If You're in Need of Some Soul-Care
As a Personal Stylist, I'm fortunate to work with hundreds of women. I resonate on these women who walk in and out of the dressing room with me; all races, body types, religions, backgrounds - and every one of them is beautiful. Throughout my time spent encountering these women, I've also come to learn that the fitting room can be a place of true vulnerability. Mirrors can warp our self-image and can tear down our souls. They can also uplift and warp the image of ourselves so much so, that we spend too much time gazing into them. Ultimately, I've learned that we see a lot more than our physical qualities when we look into a mirror. We see our impurities and our imperfections and our weaknesses and our troubles too. I learn each time I spend in the fitting room that we are all broken, we are all hurting, we are all imperfect.
Although that may sound disheartening, I find there to be a turning point that makes it encouraging as well. People often ask me why I'm passionate about what I do, and over the past few weeks I've come across this question more frequently than most. There are many reasons why I love what I do, but it helps me realize that no matter how different we all are, we all have the same fears and thoughts, lack of self-assurance and trust in God. All too often we rely on others to revitalize us, and all too often I find myself fighting a battle inside my head because of it; the one that constantly compares myself to others and, in summation, says "You're worthless".
After spending time with so many women, I'll tell you that this same thought enters every woman's mind. We all lack confidence, we all feel weary and we oftentimes stunt our growth because we're scared or heartbroken. We rely on words of affirmation from other people or the world, yet forget to feed our own souls with it. To cope with my lack of soul-care, my mentality has always been this: The more you hold back, the less effort you put in and the less attached you are and the more likely people won't hurt you.
But where are the risks? Where is the strength? Where is the confidence in ourselves and in our Creator that empowers us to become even more beautiful by being exactly who we are? I found this quote the other day and fell in love with how simple it was and what it said,
No one is you and that is your power.
Why do we think that being unique is a sign of weakness? Why do we think we live off of the affirmation from other people and not from our own? Why do we consider hard times being moments to tear us down rather than instances we can learn from and make us stronger?
I'm fortunate to have so many women in my work confide in me. I've had women cry in front of me from happiness or from grief. I've had mothers watch their daughters try on bridal shower dresses; two sister's shopping for outfits for their father's premature death; a plus-sized client shriek with joy after fitting into the size she had been working towards; a single mom buying a court-appropriate outfit for a nasty custody battle; and a young woman, after having to go up a size in a pair of jeans, tell me through tears that she had found out her husband was being unfaithful.
I said before that the fitting room can be a place of vulnerability. Perhaps it's because of all the mirrors; the visual tools used for us to point out our flaws and our imperfections and what's wrong with us. It's amazing though, how many women look into a mirror and not only see what they think is physically wrong with them, but they see all their problems and all their worries.
Many people relate vulnerability with weakness, but I consider it strengthening when you allow yourself to be weak, to shed your skin and to bare your heart. All of these women hear negative voices everyday telling them they aren't good enough, powerful enough, or pretty enough... well I think we are! I love that my job allows me to come into work every single day and help encourage every woman to be proud and happy with who she is and how her body is made. I want to somehow show her that she's worth it, that she can do anything and that she can get through anything and that she's beautiful. I think, maybe, these women have had more influence on me than I have had on them.
I do not believe a pair of jeans, a dress, or new pair of shoes will save you. Let me rephrase - I KNOW they won't save you. I don't believe in being self-obsessed or prideful or that materialistic things will ultimately bring you happiness. I do believe though, that fashion reinforces the fact that each of us was created individually. I believe that confidence is something we all lack, but it's something that continually needs to be built. I believe, myself included, that we need to make a change with who we look to for affirmation and love. My hope is, that my work continues to shine God's light into some really dark places.
Thanks for listening to my personal ramblings today. I didn't plan on writing this, but I felt the need to. I hope that it will encourage you to be vulnerable, to take a step, or to feel led to encourage someone else today.