Well, this is the first time I've ever written or opened up about this but here it goes... I recently became an ambassador for a women's undergarments & leisure wear called Knixwear. I was attracted to this brand simply by their advertising & branding, really pushing & focusing on body acceptance, image, and self-love - which couldn't be more important than ever.
I grew up a dancer. I started at 3-years-old until I was about 19 years-old, choreographing at my university. It was intensive, 5 days of ballet, endless Nutcracker rehearsals and performances all winter, competing at national dance events, and then, the climax was when I was able to go to Paris and dance at the American Ballet Academy alongside some of the most talented prima-ballerina's I'd ever seen. It had been my dream to go to Paris since I was 8... and there I was, 15-years-old standing on the Champs Elysee, in front of the Louvre, sipping coffee, eating baguettes, and dancing my little heart out. But, something else happened that trip that I would've never anticipated. As I stood at the ballet bar in my pink tights, ballets slippers, black leotard, and slicked back bun... I looked in the mirror and compared myself to this highly sophisticated, refined, poised Parisian girls. The insecurities that ran through me were deep & unfortunate. I know it wasn't just me, it's the reality of being 15-years-old with an awkward body, raging hormones, and the endless challenges of being a teenager.
I sat on staring out the window on our Air France flight home, self-loathing... thinking, I need to be better, prettier, stronger, sophisticated, like the girls in Paris. Looking back now, I'd love to give my 15-year-old self a hug and say, it's going to okay, you're enough, don't kill yourself over being PERFECT, there's no such thing.
5-something years, I struggled with a poor body image, on & off eating disorders from over-exercising to anorexia to even moments of bulimia. I had no idea how to treat my body, deal with my "imperfections" and after spending my teenage years flipping the pages of Vogue & other fashion mags, had the wrong idea of what I, myself was supposed to look like. It wasn't until school in Italy did I learn to have a romantic love affair with food again, realizing that each tomato, piece of pasta, artichoke was a work of art... of God if you're into that. Food wasn't a disease, it was the fuel to our lives. I became obsessed with good, whole, true food from good soil, organic, natural, non-gmo, supporting local farmers, seeking out real nutritious food. Then, I moved to Hawaii... where every single day you can live and breathe the mantra of "health is wealth." I finally understood that we are interconnected to everything and that our bodies are the temples that hold our souls... just a vehicle to take us through life and it must be treated, respected, and honored in the greatest of ways. One blow to your health and the quality of your life will disintegrate right in front of you. I learned to breathe, to move with grace and strength through yoga, surfing, and spending every free moment in nature.
Beyond the dietary and physical enlightenment became a whole new thing that I couldn't have ever anticipated - but a spiritual understanding of myself, which comes with age & experience. I traveled the world, and with that came a new sort of empathy & compassion not only for the planet/environment but humanity. ...I'll save the self-discovery conversation for another time but the process was long & arduous to find the strength & understanding to treat myself well, to love & covet my body, mind, and soul - to then learn to extend myself to others & the environment around me. It may sound like I have it figured out, but every single day is a mystery and a gift... Never give up & treat yourself with all the love you have, it will radiate to everyone & thing around you.
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