Summer is around the corner! It’s the season when everybody shows off more skin! As everything is slowly opening back up after the Covid-19 LockDown, people are getting ready to socialize again. Like flowers, they long to show off their beauty and spread a delicious fragrance everywhere!
Personally, I love the warmth of the sun during this season but when I was younger I would never get excited. I can hear you thinking, what is the reason for this? Well, to be honest this article will be one of my most vulnerable ones ever written. So please, have mercy on my soul while reading.
Growing up as a child I developed an ‘inferiority complex’ which consists of feelings of not measuring up to standards, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and lack of self-esteem. I was always ‘A Chubby Cutie’ but my surroundings for some reason didn’t accept me for how I looked like. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t beautiful in their eyes? This made me insecure and I would always want to cover up my skin and camouflage my curves. I tried every kind of diet to loose weight and longed to be a smaller size but it didn’t help. So, I grew up not loving my body! As an adult, this ‘body shame’ had a negative impact on my life. Strangely enough, I seemed to attract men who would emotionally abuse me with their words and in many other ways. I would end up in dysfunctional “situationships” which left deep inner scars within. This resulting in moments of receiving a sincere compliment concerning my beauty and it would have me wondering what did they see what I didn’t see! Perhaps, many of my female readers can relate? This is when I started my search towards deep inner healing to overcome these traumas!
At the age of 21, I gave my life to Christ after a horrible break up with my ‘first love’. While reading the following scripture: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.” – Psalm 139: 14 (New International Version Bible). This activated ‘My Body Positivity Journey’ towards: self-love, self-respect, self-worth, self-acceptance, self-growth, self-confidence etc.
Ready for some mind-blowing testimonies? Here we go! One day, I was walking on a multi-cultural event with a pupil whom I was tutoring in my free time. We had just left a Hillsong church service, where I was a youth leader. During that season, I was into wearing African head wraps and all kinds of hats. You’re probably wondering why? Well, due to the sadness and stress of all my failed “situationships”, I had lost a lot of hair and had many bald spots. Mind you, I had beautiful long, thick and curly hair! Grieving that I had to cut my hair short, I hoped that it would all grow back someday. This was a terrible time and felt so ashamed, but I always say: “If life gives you lemons make sweet lemonade and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Still, I mourned the loss of my hair and was now able to slightly identify with the pain of cancer patients loosing theirs during chemo. I prayed to God for my hair to grow back just like Samson in the Bible. I am so grateful He answered my prayers, because it’s growing back, thicker and stronger as ever!
Ok, but let’s go back to that multi-cultural event shall we? So while I was walking past the different stands displaying their ethnic products. I noticed a lady, selling very classy modern clothing. I stopped to have a look and she introduced herself as ‘Ada van Moorst’. Apparently she is a well-known lingerie designer whom I never heard of. She explained that she was attempting to make a switch from designing lingerie to designing hand made clothing. My eye fell on one of her pieces, but she didn’t have my size with her so she invited me to her home where she had her own studio with different creations. I was able to purchase one of my favorite items and more!
I have always had a passion for fashion! My inner circle knows how much I love Chanel! So this was a great opportunity to meet a fashion designer. I’ve always created my own unique style since my motto in life would be: “Let the world be your catwalk!” In the media, beauty would be measured by being a perfect size 6 and weighing as light as a feather. I refused to compare myself to a ‘Victoria Secret’ model or feel bad about how God created me. So when plus size model ‘Ashley Graham’ showed the world that curves are beautiful and sexy, I thought: FINALLY!
So after my visit to Ada’s studio, she sent me an e-mail asking me to be one of her models in her fashion show. I felt so honored and couldn’t believe it! I invited one of my best friends ‘Yaya’ to join me in the show and we had a blast together. The dresses you see in the pictures, were tailor made to hug my curves in the right way. During this season of life, I had just started with shows for my ‘Spoken Word Poetry’. Isn’t that incredible? Everything was falling into place! So I asked Ada to design my performance outfits! This is where the Word went into fulfillment: “For nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 (New Living Translation Bible). Over the years, I have learnt that as soon as you start loving your U-NI-QUE self, you attract good and positive things!
When people see my outward appearance, they see A Strong Woman but keep the story I shared above in mind. I had to learn to love myself, to accept myself, to know my worth, my identity in Christ and that is how my confidence grew over the years. Believe me, this wasn’t an easy journey but with all these life experiences I can hopefully encourage other women in their self-discovery process. I am just getting started and believing the best is yet to come! My dreams came true, so can yours!
By the grace of God, I am turning 38 in the summer of August 2020 and I must admit that I am proud of overcoming so many self-image struggles. I feel blessed and more comfortable in my skin as ever and pray you will as well!