when quotes express feelings that my mind can’t put into words

“When you can’t stand the endless cycle of suffering anymore, you begin to awaken”
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“Maybe you just have to live for the small things, like being called pretty or someone picking up the pen you dropped or laughing so hard that your stomach hurts. Maybe that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.” – Tianna Kavanagh
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“The moral of this story is that sometimes, you can attempt to make all the difference in the world, and it still is like trying to stem the tide with a sieve. The moral of this story is that no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it … some stories just don’t have a happy ending” – Jodi Picoult
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“By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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(P.S. It’d be great if someone could actually buy me this book called ‘Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, & Sex Workers in the New Economy.” only because its not available in Singapore and I can’t see myself paying shipping fees from the U.S. Ugh. Life.)

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how to achieve body confidence

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this marriage of billowy culottes and the modern jumpsuit screams versatile and oh so comfortable in Singapore’s hot & humid weather

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I first started this blog with the intention of documenting my journey with recovering from an eating disorder and developing a more positive relationship with body. To further my progress in achieving a healthy body image I began doing some “photoshoots” to capture my outfits and incorporating them into my blog until it became something of a body-positive-eating-disorder-recovery-kinda-sorta-fashion blog. I’m not an exclusive fashion blogger. I don’t go on photoshoots & I tend to write more about body positivity & ED recovery than fashion, but I do love dressing up & sometimes use photography as a way of developing a more positive body image because I have always avoided expressing myself through my personal sense of style during the height of my eating disorder days. I felt so miserable not only hiding my body in baggy loose shirts, but also avoiding mirrors so I wouldn’t have to look at my body & ended up hating the way I look. 

Throughout my recovery journey, doing these #semiprofesh photoshoots (because you know I don’t have a camera and use my phone instead), I’ve come to learn some things about achieving body confidence:

Wear the right clothes for your body & wear clothes that reflect your personal style.

I know that the body-positive community urges women to ignore these so called “fashion rules” and to “wear it if they like it”. Here’s my 2 cents and you can either accept it or reject it but let me just bring lay my own perspective on the table all right. I do agree in “wearing it if I like it” because after all, I’ve passed over many many outfits that I liked but never had the courage to wear because I felt I wasn’t skinny enough to look good in them. However ever since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery I’ve taken baby steps out my comfort zone and started wearing sleeveless dress, jumpsuits and even a body con dresses once because…well, because I can and because I’ve slowly developed a more positive relationship with my body to allow myself to don these frocks. However, having said that I also believe in striking a balance and actually choosing clothes that are both suitable for your body type AND reflect your personal sense of style. 

Wear clothes that reflect your style

Listen, not all trends will work for us, its not your responsibility to follow trends. Just because people are telling you to “wear it if you like it” doesn’t mean you should follow them and that it will work for you because it just ain’t you. Wild retro or animal prints may be the rage but I’m not about to jump on the bandwagon and deck myself in them because…its just not me. Find clothes that express your unique personality and work it, because confidence isn’t about following trends and looking like every body els;  its about letting your inner personality shine through your clothes and being yourself without the need to conform to something else. Know what styles work for you and what doesn’t. Don’t compromise your style to fit in with others, coz it ain’t worth it. You are a work of art. So work it.

Wear the right clothes for your body

When I say to wear the right clothes for your body, I’m not talking much about dressing to look thinner. I’m talking about wearing clothes that are of a good fit so that you feel comfortable and confident in it. For instance, I have broad shoulders and thus, am top heavy and let me tell you, I’m not going to wear large, oversized kaftan tops because it will exaggerate my frame and make me look disproportionate & with extra fabric floating around my body, I’m just going to look like a disheveled frump. I’m not going to wear something that’s too small or a “just-nice” fit because it makes me feel uncomfortable or like I cant breathe or that makes me keep tugging at the top so that I have room to move my arms. Yes, I can wear the top if I want to if it looks absolutely gorgeous and stunning, but at the end of the day, I personally don’t want to look frumpy; I wanna look good. If you choose good fitting clothes that suit your body, you will look good and you feel good. No scratch that, you feel #badass.

If you don’t want to wear a certain something (e.g. cropped tops / high waisted jeans) because you’re still struggling with bad body image, then don’t, simple as that. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon and wear something if it doesn’t make you feel good about your body. It doesn’t make you a body-shamer. It makes you…well…you. It just means you don’t feel good in it, end of story. Don’t force yourself to do something if you’re not ready for it because it’ll do you more harm then good. The priority is to take the time to understand the relationship you have with your body, and work on ways to improve it. When you’re ready, then by all means rock that outfit like you were born to wear it no matter what size you are. 

