I don’t know what age it is when women begin to feel insecure about their bodies. Some would say it is around puberty. We start comparing ourselves to others, enthralled in what the “perfect” woman should look like, and trying to be her.
This goes on for many years, maybe even forever? Oh please, tell me it isn’t true!
Like most women, I’ve battled with feeling the need to fit an ideal, while also trying to just be myself. Most of my adult life I haven’t truly been present in my body, like an outsider looking in-wondering what I needed to do next to be happy.
Conscious body awareness has brought me to a place where I am comfortable in my own skin. But it hasn’t always been this way.
There was a time where I was always deflecting from the fact that I wasn’t present in my skin or completely happy with who I was. I’ve always been confident, but looking back I can see the periods in my life I wasn’t entirely myself. Spending so much time unaware of how to listen to my inner voice and actually do what I needed to do to be healthy.
When we are young we have a strong conscious awareness of our bodies because we are so active. Being enrolled in gymnastics, dance, karate, or basketball- I was always moving. All of these activities kept me fit and physically in tune.
College is when habits changed dramatically, especially after turning 21. This is when the mornings were for hangovers, the afternoons were for naps, and the evenings were for getting ready for the wild night ahead. I was still always on the go, but in a new way. Not in a healthy way. Eating and drinking to fill voids, Floating above myself, hoping to wake up one day and just fall into being the person I always wanted to be. Not that I had any idea who she was.
Working in the beauty industry has been so much fun. I still love everything about playing around with fun cosmetic colors, and I enjoy making women feel like their best selves. But, there is also a duel side to working in a superficial industry. Since I was constantly being critiqued about the way that I looked, I always felt the need to be fully dolled up. I lost sight of who I was at the core, underneath all the foundation and eyeliner. My love for cosmetics got to the point where I was using makeup as a mask for my unhappiness, I wasn’t just enhancing what I already loved. It got so bad in one phase I couldn’t even leave the the house without my hair extensions and a smokey eye look. I cultivated this new “self”, but was never ok with just being the natural me.
The truth about my hair extensions is; at first they were a security blanket. They were purchased after I ended a three year relationship that brought me about 15 extra pounds along with it. Being so unhappy with my reflection, changing up my look felt like the right move. Something about those extra inches of hair made me feel like I was somewhat concealing the weight as well as my unhappiness. I thought I was just enhancing, but was really camouflaging the parts I wasn’t happy with. I knew I had to do something to feel good again.
Exactly one year later I found myself thinner than ever. I didn’t just wake up that way…I turned to diet pills. I was on amphetamines for probably a good six months that year. NOT ADVISED. The quick fix felt amazing, until it became clear I was depriving myself of nutrition. Not only was I crash dieting on drugs, but partying every single weekend shaking my new body wherever possible. Actions became robotic, like someone was controlling me with a remote. I just traded my old habit of overeating for a new one-hardly ever eating. Slowly becoming skinnier and skinner, blonder and blonder, as the old me disappeared completely.
It was on my travels abroad two years ago that I was finally able to connect to the real me. Becoming comfortable with the idea that I could be Tyguenne without the hair, makeup, and wardrobe. No one I met in Bali or Thailand was concerned with what brand I was wearing. No one looked at me side eyed because I wasn’t wearing makeup. No one cared that my hair was air dried and not brushed. I felt like for the first time in a long time I could be in my own skin and not be judged.Traveling opened this door for me to be myself, because I was surrounded by people that were doing the same thing. Our surroundings are very important for maintaining our healthy or unhealthy habits. We can’t control everything in our environment, but there are factors we can influence. The people we surround ourselves with, and the choices we make every day can lead us in a healthy or unhealthy direction as quickly as a blink of an eye.
My travels also opened me up to meditation which played a huge role in my arriving into myself again. Finally being present with the true essence of my being, not just who I imagined myself to be.
It was at this time I also discovered yoga as a powerful tool in being present with myself. Connecting with my body in a way that made me aware of parts of me I had ignored for those few years. Attending a yoga class gave me 90 minutes of “me” time, time that I hadn’t been giving myself previously.
Yoga and meditation have all helped me descend back into my body and be truly present. Now I see my body shifting as I continue to push through my physical edge, challenging myself to be the best I can be-for me. More recently I ditched my weave and push up bra. I still love the ability to enhance and play-but its so different now that I am finally aware of me, and welcoming her with open arms.
Every single day I feel myself arriving more present into my body. When I am getting my daily meditation, exercise, clean food, and surrounding myself with positivity I am fully in my skin. That is where I intend to stay.