TO THE TEENAGE ME
with hope that SHE will read this one day
learn how to love and accept herself,
how to enjoy food and life.
The secret of the happy, fulfilled life lays in the three S’s:
It sounds so simple and straightforward, but it actually took me more than 20 years to realise what those three S’s really meant, and to learn how to incorporate them into my day-to-day life.
Cultivating The Three S’s.
Growing up, I always felt ‘big’. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t one of those delicate skinny kinds either. I was taller than the girls my age and got my breasts developed quite early, so I was very mature looking. As most kids that are considered different, I was bullied at school. I still remember that older boy that used to call me ‘a barrel’. Now that sounds funny to me, but back then the words got deeper than a knife. I was young, inexperienced and insecure, so I let those words define my relationship with myself, and later with food. I started to believe that I was actually fat, unworthy and unattractive.
In high school for a whole year I was systematically bullied again. But this time it was different. I was not bullied for being chubby, but for being creative, ambitious and talented. I was a 14-year-old girl that knew what she wanted in life: to be a singer and performer, and was passionately pursuing it. I wasn’t into parties, boys or video games, but into song writing, soul and R&B music, and dancing. And as the bullies were older, their words and actions only got stronger and nastier. This is when my relationship with food worsened and I became bulimic. Food was no longer my friend, but my enemy.
In and out, I was bulimic for years. Bulimia was my way to punish myself for not being perfect. Some years were good, quiet; others: painful, almost intolerable. Those of you who have ever had any experience with food disorders would know how hard it is to heal. It takes an immense amount of effort, spiritual and mental work, and love from the people around you. Pilates, yoga and healthy nutrition, and also the love, and support of my family, and later of my husband, were my life raft.
But despite the early insecurities about my body, I was able to cultivate a great sense of confidence. As the years went by, however, I started to realise that confidence was very different from self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion. So I started to work on developing those. I disconnected from toxic relationships that I had tolerated for years, and I delved deeper into the magic of yoga and meditation with the help, guidance and inspiration of my master Shiva Rea. I managed to shift from a healthy, to a holistic way of living. My relationship with my body was still having its ups and downs, but I was slowly getting there.
It all cracked when I got pregnant. My son was my ultimate healer. My real salvation. The pregnancy helped me cultivate a greater connection with myself. It showed me what the important things in life were and kept me in the moment. I learned how to recognize my beauty, regardless of any perceived ‘imperfections’, and I could feel a great sense of empowerment growing and blooming in me like a lotus.
These changes in my mind-set helped me a lot and after I gave birth. I managed to stay fit and healthy throughout the whole pregnancy and didn’t really have to lose any weight. Yet, my belly wasn’t as flat as it used to be pre-pregnancy. It still isn’t. The scar from the caesarean section still feels estranged to me, but I am trying to embrace it. The tired circles under my eyes had now become my constant companion. But instead of hating and judging myself for not being perfect, this time I chose to celebrate the emotional and physical flaws of the postpartum ME.
The teenage me wouldn’t understand that, but I now fully believe that there is incredible beauty in imperfection.
The teenage me wouldn’t look at my scars, emotional and physical, from a place of love and acceptance.
The teenage me wouldn’t realize that no matter what my journey has been, my words, story, images, struggle, business (2 Health App) and messages resonate with women from all around the world.
Nor would she understand that the words of the bullies spoke louder about themselves than about me. Their words didn’t make the present ME less happy, successful, loved, beautiful or healthy.
The secret of the happy, fulfilled life lays in the three S’s: self-love, self-acceptance and self- compassion for your past, present and future self.
Thanks for reading this article. To learn more about self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion read also LOVING YOURSELF: THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL.
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