"Growing up in Hawaii, one of the things I had a love-hate relationship with was the small size of the community because "small" also meant it increased the chances of everyone knowing all of your business. For most of my life I've had to hide myself from extended family because of rumors or criticism that they would spread about "what I looked like" or "what I did/didn't wear." I was even criticized for wearing a bikini in a picture on the beach -- WILD!! Being on the beach AND wearing a bikini?? What a concept !! -- Things like that greatly affected how I felt about myself and how I felt about posting things.
Having to hide myself and act a certain way around them created severe self-worth issues. On top of that, I grew up around a lot of beautiful women in Hawaii who had perfect hourglass figures, thigh gaps, and perfect skin which at the time was what I thought the "perfect body" was. I was constantly comparing myself because I was a taller than average, muscular, thick-thighed woman.
When I moved to San Francisco though, all of that started to change. Curvy was okay, and I suddenly wasn't the tallest girl around. It was the first time I was in an environment where people focused on more than just what my life looked like from the outside. The moment I really broke out of my shell (Xel) was last year after moving home because of COVID. I had booked a bikini photo session with Crysta (@crystaylor.photo) just for fun. In that session, Crysta really brought out confidence I never knew existed in me. That was the first time I really saw myself and the power I had when I believed that I was beautiful and strong. At that point I decided that it did me no good to keep hiding who I was just because of fear of people "talking negatively" about me because I knew I could be so much more.
Part of why I started my social media journey has been to allow myself to post what I want for once and to post things that I am proud of and that are authentically me. I wanted to create a profile that represented the REAL me, not a modified version that I had been hiding behind my whole life. It was a complete shock to me of how many positive people started supporting my journey of sharing who I am and things that made me feel powerful.
For most of my life I had experiences with women who constantly criticized and shamed other women for looking a certain way, but I am here to tell you that it is not worth hiding who you are to please other people. Living your truth and owning who you are is the most freeing experience & act of self-care that you can do for yourself. Real women lift others up, instead of tearing others down."