Updated: May 26, 2020
I’M TOO SEXY FOR MY SHIRT, too sexy for shirt, so sexy it huuuuurts.
I hope Right Said Fred is playing in your head right now.
If you don’t know what song I am talking about then please, please click this link and listen. You can thank me later.
I was at Xel-Ha with Francisco’s family not long ago. After a quick stop on their website, I read that Xel-Ha is "regarded as one of the world’s greatest Natural Wonders.” I honestly had no idea… I guess it makes sense - clear water for snorkeling, floating through mangroves, cycling through the jungle, a view of the turquoise water melting into deep blue ocean from the top of the 100 foot tower. But I think so much of the beauty gets lost with the influx of tourism. Restaurants, bars, dolphins and manatees in captivity took away from the natural beauty of the park. I, of course, opted out of any animal shows or activities but I did swim through the “paradise under the water”, threw myself from zip-lines and had fun with the in-laws. Three of us girls walked to the water’s edge to admire the orange glow settling into the trees below; our day ended with a gorgeous sunset and we stopped to snap some pictures. I walked to the shore, dipped my toes in the cool water and thought, this would make a beautiful picture. I posed “like a model” while my photo was taken. Err.. I guess I should say photos with an emphasis on the “s” because my “like a model” was actually more like ten minutes of me moving my body in different angles and checking each photo to make sure I looked good. You know what it’s like… take 100 and fall in love with 1. In her book, “Girl Stop Apologizing,” Rachel Hollis talks about the power of looking good. Now, this was something I never care about - doing my hair or makeup wasn’t important for me.
Woah, wait a minute. Let’s back this up a little. I almost forgot about this part of my life. Maybe it’s less about forgetting and more because it seems so ancient, back when I was a completely different person.
I work at a summer camp www.FACESEducation.com. It’s an amazing program where teens learn to become comfortable with themselves by removing their “mask.” Every year the day comes when the students create a representation of who they pretend to be or who they want to become. It’s a day when I blubber like a baby as I share my story. You might think that after 7 years of sharing, you become immune to tears but that’s not the case. It’s true that your past is always a part of you, guiding you to who you are today.
I talk about a time in my life where I felt like I was most untrue to who I actually was - High School. I landed my first job in A&W and quickly made a best friend. We went to different schools so at the start of friendship we only saw each other at work. Truthfully, she was one of my only friends and I latched on with all I could. She was a year older than me and a little more rebellious. She dressed in skinny jeans (back in the day when skinny jeans weren’t in style), wore band t-shirts, and had spiky hair dyed with colours that reminded me of Neapolitan ice-cream. She was a “scene kid” and I too, became one. It was a slow process. I started by waking up an hour early for school every day to straighten my curly hair and line my eyes with thick, black makeup. My clothes were always the same until it was time for us to go to a screamo concert to blast my ear with music I hated but pretended to love. I’d always been overweight but I squished my body into those skinny jeans and wore t-shirts from bands I didn’t even like to fit the part. At one point, I even cut my hair to keep up with the style. I put a lot of effort into my “look” even though the look wasn’t me. All of this is to say that I did care about how I looked. But I cared about how I looked for all the wrong reasons. I did it for her, for the friendship, for the lifestyle. Yet at the same time, I did it for me. To fit in. Over the years and through my travels, I gained a greater perspective of who I am and who I want to be. I think that’s why travel is so close to my heart - it helped me (and continues to help me) re-discover who I am. That’s when I decided I was no longer going to play the part of someone else. I made the decision that I would never care about style, my clothes, doing my hair, wearing makeup. I didn’t want to be that girl. The girl that cared about how she looked. I thought that if I could get rid of that desire to build myself up, that I would become happier with my natural beauty.
Which leads me to now, 10 years after my “scene kid days” and 7 years after my first solo trip. It leads me to Rachel Hollis. It leads me to tell you that both these versions of me - the version with dark makeup and flat ironed hair and the all-natural version with a messy bun on the top of my head - are both extreme. I fought off the previous version of myself with a completely opposite version. But I’ve come to realize that this really isn’t the best or even remotely correct. It’s not the best because neither of these versions include who I am and both of these versions are limiting who I could be.
You see, Rachel argues that when you look good, you feel good. She talks about her contoured makeup, hair extensions and even her breast implants. And she is the kind of woman who inspires other women all over the world to become strong and powerful. But she was promoting all of the things I would have previously said make her a fake. In the past, I would have thought she wasn’t being true to herself as she was altering her body and using makeup as a “mask.” Then I started to think about it. When do I feel the best about myself? When do I feel really beautiful? Usually it’s when I put on a really nice outfit, do my hair, and wear makeup. And when I do those things, it’s not at all because I am trying to hide who I am or fake my style to fit in with someone else. I’ve never realized what women meant by “I wear makeup for me” until someone (aka Rachel) described it for me.
