Whilst I was in Cape Town I met Milyn (in the blue printed dress), sister-in-law to my amazing Ambassador and Senior Image Consultant, Willene (in the red dress).
I just have to share the incredibly powerful message she sent to us. I hope that you are as inspired as I am by Milyn’s bravery, honesty and beauty. I am certainly feeling very humbled. I live (and thrive!) for days like this when I am once again reminded how we can touch someone’s life and give them, not the hope, but the absolute knowledge and the absolute certainly that they can stand tall. So very tall. I am also reminded that we, as Image Consultants, have the responsibility to take someone’s confidence and make it flourish and glow, not make it crumble and fall.
And my message to Willene: I have, so many times, felt so very proud of you – but this …… this is the most monumental moment in our beautiful journey together. And it is certainly up there, in all my years of mentoring. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the glorious YOU.
HERE IS MILYN’S LETTER:
There I was at my worst. He had said that part of the reason for dumping me after 16 years and 2 beautiful babies was because I as fat and ugly. Unfortunately I had felt that for so many years so when the person I trust the most said it, I believed it.
Coming from an anorexic / bulimic background, I was always aware of my weight. I become completely numbed by a slow weight gain predominantly due to medication. Once in my head, I had achieved Ogre graduation, well by that time I was wearing clothes that were so large with the attempt to hide myself and other clothes that I squeezed my big frame into persuading myself that the smaller clothes would make me look less huge.
I may not have been the smartest dresser when I was skinny but I knew how to throw together an outfit. Skinny is easy enough though. Skinny clothes are nice too. Plus sizes in the general clothing store are usually really ugly. Being fat and throwing together an outfit. Easy. Being fat and throwing together and outfit and actually looking good…whole other story.
Besides not knowing how to dress, I didn’t care. For years I had felt too unhappy with myself and now, more than ever before. What was the point of dressing up…I looked like crap either way. I hated myself for so many reasons but predominantly for how I looked.
But God had plans. He sent in my sister-in –law, angel wings and all. Willene Sieberhagen, an Image Consultant for Chata Romano. Willene stocked me with a new wardrobe which in itself is amazing but the kick-off was that the clothes she bought me, fit me (I didn’t even have to go to the shops).
Willene knew which colours would accentuate my strengths. She knew how to hide my body’s weak points. She knew how to match the items to get multiple outfits. I’m not going to lie; the gesture of love lifted my spirits tremendously but the talent she shared with me as Image Consultant changed my life. Don’t get me wrong… I was still fat but then when I looked in the mirror, I felt more accepting of myself. At that stage I didn’t start loving myself but I promise you this… suddenly I saw potential.
Since then I have been on a six-month journey of self-discovery, healing, weight loss and learning how to love myself. It doesn’t sound like long, but I have grown in leaps and bounds and am excited for the growth that lies ahead. Because Willene helped me see the light, my mind shift changed, and I leapt into bettering myself for me.
There were many factors that facilitated me starting to crawl out of the deep hole of self-hatred that I had been stuck in for so much longer than I realised. But with Willene’s help, I realised I didn’t have to hide until I reached my goal weight. She showed me that as a plus size, I could still make heads turn.
I regained confidence, I regained shooz, I regained a lust for life and while all of this ensued, I looked good. Looking good made me want to be a better me. I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do but I now have the knowledge and the wardrobe to grow confidently. I pray tons of women will experience what I have and learn to accept yourself regardless of your weight.
To the readers:
I recently met a few consultants, including Chata herself. I’ve never been a girly girl and I admit that I was prejudice enough to think that beautiful woman in the fashion industry must all be princesses. But these women were something else. They were hungry to change the way people think about themselves and their appearances. Image Consultants changing the world by helping with one wardrobe at a time. I’m serious. If Willene could have played such a role in me being me, well imagine how many people can be helped and changed and in so doing literally save the world. Take the leap, you owe it to yourself. It doesn’t take any effort when you know how to do it. Looking good leads to feeling good and feeling good leads to looking better.
To the consultants:
Keep doing what you are doing but please remember what you hold in your hands is a self-esteem that is most likely fragile. Fat or thin. Handle it with care. It is ultimately up to you whether you make or break your client.
You are a phenomenal woman and I aspire to be so much of what you are!
Just from our brief encounter, I understand why you always use words like “May your star shine brightly”. You are a star in yourself. You have a light that fills the room. And it is contagious.
With love and light,