It was almost 6 days ago.
I was lying at home in my bed re-evaluating my life thinking of all I have and haven’t done and contemplating what I wanted and needed to do for my future.
I realize I have been blogging for some time now and I wanted to continue doing something I love while helping as much women ( and men) as I possibly could.
Growing up I struggled a lot with how I looked. Ive mentioned it a few times in a few blogs, but I wasn’t happy with my height.
I was not excited about being tall nor was I enthused about being skinny.
Back then there was no one advocating for girls like me.
There was no tall girls who spoke to the struggles of being a teenager, growing up and not knowing how it felt to not Love myself for who I was.
When the Idea came to my mind to start LUH I was hesitant.
I did not want to be another woman starting what may potentially may be seen as a FAD or a clout seeking initiative.
I just wanted to be me and do something that resonates with not only moments I have gone through but other women as well.
For my first week of LUH- The Series I interviewed a few women asking them questions concerning body image, self acceptance and personal insecurities.
This is my first time doing something of this caliber and I can honestly admit I was nervous, scared, excited and anxious all at the same time. I think because in my head I envisioned it being something so big and so beyond what I could fathom that the potential for it to flop almost scares me.
When I posted about it I didn’t expect to get much replies ( sometimes people on Ig can be mean)
Man was I in for a shock.
I literally got over 40 responses.
I cried ( nothing new Im a cry baby).
The fact that so many women knew nothing about what my vision was but still offered to be apart of it brought so much joy to my heart.
The ” I need 4 females” turned into 15.
Each of the 15 selected ladies were asked the same questions and told to be completely transparent and honest with the responses they gave.
Each lady was asked:
1. What does self love mean to you?
2. what is one word to describe your self love journey? ( why did you chose that word)
3. if you could change the way woman are portrayed in the media would you?
4.have you ever struggled with any insecurities surrounding your body? how did you overcome them? ( if you did)
Meet Shedean, Dru and Schenelle.
1. To me, self-love means choosing me and taking care of myself on a wholistic level, intentionally. Admiring where I am now and acknowledging where I want to be. It means being kind to myself. It means respecting & valuing me, that includes setting boundaries and being mindful of the things or people that I allow in my life. It is recognizing that I’m not perfect, but loving myself regardless.
2. One word that describes my self-love journey is “process”. Throughout this journey, there has been growth and pit stops, ups and downs. I’ve learned that self love doesn’t happen overnight so I shouldn’t rush the process. As I move through various stages of my life, I learn more about myself. I’ve learned to take time for self acknowledgment. This isn’t always easy or pretty, but taking the time to get to know me has been rewarding.
3. There are a lot of things that can be changed about the way that women are portrayed in the media. However, I think the most important thing is accepting yourself. Changing your self talk so when you see someone in the media that’s deemed as “goals”, it does not affect how you feel about yourself. I know, easier said than done, but that’s why self love is so important. I’ve learned to never compare. Use affirmations. Everyone is different and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It can take a while to accept that, but once you do, when you see women in the media, it’ll be just that.
4. The biggest insecurity that I struggled with was my skin. One day in 2013, I woke up in pain with blisters all over my body. After numerous medical appointments, I was diagnosed with lupus. When the blisters healed, they changed the pigmentation of my skin. My once smooth milk chocolate skin was now, well, not so smooth. I had some dark spots and other areas were white. I was devastated. I wore long sleeves to cover up all the time, including in the hot summer. My family and friends would tell me that my skin isn’t that bad but I was always self conscious. I prayed a lot for God to help me to get over this insecurity. One day in the hot summer, I was so hot lol. It hit me like, “you’re ridiculous Shedean”. From that point, I learned to accept it. I looked at other people who have lupus and all that they go through & I began thanking God for my skin. I started to look at my scarring and discoloration as a testimony that I’m still here and that God continues to give me the strength to live a life with this chronic disease. Now, in all honestly, I would not say I’m over it completely. I still sometimes second guess buying a short sleeve shift because of the marks on my upper arm. However, I’ve come a long way & I know I’ll get there.