I thought a long time about this photograph of me in a bikini showing off my body. For 2 weeks I was trying to decide if I should upload it or not. What does it say about me if I post something where I look sexy? Again, I was formulating other people’s opinions before it was happening. But I really didn’t want to be that girl. Which is why I decided to move out of my comfort zone and post this photo. I was thinking more about the judgement that could come from this and what it would do to my “reputation” rather than the simple fact that this picture makes me feel good. I feel beautiful, hot, sexy, and truthfully, a part of me totally wants to show off.
How to Look and More Importantly FEEL good:
I think it's really important to look and feel your best. That comes in so many different forms and all of them are justified as long as you do it for you. Not for anyone else. You. So I'm going to leave you some ideas that help me feel good and hopefully you can try them.
All my home-boys out there… this is for you too.
1. Shower when you wake up.
My mom was right all along and I never believed her. Anytime I woke up feeling “blah” she told me to shower. Most of the time I never did because I felt too “blah” to put in the effort. Now, to start my day, I almost always take a shower. It makes you feel clean and fresh… and from here it forces you get ready with the next steps.
BTW - this might seem like common sense for so many of you reading this (especially men) but the majority of women I know (aside from my mom) don’t actually shower every day. Sorry to break the news to you.
2. Wear clothes that make YOU feel good.
I’m a recovering sale shopper. I only hit the sales racks and if something is cheap enough I’ll by it. Most of my clothing items cost around $10 if not less. I have a few “pricey” pieces that cost me no more than $30. The problem with this is that doesn’t mean I LOVE my clothes. If I don’t love what I put on my body, I don’t necessarily feel great. I am trying to have a minimalist wardrobe. That doesn't just mean donating old clothes, it also means having good quality pieces that I want to wear often. I LOVED a pair of black pants as soon as I tried them on. They cost me 50 bucks and the price had me back and forth for literally an hour deciding if i should buy them or not. In the end I did because my face smiled and I danced around the fitting room in awe as I watched my pants in the mirror.
This doesn't always happen I don't always have so much luck in front of the mirror but it's truly critical to like what you see in the mirror. I used to change my outfits over and over thinking “What will other people wear?” or “Do I look thin enough?” One day Francisco put on 5 different shirts and I rolled my eyes thinking “he’s one of those guys... has to look perfect.” I called him out on it but I curled up embarrassed after he told me why he couldn’t settle on a shirt. “It doesn’t feel good.” He doesn’t care about what other people think about him. He puts clothes on his body that make him feel good. One day it might feel less good that others but luckily he’s got a bunch of shirts to choose from.
Now I try to use his mentality when I choose my outfits. I put on something that makes ME feel good without thinking about others.
3. Wear your nice clothes
I have a dress hanging in my closet that I pull out only for special occasions. It’s the dress I wear to make a presentation, apply for a job, etc. After changing my mindset about looking good and feeling good, I decided to wear this dress on a typical day with nothing special planned. I can’t remember what we did that day but I remember that I felt so good. My confidence boosted and I genuinely felt happier knowing that I was showing my best self to the world.
4. Style your hair
I’m lazy when it comes to doing my hair. HA. HA. I’m lazy always. Especially when it comes to doing my hair. I actually really enjoy it but it takes so much time! It’s something that makes me feel good but not good enough to spend an hour styling it. I like the way I look with my hair up too so I usually revert to that. It was like when I was in sixth grade and the only hairstyle I could do was a low ponytail at the nape of my neck. It was probably that entire year I wore my hair like that because I was proud that I could do something behind my head. Do what works for you.
5. Wear makeup (or don’t) I don’t wear a lot of makeup. When I do I feel like a superstar. No really, for me, all it takes is a little eyeliner, mascara and a bright lipstick. If you want to be like Rachel and contour every inch of your face - do it. As long as you do it (or don’t do it) because it’s making you feel like a superstar.
6. Pretend you’re dating yourself
It’s so easy to get ready for other people. Parties, dates, family gatherings. Really any time that we are going to be seen by the public, it’s waaaaaay easier to get dressed up. BUT THIS IS CRAY CRAY. I decided not long ago I was going to “date myself.” I woke up that morning and got ready as if I were going on a date. This time, however, all I had planned was to work from home on my computer. Just the small act of me getting ready lifted my spirits and changed my mindset to be happy about the work I was doing.
Why walk through your life feeling mediocre when these little changes in your day can improve your mood and your confidence? I hope I gave you some ideas that you can use in your life.
PLEASEEEE let me know in the comments what you do daily to help you feel good so I can keep improving with you!