Hey there lovely, I want to share a personal story with you today. I’m going to tell you about some feelings that I have always tended to keep to myself. But I want to share them with you today because I know that many of you will relate, and some of you may even benefit from hearing what I learned on my journey.
You might not know from seeing my pictures, but I have a skin disease called Vitiligo. It leaves big white patches on my skin – all over my arms, legs and body. The gorgeous model Chantelle Brown-Young has it too. See her in the picture?
But when I was growing up, there was no famous model with the same disease as me, there was no one who looked a little different gracing the cover of magazines or showing up on runways.
I never thought of myself as beautiful.
Back when I was a kid, I was just plain old different. I would get teased for my white patches, or people would stare or be really really curious about it, all of which of course cause me to feel incredibly uncomfortable and ashamed.
I dreaded summer because I would have to show more skin and my ‘regular colouring’ would become tanned making the white patches (caused by lack of pigment in the skin) stand out even more.
I felt like the ugly duckling and wondered how anyone would ever love or be attracted to me.
I tried a whole bunch of things to make vitiligo go away. When they didn’t work, I tried to cover it up with clothing and once disastrously with fake tan. Needless to say, that didn’t work either. I prayed that a successful treatment would soon be found.
I continued to feel uncomfortable about my body into my early 20s.
And then something happened.
I ‘discovered’ Tantra yoga.
Tantra Yoga is a very old and gorgeous form of yoga. Tantra’s core teachings are really about being ‘present’, being ‘in your body’ and using sexual energy for spiritual growth.
One of the by-products of Tantra is that your body becomes incredibly sensitive – and as a result you can feel more pleasure (particularly during sex).
When I discovered Tantra, my relationship with my body really began to change. My body suddenly felt SO good. How could I dislike something that gave me so much pleasure?
I began to appreciate my body. And appreciation led to love.
Another thing that Tantra teaches is absolute acceptance of what is and that everything is created by the Divine. Actually, Tantra doesn’t just teach that everything is created by God, it teaches that everything is God – there is nothing that can exist outside of the Divine whole.
So then, I reasoned, my body had to be a creation of the Divine also.
After practicing Tantra in a park one day, I was drawn to look at the trees. I noticed how different they all are – and yet they were all beautiful to me. I realised the same was true for my body. It was different from others, but was still beautiful.
Not only did I begin to feel love and appreciation for my body, I began to see the beauty in it too.
Then something interesting happened.
Suddenly people wouldn’t ask awkward questions anymore, they would share their appreciation and wonder at something so uniquely beautiful.
As I began to love my body, I had this reflected from the outside world too.
I realised that it is not how I look, but how I feel about myself that makes me sexy and attractive to others.
My skin didn’t change, but the way I felt about it changed. And that changed my experience.
When I hear people now tell me they don’t feel attractive or that they will feel attractive again ‘once they lose 5 or 10 kilos’, I feel sad for them.
To this day I still have big white patches on my skin – I could have spent my whole life feeling unattractive and hating my body. I’m grateful that I found a way to love myself and my body exactly as I am.
I know that my journey to loving my own body allows me to help others love their body too.
It is possible to love your body exactly as it is right now.
It’s possible to feel sexy without changing a thing about how you look.
You can love your body at any size, shape or colour.
You are beautiful. You are a perfect creation of the Divine.