Hey! I’m Kiana Cena, a twenty-something biracial curly-haired gal with an Italian husband and fairly messy life. I love spreading messages of self-love, body positivity and empowering feminism. And I love London Bridges Clothing because they represent all of these things to me. This company is one with a real heart and mission to inspire women to feel their best and most confident – and what better way than how they lead by example with their founder/creator/mother Holly. A woman-built company focused on strengthening other women – it just doesn’t get better than that (well except for the pockets!) Here are some of the thoughts that I want to share with you today – if you want to see more head on over to my instagram @kiki.cena where you’ll get a lot of authentic honesty about life’s imperfections and uplifting messages about female empowerment – and none of that Instagram goals crap!
This year I’ve been thinking a lot about women and the particular message that gets pushed in our society that our bodies are to be looked at and admired. Essentially they are often considered as ornamentation intended for only aesthetic appeal. Just think of how often women apologize for a “less than perfect” appearance. When we turn up in sweats or don’t wear makeup, it’s “sorry, I didn’t have time/energy to get ready” “sorry I look gross – I just came from the gym”, “sorry, my hair is so frizzy”. We live with this daily expectation that we are supposed to look pleasing to those around us – as if we were walking beauty billboards.
On the other hand, I’ve been drawn so much to the idea of our bodies as instruments – a tool designed with purpose and one that can accomplish amazing feats when applied. Your body was optimally designed to DO – as opposed to just BE pretty/beautiful/attractive. Here are some of the things that it does every day.
- Forms neural connections to generate memories and register new information to formulate understanding and knowledge
- Produces white blood cells that are smart enough to identify bacteria and attack viruses in order to protect your body from infection.
- Manages light transmission into the various parts of the eye to interpret color, depth perception and can turn a random collection of lines into discernible language
- Coordinates hands and fingers that can hold objects, balance babies, and learn to play musical instruments
- Synchronize heart muscles that repeatedly cycle and pump on average 42 MILLION times a year
- Directs a complex system of skin and nerves that provide sensory touch receptors and a layer of protection to outside elements, complete with a healing mechanism that knits skin cells together when cut or wounded
And that doesn’t even address all the skills, hobbies and athletic feats that our bodies can accomplish. Imagine if your body neglected even one of these process. So how is it that with a body that is a wonder and a marvel – we end up rejecting ourselves in the mirror because our thighs touch, or our face is “too” round or our hips aren’t “narrow” enough?
I have a friend who at the moment is in her third-trimester of pregnancy with twins. Her body has changed in ways that are never represented on the cover of magazines – but let this sink in, her body is providing life for 3 people at one time! Three different people! Her body was able to adapt and create the space for two additional bodies to grow and nourish them
for nine months – all while still providing for her individual body’s needs and accomplishing that entire list above. I don’t know if there are adequate words to express how incredibly impressive that is – and how masterfully designed our bodies are. When I think and begin to marvel at what an impressive instrument we each have – I can’t help but begin to dismiss the narrow aesthetic criteria that I typically use to judge the quality of my body. Typically we consider it either a good body or bad body based on how it looks that day.
One of my resolutions for this year is that when I look in the mirror, I appreciate and take a moment to give thanks for another day where my lungs were able to fuel my body with oxygen to keep up with my activities, my legs were able to carry my body up and down the stairs as many times as needed, and hopefully one day my organs can create space and breathe life into another person. It’s absolutely natural and normal to desire the concept of being “beautiful” but we need to expand our definition to see the beauty in the function, form, and performance of our body. This is what it means to me that “every woman is beautiful” – regardless of the imperfections, weaknesses or even physical disabilities – what our bodies are able to accomplish is beautiful – even breathtaking, just like a well-performed sonata or perfectly executed gymnastic routine.
Huge shout-out to Beauty Redefined which has largely inspired my thoughts, in particular their slogan that “My body is an instrument not an ornament”. I highly recommend checking them out, @beauty_redefined on Instagram. They bring a whole new meaning to body positivity and self-love since they focus on not just feeling confident in how you look but also going a step further to recognize that women are more than bodies and should value themselves as so much more than beautiful!