It's okay to be feminine

A mother of two, with a few folds existing where there were previously none to see, closer to 40 than 30, I feel I can say that I love the body I am in, I love whom I am and I'm looking forward to each fabulous day.

I am above average in looks, can be charming and engaging if the mood is right, how did it happen that for over 5 years I felt uncomfortable in my skin, not quite satisfied with how I looked, but seemingly unable to do anything to change it? I used to weigh 55 kilos, could eat anything and not really gain weight, I lived as a student in Moscow, one of the fashion capitals of the world, where looking good is good business. About 10 years ago, I married my husband, dear man and moved to Germany. And I got stuck.

Most women in Germany don't really pay too much attention to what they are wearing, most people 60 and below anyway. The over 70s are generally different. Anyway, so I moved to provincial Germany and slowly my wardrobe evolved to blend with my surroundings. As my metabolism slowed with age, and as a result of multiple pregnancies, I have arrived at my current weight of 67kgs. I work in a field where there are hardly any women, not to talk of women of colour, in Germany, where it seems almost like a badge of to dress frumpily, or as asexually as possible., so little wonder that my work wardrobe was full of slacks and expensive shirts, the look of which I didn't always like on myself.

I have to admit that I have issues with standing out, positively or negatively, I find it uncomfortable to accept praise or receive criticism publicly, and it's become worse since I moved to Germany, so that's probably part of the reason why I tried to blend in so drastically.

I would see someone visiting from outside Germany, or travel outside Germany and look enviously at how well put together they were. It got to a stage where I decided I just wasn't as nice looking as I thought I was and, so just accept with the hand I've been dealt. I loved going abroad because I felt like a completely different person.

Thank God for the wisdom of age - where you slowly learn to care less about what others think about you, preferring instead to do what makes you happy. I also silently absorbed the thoughts and opinions of loads of women on an online forum that I visit ( originally for hair care tips, and now for every topic under the sun), and there was a period had where there were so many discussions on becoming the 'it-girl' as they called it and on personal style.

The first time I wore a dress to a meeting, it was liberating for me. There were 25 of us and I was the only female. Dress code was business casual and I looked a bit more formal than the rest of the group, but that's my prerogative being the only woman in the group, or what do you think? I felt I could be myself with respect to dressing and it didn't really matter what I wore/wear (within the boundaries of decency of course), what matters is that I bring a lot to the table. It also started to strike me that a lot of senior women in and outside of my company seem to wear lots of dresses. I'm sure it's less about the dress than about the self confidence which enables them to be wholly themselves.

I feel so much happier since I started dressing to please myself, without taking too much notice of others opinion. I notice with surprise how comfortable I felt wearing my own natural hair 'out' around the same time too. Now I went natural in 2009, but I always had my hair in braids, cornrows or a weave, and when not in a bun. It was liberating to wear twists( with no added extensions), which were not particularly special looking and feel beautiful! Now I have a few blemishes here and there, bags under my eye due to lack of sleep and a left over baby bump, but you know what, I am beautiful! I have a classic feminine personal style and there is nothing wrong with that.

I feel good, tada da dada, I feel good, tada da dada, so good, so good.....


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