It’s been more than a year since I sat down at the computer to write something other than a legal memorandum. I could give many excuses as to why – planning the Romyna2015 wedding celebrations took every extra minute of my day, my full-time job intensified and free time became a thing of the past and post-marriage travels took us to Jamaica, Costa Rica and all around the country for weddings to celebrate our friends and family, leaving very little time to focus on anything else but the basics.
Though these things did bring immense joy to my world, as well as a little chaos, they are not responsible for why I have been absent from suddhara.com. That is much harder to type on paper.
Since my teenage years, I have been self-conscious about my body – not a novel feeling for teenage girls, but at the time, I felt like these feelings of insecurity were only plaguing me. I remember the exact moment I went from being oblivious to the body I was in to all too aware of what I was up against. I was in the fourth grade and my mom packed my very patriotic stars and stripes two-piece swimsuit for my after-school swim lesson. I spent last period jamming to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls and brainstorming excuses to avoid the spandex and lycra nightmare awaiting me. I settled on pretending to be sick and missed the lesson altogether. This may be why I am still uncomfortable when my feet can’t touch the bottom of the seafloor and why putting my head completely under water gives me heart palpitations – another story for another day. At that moment, the pattern began. Being insecure about my body, feeling anxious about how my stomach wasn’t flat, the rolls that took place of the muscles everyone else seemed to have, kept me from doing something I loved; it kept me from being an active participant in my own life.
Now, almost 20 years later, not much has changed – including what others have described as my “questionable” music taste. Their words, not mine. I have always been in love with all things fashion – uncovering new trends, trying new and different, sometimes bold outfits, watching my style evolve as I grew up and moved through different life stages – to me, clothes have never just been something you wear. They are an expression of who you are. I decided to start this blog as an outlet – a creative way for me to share my love for my first love and to encourage others to create their own style and their own identity through unique pieces in their wardrobe.
So, suddhara.com was born. But within the first few posts, I faced a familiar challenge. How would I share unique pieces and details about exceptional deals without posting photos of myself wearing them? How would I write about clothes that gave me all the feels and made me believe I was the fiercest person in the room without being vulnerable and putting myself out there? Word to the wise – you can’t, but I sure did try. I took all of the photos myself – photo after photo, experimenting with angles and filters that I felt made my midsection look smaller or my legs look more toned. This blog isn’t viewed by millions of people, not even thousands, but for some reason, I could not wrap my head around being the subject of these photos for all to see and all to judge; especially when many of the style inspirations I followed look nothing like me. I was not a size zero and I was not a size 12 so was my voice in this space really worth anything? Would people think that my ideas had value? This fear – fear of not being good enough, not being thin enough, not having anything to offer – became crippling. So much so that I just stopped – stopped taking photos, stopped posting. Again, I let my insecurities keep me from pursuing my passion.
I decided I would make a change. Before the wedding, I embarked on my weight-loss journey. My stomach was FAR from flat – I even named it at one point to make it feel loved and in the hope that it would start craving things like broccoli instead of cheese fries. I worked my ASS off, quite literally, to try to get in shape, start feeling better about the body I was in, and become confident enough to continue posting on the blog. I thought, once the weight started to disappear, so would my insecurities. I signed up for intense classes at Orange Theory Fitness, which not only helped me get in shape but also made me feel like a badass. After nine months, I reached that goal number that I had in my head and I was ecstatic. Then, I looked in the mirror. To my surprise, Burt (my tummy’s title) was still alive and well. I was frustrated and disappointed and I began to spiral. After the wedding, I took a break from working out and replaced salmon and brussel sprouts with wings and waffle fries. Well, the weight came back – funny how that happens, and I put off the blog. AGAIN.
The past few months have led to a lot of self-reflection. I started thinking about how much of my life I have missed out on because of my own issues with my body. I started thinking about what made me fall in love with fashion in the first place and what I am hoping to convey to all of you. I went back to Orange Theory Fitness, not just to lose weight this time but to start to feel better about myself and I learned an important lesson. This body I am in, no matter how imperfect I think it may be, regardless of the fact that it’s not a size zero, is strong as hell. That flat stomach I have been dreaming about since 4th grade may always be out of reach but that does not define me and it won’t keep me from doing the things I love.
A LOT has happened since that fateful day in May, 2014 when I decided to start this blog. Life has given me MANY blessings but with those blessings came a few curve balls. Tragedy means something different to each and every one of us and for those of us who have had to overcome unthinkable and seemingly insurmountable events in our lives, it is absolutely necessary to try and find the silver lining. My silver lining was recognizing that my family is ride or die, that my friends love and support me unconditionally, and even though they can’t forgive my love for Pitbull, they will fight for me until the very end. I also learned from my greatest teacher of all,that time is finite and there is no time to waste when it comes to chasing your dreams and doing what you love.
My love began a LONG time ago in Evanston, IL. I still remember watching my Mom get ready for an event – how she would describe in great detail the vibe of the party, scan her closet for the perfect outfit, search endlessly for the perfect accessories, the perfect clutch. Next, came the shoes. I would sit in her bed with my sister, Golden Girls on in the background, under the heavy duvet, watching her as she tried on suede pumps and patent wedges – she even owned a pair of Lucite heels before Kanye knew they were fashionable. No detail was insignificant and we went through every element of her outfit together before she hurried out the door and my Dad began lecturing us all about the importance of being on time. Every time, without fail, she would walk into that room and she would shine. She owned every detail we had chosen and she was confident in who she was – not because her outfit was perfect but because she was undoubtedly and undeniably true to herself. Her love for style inspired mine and helped me recognize the power of an exceptional outfit and impeccable swag.
So, taking a page out of my Mom’s book, I have decided to also be true to myself and share with all of you the real reason why I have stayed away from suddhara.com for so long. For the first time in my life, I am making a change. I am not going make decisions out of fear and I am not going to let my insecurities get the best of me. Maybe that’s part of the maturity that comes in your 30s. Or, maybe I am finally ready to listen to my Dad’s advice, take the risk and chase my dreams and my happiness. I am a work in progress but I hope you will continue to share this journey with me – as I work to figure it out and work towards a happier and a stronger me – I may never be perfectly confident in this body (though I really am going to make a concerted effort to try) but if I learned anything from my Momma, impeccable swag is all that matters. Well, that and a killer pair of heels.
True to the title of this post and to the spirit of unknowingly relating each outfit post before this one to rap lyrics, “it’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you, without a dope beat to step to”. In this case, I leave you with a dope outfit.