Stop fat-talk; change your inner dialogue

 I talked about the importance of positive self-talk in my previous post here: [ positive self-talk and body image ] . How you talk to yourself about how you look and how your body impacts body confidence. You can’t expect to be confident about your body if there is a voice saying that you look ugly and you look puffy in an outfit and telling you that you need to lose weight and you need to change out that outfit because it looks better on a thinner person. Criticizing yourself won’t change your body, and it’ll only attack the confidence you have in yourself. You can’t change the situation, so change your attitude. When you find yourself automatically pointing out your flaws when you look in the mirror or looking at the photos of yourself, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Change the channel and reframe your thoughts and and highlight the positives. “I am not fat, I am curvy and I can rock this dress” – stuff like that. The more you look out for imperfections, the more likely you are to make looking out for it a habit. Remember, what your mind says, your heart follows.

 Stop avoiding mirrors or pictures of yourself 

This is the one thing that I myself am also working on still. Too often those of us struggling with body image tend to avoid mirrors because we don’t want to see our bodies. But the truth is, its just keeping us in denial. To have a positive relationship with your body and be confident with it is to accept that this is the body that you have right at this very moment. In the past, I absolutely hated taking pictures, looking at myself in pictures and sometimes even standing in front of the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw – the rolls, the flabs etc. I didn’t like the body that I had because it disgusted me. But I believe its essential to spend more time with the mirror to come to terms with reality and learn to stop picking my body apart and criticizing it. That was why I started incorporating photoshoots in some of my blog posts – it was a journey of coming to terms with my body, that these pictures are a reflection of what my body truly is and to learn to stop picking it apart to love and accept myself more. 

Hang out with body positive people 

This is like a total no-brainer. If you hang out with people who are also tearing themselves apart, picking their flaws and constantly complaining about their thighs and stomach, you’re going to end up being just like them and feel even worse about your body. The key to improving your perception of yourself is to associate yourself with people who is body positive and who don’t rag on and on about their body. My best friends are super body-positive and I rarely hear them talk negatively about their own body and trust me, its great to be in the company of people like that because it makes you think of all the negative things you’re saying and how awful they actually sound. Like, would you even say that to your friend? Plus, it also motivates you to want to stop saying them. After all, who likes hanging out with people who are always complaining about cellulite and fat and whatnot? Its just depressing. You don’t need that shit in your life.

Stop caring about what others think

The reality is that there will be people who will have negative opinions about you. They don’t know you and they don’t care about you. Not everyone is going to be kind and accepting. People are judgmental and no matter what we wear, what we look like, how much we weigh, how we dress, people will always have something to say. If you’re going to be “oh my god I don’t have thin arms and what if I wear this sleeveless top wont people think I’m fat?” or “oh my god my legs are so muscular people will think I’m so unfeminine” you’re not going to be happy and you’ll probably end up just staying at home and dwelling in your misery. I mean, why place your happiness and self-esteem in the opinions of people whom you don’t even know and whom you will never even see again? Even if you do know them, why place your happiness in their hands anyway? Don’t let their opinions be the be-all and downfall of your self-esteem.  

Find a role model

I’m not sure about you, but for me, I find it helpful to have a role model to look up to, especially in times when I’m feeling vulnerable about my body. I’m not skinny, and in a society that continues to glorify thin bodies, I sometimes feel ashamed about my curvy/muscular body and find the confidence in myself depleting as fast as women running toward the sales. I still have problems accepting my body, especially my arms, legs and my tummy because because they’re not toned or thin as society thinks should be. So I look to role models such as body-positive people I find on Instagram who share in my struggle with accepting their body but find ways to embrace themselves. I also look to fashion bloggers and some plus-size media personalities such as Ashley Graham & Nadia Aboulhosn who rock their bodies in whatever they wear. They inspire & motivate me to want to channel their confidence and remind myself that even though I’m not be skinny, I don’t have flat tummy or a tall thin body, I sure as hell can still rock a body con dress if I want to. 

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Ashley & Nadia

  Stop holding yourself to unrealistic standards 

Be kind to yourself and stop comparing yourself to others, especially people who seem to fit the physical standards of what society, or even what you think is perfect and ideal. Perfection doesn’t exist, beauty is subjectve and you can never be beautiful or thin or curvy or lean enough for anybody. When you compare yourself to unrealistic standards in the media or to other people, you’re treating yourself to a one-way ticket to poor self esteem. There is beauty in diversity so embrace your body type for what it is. You may not have some things other girls have, but then again, you yourself have some things that other girls don’t that they wish they have. 

