Women empowerment

I was consumed by an inner dialogue that incessantly told me I was a “waste of space”.

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.

We met Eden a few months ago and she was one of the first participants for this project. We are happy to let you know now that she is also about to tag along in the Scandaleuse journey, as we will be combining services very soon. Read her story below!

If I had listened, then… I wouldn’t be here today

Before I embraced myself in all of my authentic glory (weirdness, flaws, and all), I was consumed by an inner dialogue that incessantly told me I was a “waste of space”.

If I listened to this inner dialogue, then I wouldn’t be alive.

 
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My journey towards embracing who I am is a colourful one, but its colourful spectrum is not limited to the pastels and vibrant colours of a beautiful life.

Instead, the spectrum of my life includes dark and shadowy aspects that painted my imbedded need to conform to someone proper, petite, and poised. Someone who “should” fit perfectly into a designated box.

Well, the “rule follower” in me cared what the “rules” were. The rule follower in me cared how I was being perceived by others. The rule follower in me allowed my uniqueness to be dimmed by the rigid regulations of the external reality I faced.

The attempt to conform my wild and extraordinary imagination caused me to feel weird, othered, rejected, and unlovable. My thirst for knowledge and inclination to pursue academics caused me to be made fun of and labeled as a “know it all”. The comparison of myself against bodies that were slender and airbrushed caused me to look at my body with disgust and hatred.

On an ongoing basis, I would find myself tightly constricting my stomach with a tensor bandage with the desperate need to morph my body into someone “beautiful”.

I was trying to conceal myself, which was perpetuated by a deeply ingrained desire to be someone “different”, someone “acceptable”.

It truly felt like the parts of my existence were being pulled by its threads, ripped apart, and shattered.  Looking into these tattered fragments of myself, all I could see was someone who was broken, someone who didn’t belong, and (like broken things) someone who should be tossed away.  

 
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The journey towards the reclamation of who I am was not an easy one. My desire to ignore and disobey the toxic negativity that filled my head required me to care just enough about myself in order to step in and survive. I’ll never forget the moment that I decided not to listen, the moment I decided to survive.

One step at a time, I learned to appreciate the beauty of my uniqueness, the importance of my sentiment, and the perfection of my flaws.

I am here, having a human experience and contributing to the world in a way that no one else can because no one else is me. Step by step, moment by moment, I allowed myself to re-invigorate my imagination. Yes, I do believe in unicorns, mermaids, goodness, peace, and love. Allowing myself to indulge in the pleasures of learning new things and expanding my mind has sufficiently equipped me with a unique skillset that helps my clients do the same. Most recently (partly with the help of Scandaleuse Photography), I have decided to love my body the way it is and find beauty in the way that it twists and turns, whilst simultaneously finding deep appreciation for the adventures my body brings me on.

I am so grateful that I didn’t listen. I am so grateful because I am here shining bright like a beacon for others who feel like I once did.

Policing Black women’s hair has been a constant battle many of us have faced.

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.

If I had listened, I wouldn’t have cut my hair.

I have always played it safe.
Always.

 
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As women, we have been conditioned to believe that long hair is a sign of our femininity. Especially as a Black woman, our hair is sacred. There are so many stories and beautiful memories we have of our individual hair journeys. Unfortunately, there are moments in our stories that aren’t pleasant.

Policing Black women’s hair has been a constant battle many of us have faced.

I remember feeling so excited to get my hair done but then secretly worrying about getting asked questions like “Is your hair real? Why do you change it so often? Can you wash it like normal hair?” Once someone told me, “you can't keep changing your hair like that. It makes you look unprofessional.”

For far too long, I listened. I played it safe. And because I was listening, I was holding myself back from being the sexiest, happiest, and most confident version of myself. 

I never cared much about Rihanna, but I loved how she rocked her hair. At one point she cut it short and I remember my eyes felt like they were falling out of my head because I SO wanted to do that. But I didn’t. Why? For starters, my mom didn’t think it was a good idea. Like I mentioned before, long hair is a sign of being a sensual woman and short hair to some means your edgy, reckless, wild, etc.

3 years later I moved out with my boyfriend. I posted a picture on Instagram of my hair pinned back and I got so many compliments. The one that stood out, encouraged me to make the biggest hair decision ever. “OMG! Did you cut your hair? It looks amazing!”

 
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I remember that moment so clearly. I instantly started scrolling through Instagram for some hair inspiration and came across ‘The Cutlife’. I was freaking out!

I saw so many beautiful Black women with short hair. Fades, bobs, bald...these were my people! Without hesitation, I found the first stylist available and booked an appointment to cut my hair.

There was something so incredibly liberating about feeling my hair fall on my cape. I felt like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.

Unfortunately, she totally botched it but when I did find the right stylist to fix it, I saw a woman in the mirror I fell so in love with.

My hair has become a signature component of my brand. I feel free, fun, confident, and powerful. To maintain its freshness, it must be cut every week!

If I had listened to what others had to say about women with short hair, I truly don’t believe I would be the version of myself I am today. If you’re reading this and have been debating to try a new look but question if it’s professional enough or to society’s standards, listen to me when I say FORGET WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY! DO YOU! BE YOU! AND LOVE YOU!

You’ll thank yourself later.