Women empowerment

First it hurts, then it changes you.

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. Read more on the blog!

If I had listened to the thoughts of doubt and negativity in my head, I would have never had the courage to reinvent my life.

There’s something to be said about being forced to move on from a relationship that I knew wasn’t working and gaining the courage to start a whole new life that wasn’t in my plans.   

 
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I started the journey of self reinvention at the age of 39 shortly after I received my walking papers from my ex wife. I didn’t move on gracefully.  The relationship hadn’t been working for a long time really so it shouldn’t have been a surprise.  On the outside it looked like I had it all; the great career, a large home, fancy car - the works. But, inside I was empty and unfulfilled. The scariest part was leaving behind this comfortable life that I had built. Would I ever find love again at my age? How was I going to start over as I approached midlife?

A few months into my newly single life I left the pitty party behind and began to refocus on myself. I now had the chance to  live a more authentic existence and I vowed that I would get it right this time around.

What did this mean? Happiness. I was no longer going to do things or be with anyone that would make me unhappy. It was time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

 
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At the age of 40 I left my high paying corporate job to do something that filled my heart rather than my pockets. I tried new things. I took better care of myself mentally and physically. I travelled on my own. I met the love of my life while on vacation and moved to another province to be with her. I went back to school to learn new skills and another language. A baby soon followed at the age of 42.

I now have a supportive partner who is in love with me and is proud to be by my side. I have my own business doing something that I love. I speak another language and I'm a proud mom of a 2.5 year old daughter that dances like nobody's watching. She's magic. My life is magic. Midlife is magic.

There is this saying that I love and it says “First it hurts, then it changes you.” It’s amazing how allowing yourself to feel and own the pain of hurt or disappointment can change your life for the better.

I’m now a 45 year old sex positive, body positive, queer woman who is living her best life. I celebrate my perfectly imperfect body because it can move and I’m healthy. I nurtured and birthed another human being with 42 year old eggs. How magical and awesome is that? 

Because the process of life reinvention has made me a more courageous and confident person, I decided to start a blog. The goal of this blog is to empower and inspire other midlife moms who feel like they’re undesirable, lost and losing time to rediscover and reinvent themselves. Just like I did.

I once thought that I was too old to start over. I soon realized that even if I had only one day left on this earth, I’d rather spend it happy than with sadness and regret.

People like to say that life is short. It’s really not. Life is long and at midlife you have so much life to live. Why live the rest of your life unhappy when you can live everyday celebrating it?

If I had listened to the negative thoughts in my head that told me I was too old to start over again, I would have never had the courage to reinvent my life for the better. Tackling the fear of the uncomfortable is what lead me to the bliss.

 
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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.