. Why counting calories stressed me out. And why punishing my binges with restriction never worked.
Was happiness found in something else… like freedom?
Freedom in going out for that slice of pizza with friends on a Friday night, and not having to guiltily work it off the next day? Freedom in buying that slip dress you had been told “wouldn’t flatter your figure”, because you realised dressing for yourself is better than dressing for others? Or freedom in even the mundane… like catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, or in a window reflection, and feeling peace?
Plus, I was in this relationship for life. I couldn’t just drop her home after the movies and never call her again. We slept in the same bed, for crying out loud! I needed to keep trying to rekindle our friendship flame.
Eyes closed, praying aloud, I pleaded for vision to see myself with fresh eyes. Not for vanity, but for my soul.
When I opened them, I was nervous with expectation. For a heavy few seconds, I stood quietly and waited. As if a veil was going to be lifted.
First impressions don’t mean much to her, I initially thought.
There she was. That body of mine. Staring back at me, standing timidly in imperfect lighting. Not the kind of lighting you’d catch an Instagram model in while flexing their six-packs and twisting their booties. This lighting was harsh, and highlighted all the “wrong” bits and bobs that would have no doubt been photo-shopped off the cover of a magazine.
I rebuked myself for being a bully. Of course, she didn’t feel like smiling for me. Why should she? What was there to smile about?
I broke the silence first, with some humble words I thought I would never utter.
“Tummy, I am sorry for everything I have declared over you. I was wrong. You are beautiful.”
Apologies to every little part of myself I previously cursed over.
“Arms, I am sorry for thinking you were ugly. You help me hold the ones I love and carry bags.”
Replacing those tattoos of disgust with honest love letters.
“Nose, I am sorry for wishing you were smaller. You are perfect and exactly the size you are meant to be.”
Now... I’m not saying that these words magically transformed my relationship with my body. And that, like in all teenage transformation movies, we had a hilarious montage where I tried on different outfits, tossed scarves into the air and threw off my metaphorical glasses and realised I was beautiful the whole time.
Life isn’t as cornily scripted as that. Although sometimes I wish it was. But it did flick a switch inside of me. A switch vital in helping us make it through life as unharmed as possible.
Our bodies are one of our most significant relationships on this earth. And it’s fundamental that we win their trust and friendship. They aren’t someone we should criticize, prime and perfect. But someone we should strive to love, laugh with and care for. So we stand resiliently, even in times of hardship. So we experience joy, living outside of other’s perceptions. And so we freely move, knowing our worth is in something greater than a not-so-stagnant outer appearance.
For a single moment that afternoon, it was just me and my body. There was no pressure to ‘be’ or ‘look like’ anything or anyone. We were simply ‘us’. And eventually, after a few months, she… or I… didn’t look as scary as I had once imagined.
Beauty doesn’t only come in all shapes and sizes. It comes in all journeys as well. And I am on one right now, climbing a mountain with my compass pointing due north, and my hands jittering with both excitement and fear. My body has taken me this far, by herself, and now it’s time that I help her out. Because we still have a long way to go.
But I can’t wait to see what happens.