Posted May 31, 2011 and although the event happened over a year ago, the sentiment is still relevant.
Yesterday, I participated in the Heart and Truth Fashion Show. Twenty strong and remarkable women wore spectacular red dresses to build awareness of women and heart disease. Heart disease and stroke kill more women than men in this country and still Canadians remain misinformed about the symptoms and risks for women.
Joannie Rochette took part, (2nd from the right) which beautifully and bravely honoured her mom, who died of a heart attack only a few weeks before this event. Joannie’s mom died on the eve of the Vancouver Olympic Games. Two days later Joannie won an Olympic bronze medal in figure skating. Joannie is an amazing a strong young woman.
Each “model” as we were come to be known as throughout the day, had their own story of somebody they loved and why they cared to spend a day getting their hair pouffed, their faces painted and their feet squeezed into elegant but painful seven inch heals.
My participation in this event was unlikely, as twenty years before I had almost died of self consciousness while strutting my legs at a similar show. With the invitation to help a great cause, have a red dress designed by a fabulous designer and be princess for a day, it was simply too hard to refuse.
Ok, now the fun of it was that we got to pretend, for a day, that we were fashionistas! I mean, what girl doesn’t dream of that just once. The toes were painted red, the dressed were fitted, the tummies tucked in. I tried to tame my little belly only to find my trusty spanx were a no go under my sheer flowy dress by the fabulous designer Linda Lundstrom, showed every line. So, we had to make peace with our bodies and find the courage to flaunt it all, on a 110ft runway. It helped that the hair people ringleted my hair beyond recognition; somehow that and the red lipstick made me able to play the character of fashion queen a little more convincingly.
So there I was, waiting behind the red curtain for my musical cue, finding myself making peace with my body. The tiny size 0 and 1’s had come before me, and I in my muscled five eleven forty something body, had to be ready to strut it all for four whole minutes. I panicked for a second, as I observed the tininess of several of my television and celebrity new friends. Oh god, I am so far from the aesthetic ideal model and beauty queen. And then it struck me, I love myself, I actually do. This is not painted or designed on. This is not something you can pretend about. I have come through a tough journey through rugged terrain to get here, but here it is, love in all its transforming power. I have hated myself, hated my body, resented my imperfections, and suddenly, at a time in my life I least expected it, I have been given the gift of self love. When I was in the best shape of my life, all I could see were my imperfections. Today, much older, definitely more full figured, and certainly not perfect; I think I am, perfect, just as I am. Love, quite simply, changes everything. Everything I say to myself, everything I see in others, every joy I experience has been touched by the transforming power of self love. Self love frees our mind and soul to work on a higher level.
This is the person I am modelling, and this is the person, in the gorgeous red Linda Lundstrom dress, I walked down the runway with runway. Twenty years ago, I died of embarrassment while walking tentatively down a charity event fashion show, today I laughed and smiled and enjoyed being Silken.