Ladies, let’s talk about being sexy, shall we?
When was the last time you felt sexy? When was the last time you celebrated your body and femininity? When was the last time you dressed up for yourself and not someone else?
Has it been a while? I bet for a lot of you, it has been.
I certainly fell into that camp last year (and honestly, probably for a few years prior). But 2019 has been my year of bringing sexy back. I’m proud to report that I’ve worked myself back into sexy-land! Here’s what happened.
Last winter I was getting ready for a date with my boyfriend and I wanted to look good. Like, real good. You know what I mean. So, I go up to my closet and start looking for the top that’s a little risqué and flirty. I push some things around, slide clothes back the other way, and then checked the other side of the closet. I could swear I had at least one sexy top but it wasn’t there.
In fact, nothing in my closet could be called “sexy”. Everything was just... normal. Plain. Everyday. There were no ta-ta-tastic items to be found anywhere. Well, shit. I put on a black shirt and called it good even though I was a bit less excited about how I felt.
I probably wouldn’t have given my lack of sexiness another thought had it not been for a night out with friends a few weeks later. The event we went to changed my life and inspired me like nothing else has to reassess how I think of myself.
A local dance studio has something called “Inappropriate Song Night” a few times a year which is part burlesque, part dance, part hilariously inappropriate songs that you never knew existed but are the best thing you’ve ever encountered. I had no idea what to expect walking into it, but it was truly a magical night.
I spent 2 hours watching women of all ages, shapes, sizes and got up on stage. They sang, they danced, they took off their clothes. They were so sexy. And the most amazing part of it was that they were sexy because they wanted to be. It wasn’t to impress anyone, it wasn’t for anyone else. They were celebrating their bodies and themselves just because they could. And on stage to boot!
Seeing how these women felt about themselves blew my mind. You could be sexy because you wanted to be? For some people, this may not have been a revelation, but it certainly was to me.
I had always thought sexy was something you did to get attention. You were sexy for other people, so they could enjoy how you looked. But here, on this night, I saw women being sexy because they loved their bodies. They felt sexy and they didn’t give a damn what anyone thought it. Amazing, just amazing.
I immediately wanted whatever they had because it looked like the most badass, fun confidence I could ever dream of. I decided to bring sexy back right then and there.
First things first, I asked myself what does sexy mean to me now? I’m over 30, in a long-term relationship, and in bed by 9 every day. I wanted to filter out all of the things I thought sexy “should be” and come up with my own definition. It was obviously more than just what I wear – though that’s certainly an expression of it, but I wanted to figure out what felt so badass about the ladies I saw on stage.
Here’s what I came up with: sexy is radical self-love and acceptance, it’s not caring what others think, it’s about showing up and celebrating yourself. It’s not hiding who you are, what you think, what you want, or what you look like. It’s about owning your feminine side and curves – or lack thereof, fuck it, you’ve only got one body. Love it. Love yourself.
This is sexy at any age.
Oh yeah, I can get aboard this sexy-boat.
Next, I took a look at why I stopped seeing myself as “sexy”. It wasn’t that hard to figure out given I used to define being sexy as something you did for others. I thought I was sexy when I was younger, single, and going out to bars. Now, having been in a relationship for 3+ years, that wasn’t my lifestyle anymore. As my nightlife calmed down (let’s be honest, it disappeared), my outfits became more daytime appropriate and anything sexy fell by the wayside.
All right, I know how I got here. Now let’s do something about it.
Step one was to practice radical self-love. Let me just say that this is an ongoing practice and some days are easier than others. However, it’s one of the best things I’ve taken on. To love myself meant I started being grateful for what my body could do. I started being grateful for my health, for the fact I can run if I want to, I can see the books I love to read, hear the music that makes me want to dance. My body actually does a lot for me, there’s very little to complain about. I also started taking care of my body in a way I hadn’t before. I started protecting my energy – I ate better, moved more, and said “no” to things that would drain me.
Then I did something completely terrifying; I booked a boudoir photo shoot. I met with a photographer and told her about this sexy undertaking, how I wanted to see myself as powerful, sensual, and… as myself. I wanted to see me embracing who I am today. She got me right away and we set up a session for a few months once it warmed up. More on this later.
Next up, I started looking at where I was hiding. This is also an ongoing practice because I like being liked (who doesn’t?) and an easy way to ensure people enjoyed my company is to not say what I really think. But sexy means being seen so I’m now practicing saying things that are real, vulnerable, and that have substance. Case in point, this article.
Not hiding also meant not hiding my body. I got rid of clothes that didn’t feel like me and have been finding new pieces that do. I wear things that might highlight a little cleavage or show off my backside to events when the sun is out (gasp!!!).
The most fun part of the 2019 sexy project was that I started taking dance lessons. That’s right, I joined the dance studio where it all began! I’m moving my body in all new ways, I’m letting myself be a beginner and look silly. It’s incredible and fun and just the best. I started with belly dancing where “all jiggles are good jiggles”, tummies are out, and we’re moving our hips every which way. Next up, burlesque lessons! I’m so excited.
Let’s circle back to that boudoir photoshoot. I showed up at the break of dawn and spent 3 hours getting my picture taken wearing varying degrees of clothing. When people ask how it went, my honest reply is that it was underwhelming. Typically, “underwhelming” has a negative connotation, but not in this case. It was underwhelming because I didn’t have to try to look a certain way. It was effortless. I put on some clothes I felt great in, turned my head a little, looked down, parted my lips and voila! I looked sexy as hell!
I don’t have to try hard or change myself in order to be sexy. I realized that I just am. Writing it down doesn’t seem to do it justice because this was big ah-ha for me. I hadn’t seen myself that way before but the proof was right in front of me! I saw the pictures and said, “Holy shit, that’s me?!” more times that morning than ever before. It was amazing.
So yeah, I brought sexy back this year. I’m going to keep bringing sexy back, too. This is one of the most fun things I’ve done and I don’t want it to stop.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still self-conscious about how I look and what I wear. I still have that voice in my head telling me what everyone must be thinking and how they’re judging me. Hell, I still judge myself. I don’t think that will ever fully go away, but this has shown me that I get to say what sexy is. I get to say who I am. I get to be my sexy, powerful, fun, goofy, smart self. The only person who can stop me is me, and that’s so 2018.
"I love the chance to write about this and share it with Christine, founder of CY & Co. because our goals align so well! We both want you to feel confident in who you are and to show off that authenticity. How you dress is an expression of who you are, so glam up however you want! Often, we want to "feel" confident before we start doing bold things, but here's the scoop - doing those bold things will actually help you feel confident a lot faster than waiting around for it to show up. So wear that awesome jewelry you've been saving a special occasion for, put on clothes that make you feel amazing, and go be yourself!"
Confidence Coach (KarlaAngel.com)
Resident Writer (CY & Co.)
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