When you are confident with your body, you unleash your inner queen and your confidence shows in the way you carry yourself. 

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What are some ways that you guys use to get body confident? Leave a comment and let me know!

#BornAndMade

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I love campaigns that seek to empower women. In a society that bombards us with messages telling us that we’re not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, not strong enough and not powerful enough, its sometimes easy to forget that our purpose here on Earth isn’t to look and be beautiful to gain the approval of others.

The #BornAndMade campaign is a marvelous brainchild collaboration between beauty brand Carol’s Daughter & activist organization I Am That Girl that aims to bring all girls and women together and celebrate their individual beauty, worth and uniqueness. By extending the message of self-love, it hopes to remind women that they are already beautiful and worthy and that they don’t need to fix themselves to live up to the expectations of what other people see as beautiful.

In a world where many of us struggle to find our authentic selves, its important for us women to remember our strength, our worth, our value & our beauty. Whilst making my own personalized picture on the website, I reflected on my journey – the obstacles, the triumphs and the failures, my struggle with recovering from an eating disorder since I was 17 & my journey to developing a more positive body image. It’s made me realize that I managed to overcome every obstacle that life has thrown at me. Up til this point I have survived everything that has been thrown my way. Up til this point in my life I have a 100% survival rate and I’m damn proud of that. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder
  2. Beauty is more than just physical looks.

We live in a society that measures beauty in terms of physical attractiveness; where beauty is defined within the parameters of such small characteristics and by standards are not all women can actually achieve. I mean how the hell am I supposed to get my eyes to grow bigger if you say women with big deep set eyes are considered beautiful? I can put on mascara but once I remove it, am I no longer beautiful? Despite being a modern society, women are still are commoditized; a commodity to be judged and valued based on how small your waist is, how busty you are, how clear your skin is, how smooth your hair feels, how straight your teeth are, the curves on your body, even our sexual orientation and sexual history. If a woman is too thin, she has anorexia; if she’s big she’s obese.

As women we need to be empowered to not only recognize this, but also reject it and bask in our own uniqueness & embrace them. We need to know what we are made of because that is what helps us continue being our true authentic selves. If we are constantly seeking validation from others, then we have lost ourselves; our worth has become displaced.

If you say I’m beautiful, thank you I accept that compliment whole-heartedly 😀 But I’m not just a beauty. I can’t always base my self-worth and self-esteem on physical looks because I’m never going to truly happy that way. Its taken me a long and incredibly tumultuous time to accept that I have a curvy body, and that I can never be thin enough for anybody. Even now I still struggle with feeling good about myself because I still struggle with wanting to be taller, thinner and leaner. Looks can and will eventually fade, and when they do, its what’s underneath them that will make you who you are. Love yourself enough to know that you are not defined by your looks, your weight or your size. Embrace you who are on the inside, instead of trying to be one that others think you should be. 

So let me ask you: how will you describe yourself if all of us women looked exactly the same? What sets you apart? What makes you special? What makes you you?

Underneath my physical exterior, I’m also insightful, I’m smart and I’m creative. I can make people laugh, I can dance salsa and bachata, I love watching Sex and the City and action movies. I’ve traveled on my own, I wake up everyday and continue fighting the demons that make me exhausted the day before, Some days I love my body but on other days I cry about it. I’m witty, I can be indecisive and I’m a performing arts junkie. I’ve been lost but I end up finding myself. I’m not going to base my self-worth on what you think is beautiful because that’s disempowering. Beauty is subjective and I refuse to be disempowered. Yeah I’m gonna fall every now and then, but I’m going to get back up on my feet because

I am made with strength and a whole lotta sass.

