Self Love & Waist Beads

In the past year since the pandemic started and I have been staying home much more often, I have forged a different path my personal style than ever before. I don’t currently work outside the home and my typical style includes a lot of athleisure clothes, some sweaters, and a pair of leggings or jeans. So honestly, before the pandemic the bar was already set pretty low most of the time with my clothing of choice 99% of the time. During covid, when we weren’t going anywhere, I saw the bar lower even further while my pants got even tighter. I wasn’t wearing bras every day, though I’m pretty flat chested. Because, why? I wasn’t leaving the house! I started supporting more small businesses by buying things I normally wouldn’t as my online shopping took a turn from Amazon down the Etsy rabbit hole. I was feeling good about leaving some cultural expectations behind (loving what’s new and trending) and learning to march to the beat of my own drum. Trust me, I’m never going back. I love having my very own personal style.

For a long time, I was also indulging way too much in 2020. I was supporting local businesses by eating way too much small business takeout. And yes, I did frame it that way in my head! I need to do my part to keep these restaurants open…so takeout (again) it is. My pants got tighter and tighter. My confidence tanked. By the time I buckled down and decided to do something about it, I could barely get myself to look at a scale much less step on one. I tried a couple apps, I tried intuitive eating, calorie counting, etc. It’s so hard to be unhappy with yourself and reach for vices, then try to correct your sails, and then find yourself hitting dead ends when nothing feels like it’s working. It can be very discouraging and depressing.

A few weeks ago I had this vision from being in college and watching live music at the bandshell one summer. I remember showing up with my perfectly straightened hair, impeccable clothing, and carefully chosen appearance. I remember looking up at to the front of the stage and seeing a woman with long, gray, unkempt hair, a flowy outfit with no bra, little to no makeup, and a free spirited bohemian look that had her hips moving to the tunes and her flappy arms swinging in the air to the flow of the beat. She had draggy boobs. She hadn’t put a ton of thought into her appearance that day. But she was happy. Draggy boob lady was on top of the world, living her best life, and she didn’t give a shit what anyone thought.

My new goal in life is to be draggy boob lady.

Ok, don’t get me wrong. I do kind of care a little bit about my appearance. I like to wear makeup for fun, and I would rather have muscular arms than batwings. I’ve upgraded from free-boobing to wearing bralettes. But overall, draggy boob lady has a whole vibe, and I’m here for it.

After thinking back to that memory, I decided I would start looking for something to decorate the part of my body I like the least: my stomach. I thought about how some free spirited ladies wear waist beads to adorn this area of their body. This is totally opposite of something I would typically wear, but once I started looking into it, I totally saw the appeal. The wearing of waist beads is part of traditional African culture and they have been doing it for centuries. The purpose intended is for beauty, weight loss tracking, attracting mates, symbolism, and for initiation rites. Obviously, I don’t really use them for ALL of these reasons, and currently, I’m not showing them off. They’re for my eyes only, kind of like wearing a lacy bra that only I know I’m wearing.

I measured my waist and ordered several strands of differing sizes, and I am loving using them so far. My plan is to eat intuitively and over the upcoming months I hope to see the beads sliding down my waist as the weight comes off. I love that I’ll be able to visually track my health in this way, and it seems like a very confidence-based, self-loving method of measuring my weight loss.

I have been ordering from Swahili Girl on Etsy, but I’m linking you to her actual website (that I didn’t even know she had!) because she’ll make more money that way. I noticed that some sites are selling them for $$$ and some are less expensive. It’s literally beads on a non-stretching nylon string so in my opinion, it is not something that should come with a hefty price tag. I’m noticing some beads come in a string that you are supposed to self-measure and tie off and then cut off, making them permanent until you choose to snip them off (or of course, until they break). This was outside of my comfort zone, so I chose a twist-off clasp. So far, I’ve worn them in the shower and every single day since I’ve bought them. I totally love them!

Have you ever considered wearing waist beads? Do you do anything to track weight loss or health be it an app, intuition, journaling, or a physical item? I would love to hear about it!

Click here to order from Swahili Girl.

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