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Chapter Two—A story of Self Love.

I've been longing for a while to connect deep and meaningfully with my community and those special people I have got around me. A little while ago I was at my studio and while I was making a new shirt for myself, I noticed that my mind was like a record player, running through the same thoughts over and over again. As I am biking home I felt inspired to express those thoughts out loud into the world, in the hopes that I would make room for new thoughts to flow in and ultimately—stop the “record player” from repeating itself again.

I passed by my house and picked up my dog to take her for a walk. I took her to the dog's park near my house, when we got there I let her off leash. I walked over to a bench, I sat down, picked up my phone and opened my ‘Voice Memos’ for the very first time.

At first, I must admit that I felt extremely nervous. Why? I was about to record my thoughts out loud... this felt so weird, and completely out of my comfort zone. The idea of sharing these thoughts were somehow scary but freeing at the same time, I just wanted to let them go.

To my surprise, once I started speaking into the microphone, I felt a strange amount of comfort and proceed to express myself with honesty, authenticity and vulnerability.

There was a unexpected sense of well-being that I felt after expressing those thoughts out loud—I instantly felt so much better when I pressed that little red button.

I understood something in that moment that related to what I begun by saying in this story—my hopes for a deep, meaningful connection with my community was found there.

Below, I share with an open heart, the audio transcript of this first recording and the link to my podcast where I will continue to share more similar stories—my vulnerable, authentic side in the hopes I will connect with you.

[00:01] Alright so, I've been thinking a lot about this thing and since soon I will be doing my Instagram come back and I wanted to be something meaningful and I wanted to put these thoughts that I've had into words and, I was biking home and I was thinking about what I wanted to say and it came to mind a lot of things.

[00:46] I was just actually for the first time on Instagram, just browsing, looking at photos, whatever, hadn't done that in a really long time. And I went into my most popular photos page. I'm not exactly sure what it's called, but the page where there is all the photos that have the most likes, or are the most popular, trending on Instagram. And I don't know if it was because it was my Instagram and how it was set up, but it was pretty much just a lot of pictures of girls in their bikinis showing their sexy body. And I was like, hmm this must be the one percent of girls in the world. All right here, right now, showing off their bodies in all these pictures. Because I honestly don't know anyone around me that actually looks like that.

[01:53] Anyways, I noticed that, I started feeling a little bit of insecurities and maybe a little bit of dissatisfaction with my own body. And then I thought to myself, I'm like "okay, this is exactly why I stopped using social media for the past year and a little bit". I was like "this is the feeling that that has kept me away for a little while"

[02:31]But because I have been away for so long, I was able to, I was able to let go of that a lot easier than I probably would have one year ago. And I just thought to myself "man, what about all these girls out there who have been seeing these kinds of photos for, I don't know how long of time, of a time and who probably have little to no self-love or self-awareness? How would that feel right now?"

[03:21] And I thought to myself too, taking a break for me has been absolutely huge and I would not imagine my life without it. I feel so much more mentally stable and capable of having a chance in the social media world because before it felt more like, it felt more like that friend that (...) you weren't so pleased to be you around or their company wasn't, satisfying. I'm not sure. But anyways, so I was like "yeah, like a lot of girls probably looking at this right now is probably feeling less of themselves than ever before". Like I personally used to.

[04:42]I never felt like I was good enough and I just then wanted more than ever to make sure that if I'm going to be back in this platform that there is going to be a pure intention and a reason and I am not, I am not going to hide anything and I want to be very honest and very clear about what this is.

[05:18] And the reason why I like or I am in fashion is because I believe in the potential of making somebody feel better about themselves. Like I have done this for myself, when I was insecure, when I didn't like my body, I always knew what to wear to, or what to make actually to compensate that.

[05:54] And there are parts of our bodies that we love more than others and those can definitely be accentuated and I believe in the power of custom made clothing to give woman a better standing point from where they are and they can definitely feel better about themselves when something is custom made to their own body type. Yeah... I am grateful for this time I've had apart. I don't think there would even be a chance that I would be able (...) to be honest with myself if I didn't have this time away.

[06:52] I notice how I feel and I definitely just noticed again how these kind of pictures all out there in the wild web make me feel and I was not prepared to have access to all of that.

[07:12]Coming from a place of a lot of insecurities and you know, sometimes been bullied for how my body looked "too skinny, too fat, never good enough". And I kind of didn't know any better. So I just, "yeah, yeah, for sure that must be true." So I took it all in and made it real. And I do feel for every women who may have had the same experience or is currently in the same sort of thing.

[07:57] I have the intention of being honest with myself, with my community, with the world and I hope that through my honestly and the vulnerability, I will be able to inspire other women and hopefully make them feel better about themselves and help them love their body, love who they are because it is not easy. It's definitely a lot easier to fall down on the other track.

[08:43] But I think that it's a fight worth fighting and that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually very bright. And not to say that I have achieved complete self love and you know, all this perfect idea about myself, but I am definitely working towards that direction and I see that I can be more present now with my friends, with my family, with the people around me because I'm not constantly thinking, "oh, how does my body look like? Am I good enough. Does this look alright? Is my belly too fat?" All this mind talk that often happens and fighting against that has been a really, really, really, really, really long journey. But I'm starting to see the light and I hope that through that I will be able to help other women see the light in themselves too. Okay.

[10:15] I don't know who I'm speaking to you, but I feel like I'm speaking to somebody. Good night. I'm going to go to bed now and I love you. I have no idea who you are. But maybe you're somebody who might end up listening to this one day and who might just need to hear this and I love you and (...) your to soul, the thing inside of you that is alive also loves you too.

[10:51] Good night!!!

This is my first Voice Memo non-edited for you to listen, hopefully resonate and enjoy. If you happen to have gotten all the way down here—I appreciate you and hope to connect with you. I would love to hear from you.

With love,

Raphaella Santana