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Love Your Body Week: Look 1- Back to Black

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This week I shall be dedicating posts in support of Love Your Body Week (7 Sept – 11 Sept), that’s jointly launched by the Butterfly Foundation and Sportsgirl. To those of you who may not know, the Butterfly Foundation is a organization in Australia that not only provides services to individuals affected by eating disorders and negative body image, but also reaches out to friends and family members of affected individuals to give all of them the care and support that they need. I love this because eating disorders don’t just affect the individual diagnosed with it; it has an indirect impact on those closest to him/her as well. The Foundation also advocates for the development of a healthy body image and they do so by offering a series of workshops to schools & programs to raise awareness about the role of eating disorders in body image and instill body confidence in everyone. In line with the Foundation’s overarching objectives, the Love Your Body Week aims to emphasize the importance of having a healthy body image, developing body confidence & also to remind individuals that our self worth is not based on our body shape or size

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What exactly is body confidence? Body confidence isn’t just about feeling and looking good. Its about being confident with the body that you have. With th Throughout my years of struggling with body image, I’ve learned that body confidence comes to us when we do these two things: when we accept our body and then embrace our body. It means:

  • Accepting and acknowledging that the body you have right now is the best and only body that you will have at this very moment & choosing to be okay with it.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that you have a body shape that’s different from others,  that there are women who are thinner than you, curvier than you, leaner than you and/or taller than you.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes but instead of criticizing yourself for not being as thin as others, you choose to be okay with it instead of spending the next few days/weeks/months/years mentally bashing yourself over it.
  • OWNING YOUR BODY LIKE YOU MEAN IT BECAUSE YOU ARE A QUEEN

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Everyday we are flooded with messages from the media, from society, from the diet, fitness and fashion industry, and sometimes even from our friends and family that out lumps and bumps should be flattened, covered or sucked out to achieve a svelte body. This causes so many of us to question our looks, cause us to lose confidence in ourselves & look into ways to alter our appearances to live up to a standard that is almost imposible to achieve unless you have Kim Kardashian’s parade of stylists, nutritionists, trainers and makeup artists in the palm of your hands 24/7. The unhealthy messages wasseverely impacting my body esteem and I spent a long time believing I had the wrong type of body; a body that’s unworthy and ugly.

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When we accept our body the way it is, we treat ourselves with love and respect; I believe body confidence is reflected not only in the way we speak about our bodies and how we carry ourselves, but also through the way you dress. When I hated my body so much when I was younger, I blatantly refused to wear dresses, short skirts and sleeveless tops. I hated that my arms were skinny enough. Cropped tops frightened, and I guess to a small extent, still frighten me because I don’t have a flat stomach and I was wearing black most of the time. I love dressing up, but my body image problems overwhelmed and prevented me from expressing myself through fashion. The only outfit I’d considered safe was big baggy black long sleeved tops with blue jeans or denim shorts. I rarely/hardly wore sleeveless things or slim-cut clothing. White pants were out because the magazines say white isn’t slimming. Dresses were too feminine for my unfeminine body. I felt trapped and unhappy.

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Since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery, I’m learning how to respect my body more. Its taken me a long time to accept that my body is curvy, yet there are days when I have trouble embracing my body because some part of me still wishes I were taller, thinner and leaner. However my acceptance journey is reflected in my choice of clothes. I’m slowly stepping out my comfort zone and experimenting with different styles, cut and even color.

HENCE, in honor of Love Your Body Week, I’m going to combine body-positive blogging and fashion blogging in which I will share some of the outfits that reflect my style, and acceptance of my body that pushed me to step away from loose baggy ill-fitting black tops and jeans into things that actually make me feel beautiful and good about my body. And, also because I love fashion 😀

Today’s post will be a MAJOR MAJOR throwback to the very first official photoshoot I did with a friend last year at Gardens by the Bay. It was probably my first time doing a photoshoot in collaboration with another body activist (HI NISSA WE GOTTA DO THIS AGAIN) for a post which I did last year about fashin and body empowerment and so I thought it apt to revive it for this occasion because it

100% carries the message I want to spread to others about body confidence today, especially if you yourself have low body confidence which makes you feel ashamed about wearing certain clothes so go read it thanks & i know it might be a slightly long read but it’ll only take up like 5 minutes of your time or even less! (read it here).

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Fashion isn’t just about showing the world your style, wit and flair. Its also a reflection of how you feel about your body. If you’re confident about your body, you don’t choose outfits that hide your body out of shame and hatred. You choose to wear a particular outfit because you feel confident in it and confident about your body, you feel fabulous in it and you choose it because it screams “I’m wearing this outfit because I’m okay with my body and I don’t care if you have a problem with it and I am going to rock this!’

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A black dress is a must have for every woman. I have 4. They’re clean, simple, classic and versatile but sometimes I feel the need to style it up with accessories to showcase my own personal touch. I paired this black bowler hat for that off-beat hippy vibe to add some edge to this classic straight-cut midi dress, before finishing the look with ankle boots. Sometimes when in doubt, you just have to go back to black.