Why wear jewelry no one else can see?
Q: What is the purpose of spending money if no one notices?
A: Some women wear jewelry as art, i.e. Iris Apfel. Some wear jewelry to support a public image. When others see beautiful jewelry, they make judgments about the person’s money, taste, style, and class. In other words, people make judgments about the person’s worth based on their external appearance. If no one can see your jewelry, does it mean that you do not have money, taste, or class? Of course not! If you embody these traits, it’ll be obvious through your actions, not your accessories. But because we live in a Kardashian society, it’s often expected that our external presence represents our internal qualities, regardless of accuracy or authenticity. And sometimes it's easier or quicker to let our exterior present an agreeable version of our self. I'm here to tell you that genuine is better.
Momma Used To Say
In my 20s, I wore belly shirts and low jeans to show off my glittering waist beads. My waist beads represented sex appeal, something kinky, taboo, and desirable. My waist beads elicited notice by twinkling in an unlikely place, drawing eyes to a hidden part of my body. I thought that wearing waist beads made me seem interesting and appealing to others. No one else wore anything like it and I was treated as something extraordinary by wearing something different. I felt noticed, talked about, and admired for my boldness. I loved the attention, but it wasn’t about the waist beads. I craved validation. When I didn't wear waist beads, I felt ignored and overlooked by others. It's true, I’ve never been trendy or flashy in any way that demands interest. I'm not tall or thin or flawlessly made up. Besides my shoe game (always tight!), I am pretty average in appearance. Or at least my perception at the time was that women around me seemed to have it going on and I did not, which affected my self-esteem. Waist beads made me stand out, but only if they were seen by others. So I stood hands akimbo or dramatically reached for things. Essentially, I wore the jewelry to fulfill an emotional need.
I now reflect on that time and on those needs with immense compassion and sympathy because I learned valuable lessons about self-worth, self-love, and self-perception. My mother said when she bought my first bra, “This is only for you to see.” Her message was twofold: 1) invest in beautiful lingerie because of how it makes you feel when you wear it and when you see it and 2) don’t be showing everyone your goodies! Mom taught me to value my perception of myself, a lesson I forgot in my 20s when I was showing my goodies and experiencing the highs and lows of doing so. Luckily I recalled her sage advice in my (mid) 30s. Remembering my mother’s words changed how I currently wear waist beads.
Similar to wearing intimates, wearing waist beads can be personal and private or shared with those closest to you. I wear waist beads under my clothes because they no longer represent something that I need from others, but rather something I need from myself. My waist beads are associated with intentions to help me stay connected with my purpose and mindfulness to maintain my self-awareness. Intentions and mindfulness may also be the reason that some women might wear mala beads. However the major difference between mala beads and waist beads is intimacy. When people see mala beads worn around the neck on top of clothes, they form opinions about the wearer regarding intelligence, education, spirituality or spiritual practice, friends, or even profession. It's difficult for anyone to remain unaffected by others' assumptions. On contrast, waist beads worn under clothing don’t extract judgments, comments, questions, or critiques. Waist beads worn under clothes are for the wearer. When worn the Essensuals way, waist beads represent your connection with your spirit guides, your work, and your journey. Waist bead wearers will not receive immediate attention for internal processes, but even without seeing the gemstones, your waist beads are surely noticeable.
Awareness and Activity
Someone complimented my appearance the other day. Becoming present of my external appearance, I looked down at my old dress and touched my usual wash-and-go hair. I remember saying something like, “I sure know how to make a $10 dress look like $15. It’s a gift!” But in reality, I believe I received the compliment because when I wear waist beads, I am on a mission to be my best self and therefore I reflect my best self. It’s attractive! I feel especially empowered with my gorgeous gems because I am strongly living my intentions and it feels damn good. My empowered feelings affect my non-verbal cues, my body language. My posture improves. Even my walk is a bit more fierce than usual. Ultimately, how I feel about myself when wearing waist beads affects others’ perceptions of me in positive ways that dazzle like the most expensive couture jewels. I don’t need anyone to tell me how beautiful/wonderful/stunning/whatever I am because I’m just me.
That’s not to say others can’t comment on the synchronicity of my internal beauty. However the idea of external validation is relevant when discussing intention jewelry. In a world filled with airbrushing and belfies, it’s important to remember that no one else’s opinion of you matters more than your own. Validate yourself.
“But how?” That is the supportive work that you will do with your waist beads. Healthy internal validation helps us to remember that our worth is not determined by whoever approves of us. We give up our personal power when we look to others to determine our value based on their criteria, which is usually unknown to us or worse, set by societal standards that diminish our uniqueness. If we intend to live our truths, as individuals, we must validate our own needs because there are reasons why we do what we do and reasons why we feel how we feel. Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors make sense as responses to our lived experiences of which only we are aware.
Let’s say, for example, that we grew up in a household where we internalized other’s ideas of weight. Wearing waist beads might recall size criticism because waist beads heighten our awareness of our midsection. We might, therefore, reject anything that reminds us of our body being less than ideal and anything that attracts focus to our body. Public eyes in private places magnify shame, anxiety, humiliation, and other ill feelings. Drawing attention to our perceived flaws might feel overwhelming and embarrassing. Therefore wearing waist beads could possibly trigger uncomfortable or even unbearable feelings that we just don’t want to address. All of that is understandable.
The other side
Waist beads can be used to overcome unsettling emotions, once and for all. Let's explore the scenario above to learn how:
1. Recognize that everyone has felt similar feelings about fluctuating weight. The first barrier to considering waist beads might be taking your own measurements and then *gulp* telling someone else. Fears about judgment and criticism, and how we have handled it in the past, can prevent us from exposing our vulnerabilities in the future. Sometimes we’ve internalized other’s opinions and now we repeat those same harsh words we heard in the past to ourselves. Hesitance is absolutely understandable. We encourage you to simply acknowledge that it feels awkward and maybe even scary to see your waist measurement and then share that number with someone else. As a matter of opinion, possibly no one, no matter their size, has ever felt comfortable in their skin 100% of their lives.
2. Give yourself permission to feel however you feel. Your feelings are informed by years of experiences, things you’ve heard, things you’ve told yourself, things others have told you, etc. Imagine that there is a choir of opposition standing behind you, singing your downfall, and delighting in your misery. The choir grows louder when they’re empowered. The choir can be hard to resist. You’ve learned that the singing stops once they succeed to deter you from moving forward. Your goal is to see them with plugged ears.
3. Following through with your intentions can help to end their song. If you listen to the choir sing, you’ll be back to needing external validation, back to needing the choir to tell you about yourself and make you feel good about yourself (or feel bad about yourself because that’s how the choir works!). Whether you want to feel confident at your current weight or focus on entirely different intentions altogether, redirecting focus onto what you’re trying to accomplish will silence their song.
Ultimately, wearing "invisible" jewelry, gems that no one can see or will acknowledge, is a matter of perception and intention. Essensuals by Khemura waist beads support, nurture, and grow the love light within your divine self. We want you to treasure and respect your self so that others will know what that looks like and imitate you. In turn, your giving what you need, which isn't superficial praise based on monetary baubles. You need to feel and experience authentic, soul-satisfying love. Let’s teach each other about self-validation through example.