“You look beautiful in that dress.”
Those words, or some form of them, were repeated by every woman I encountered while wearing the soft cotton, body hugging, strapless beach dress.
The dress was a daring and bold “look at me” tie-dye color I normally stay away from. When I eyed it on the rack at the store, the first thing I did was feel the material. It was the type of cotton that slipped through my fingers. Thinking it would make for a perfect beach cover up, I took it into the dressing room and tried it on. It fit perfectly like second skin.
Most would consider this situation a win, but I stood there looking at myself for a long time analyzing every reason why I shouldn’t buy this dress.
“You will be welcoming eyes your way when you wear this, you know.”
This was my main worry; that people would look at me. My bust and curves would be right there on display for everyone to stare at and pick apart.
But I couldn’t help that the dress made me feel light and free, like I was floating on a cloud.
I’m 38 years old and I’m tired of the conversations I’m having with myself about how I look or what I should and shouldn’t be wearing.
The (soul) work I’ve been doing for the last five years has taught me that these voices don’t ever truly go away. It takes some major suiting up, as if I was going into combat to silence them. My weapon of choice: kindness.
Kindness. This is what the women in my life have bestowed on me. They look directly into my eyes and tell me I am beautiful in this dress.
I’m beautiful? Me? I don’t look too busty? This color, it’s not too much?
“Thank you” I say, and I beam because they’re not talking about the dress and I believe them.
On this day, sitting on this beach, I felt an inner strength I had not known before. It radiated through me, and I knew in that moment that something had shifted in the way I see myself.
I allow myself the space to believe, down to my core, that I am worthy of their kindness and that I need to extend that same luxury to myself.
I didn’t buy the dress because I loved it.
I bought it because I feel beautiful when I wear it.