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#andproudSA : A collaboration with All Things Belo.

Hi lovely ladies! If you follow me on social media (you can here ), you would have seen the launch of the #andproudSA campaign I collaborated with my good friend and fellow blogger, Victoria. Victoria is the mastermind behind the blog All Things Belo . The campaign sought to celebrate women and the things we should be proud of that society often shuns is for, be it our color, weight or personality. Today, we both are sharing the stories of the women who participated, so once you’ve read the stories on here, head over to Tori’s blog and check out the other stories. These women have been so brave and real and more than anything, inspiring, and I’m so proud that we were able to come together and create sisterhood through our differences. Here are some of their stories:

  1. Reeshni Chaslyn

“Posting this up because it’s the only picture I have that clearly shows my self-harm scars. I wanted to share this as part of the #andproudsa campaign.

I’ve been battling with self harm since the age of 10. It took me a while to fully embrace myself and show my battle wounds. The battle may have been against myself but it took me years to overcome.

To anyone out there battling self-harm, I know it’s hard right now. I know you feel alone, and it feels as though no one understands you. Just remember that there are tons of people out there suffering with this. We may hide it, but we understand. We know the dark place that you’re in right now. We know how much pain you’re in, but most importantly we know that you CAN fight this. Screw the people that tell you attention seeking or that it’s ‘just a phase’. It’s real. It hurts. It’s serious.

Always remember that you’re not alone”.

2. Grizel Dookhi

“Curvy, so what?! When I was a toddler, my family would always grab my cheeks telling me how cute chubby cheeks was! But a couple years later, the very same people are telling me how to lose them. The most terrifying question for me was my age because I knew almost immediately after it’s going to be “you look so big for your age”. During family functions, when I was about to eat, someone would say don’t eat too much of this or cut down on that. Living in an Indian community, you are constantly reminded of the ‘perfect’ figure which is being thin with no curves. However, no one really understood that I just genetically inherited this from my mum. In hope to please others, I was always trying to find ways to lose weight either doing crazy diets or sometimes I wouldn’t even eat. Just so I could fit in. But as I grew older, I realized that you should never fit in to be liked or loved. People shouldn’t like or love you because you have the best figure or the most perfect smile. So I quit trying to please others and started pleasing myself, and started embracing my curves and I couldn’t be happier!”

3. Cheyenne Pillay (me, duh).

“Brown and #proudSA. For the first few years of my life, I knew nothing about color. My parents never raised me to see it. Until I was in grade 1, and someone told me “how can you and Alyssa be sisters? She’s so fair and you’re so dark?” I was shocked. I’d never realized we were different in that way. Yes, I’d taken after my dad with darker skin, whilst my sister had taken after my mum with lighter skin. How did that make us not related? Since then, I’ve heard comments my whole life, like “you’re dark unlike your mummy and sister” and “you’re pretty for a dark girl”. Within the Indian community, colorism is still so alive. Lighter skin girls are still considered more beautiful and it shocks me. As a child and teen, I constantly used lightning creams, stayed out of the sun and did everything to look lighter skinned. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m proud to be brown. This is who I was created to look like. It doesn’t determine my beauty or who I get to be related to. I am brown and proud and society doesn’t get to tell me any different!”

4. Shabnam ( missrosanegra )

“As a woman, I know a lot about the pressure that not only society puts on us but the pressure we put on ourselves to look and be perfect.

I am shorter than the average woman. I am not a size zero. I have acne scars on my face. I am hairier than most women. I have uncontrollable hair when it’s not straightened. I have a huge nose. I have stretch marks and beauty spots all over my body.

These are things I grew up believing were flaws because society made me believe so. What I’m beginning to realize is that perfection doesn’t exist. We all are beautiful and perfect just the way God made us.”

Don’t forget to head over to Tori’s blog to check out the remainder of the stories. Share your stories with us below! We wanna hear from you!

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