1. Self love to me means to be vulnerable with yourself about all aspects of yourself. The good, the bad and the “ugly”. It means to know that I am not perfect but work in confidence with what and who I am.
2. The word I would use to describe my Self-Love journey is “difficult”. I chose this word because I have always been the “big” girl, from when I was little up until now. I haven’t been what society calls beautiful when it comes to my body. At age 12, I started to notice that my girl friends in middle school would get attention from boys and I wasn’t and I thought that was because of my size. I would force myself to only eat one meal a day for months to try to lose weight, that didn’t work. At age 14 entering high school, I had to get braces to fix my teeth. Having braces and having food restrictions (so as to not break the braces) my body shed weight quicker than I have ever seen in my life. I got down to a size 6/8 and the attention from boys began. My validation for my confidence came from this new look I had and the attention I was now getting. When I took my braces off 2 years later, the weight slowly came back and I was back to being the “big” friend in the group. My confidence and love for self dwindled with the weight gain. The fluctuation of my weight determined my love for self.
3. I would love to see more natural bodies and looks in the media. I want the generation of young women growing up to know that they are beautiful with or without plastic surgery. That it is okay to be who God created you to be. I think today, from what I’ve seen, there are a lot of “made” bodies within media that tend to be glorified. Which therefore puts this pressure on females to live up to bodies that aren’t realistic for them. I’ve seen a small shift recently, but I think it’s important to push this initiative further.
4. I have (and still do) struggle with insecurities about my body. The three main areas would be my breasts, my stomach, and my bum/thighs. With my breasts it’s the fact that they are large and most times it is difficult to find shirts and dresses that fit properly – there are certain styles that I would love to wear but can’t. With my stomach, it’s the fact that it isn’t flat – I don’t like wearing high waisted jeans because my FUPA shows. With my bum/thighs, it’s the fact that I have stretch marks and cellulite – I’ve even tried to airbrush them at one point for a picture on the beach. Overcoming these insecurities has been an uphill battle but one I refuse to give up. There were two things that happened to me that has helped build my confidence and love in myself. The first incident was in the summer of 2017 after I got into a car accident, I realized that I have only one life and I’ve been spared mine, it’s only right for me to take the time to appreciate the gift I’ve been given by God. The second incident was sometime after that, where I saw a video of a woman who was bigger than I was walking with such confidence and pride in a bikini on the beach. That made me think, “If this woman who I do not know at all can be this confident in her body, why can’t I?” I wouldn’t say that I’ve overcome my insecurities about my body, but I damn sure have made some progress.
1. Self-Love to me, means being mindful and taking action on what is best for myself and for the greatest version of myself. Whatever I need to do to cleanse the spirit/subconscious and soul. Physical is part of it, but Self-Love to me is more of how I talk to myself, how I discipline myself, who I surround myself with, what I do in my free time, what I listen to or watch on TV, how much time I devote to social media, what I eat and so on. All these things contribute to what Self -Love and Care is to me.
Self-Love has been painful for me during the process because I realized I had to remove a lot of toxic people from my life including family. I have had to discipline myself and say no to things that were a daily part of my life prior to being self aware. I lost 100lbs by trying to eat clean and making sure I get in a workout 5 days a week and maintaining it. It has been painful to know that all your friends are out at party, but you know you can’t go because you have a bigger goal to accomplish. It has been painful that it has been normalized in the family to ignore pain and just move forward without dealing with it which is the worst type of solution for anyone.
So, the Self-Love journey was not peaches and cream until I learned from it all and applied all the principals.
3. It would be great to see more women who are powerful and have real bodies.
But at the end of the day it is each one’s choice to do what they want to with their body – but it is up to us to keep ourselves in check and to raise our kids to have zero – minimum insecurities. Because no matter where you are in life, you will always see someone better than you , making more money than you, helping more than you so it really is up to ourselves at the end of the day to discipline our mind.
4. I have insecurities depending on the day and my mood to be completely honest. I am still working on owning my body every single day and I am very mindful of that. I am still working on why I let how my day is dictate how I feel about my body even though overall , I am very happy where I am right now with my mind, body and soul.
Thank you Ladies For your honesty, trasnparency and for owning YOUR truth.