Living with Poland Syndrome: Selling Beauty when you Do Not Feel so Beautiful
Hello Eco-Friends, please allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is LaToya Jones the founder and owner of As It Should Be. I am a mother of two wonderful and talented teenaged boys and a wife. I wear many hats! I know it sounds exhausting. At times, it is.
I wanted to write this blog because I found the irony of my situation quite intriguing and I am sure you will as well. Not only this will be an interesting read (hopefully), I want it to benefit, inspire, uplift, as many women and or men as possible. Especially, if you have ever felt "less than." So here goes...
When I started my company I wanted to provide two things: 1. Quality skin care products for our customers (Eco-Friends) so they can feel confident and 2. Help clean up our planet. Now, the number 1 reason is where the irony comes in. Yes, I understand that number 2 is a huge and daunting task, but I am so prepared for it (one day soon that is!), however...
I didn't feel confident! To take it one step further, I didn't even feel beautiful! But there I was, selling beauty products...skincare. I was helping people live their best vegan and cruelty-free lives and I was feeling less than. Well, living in the world of super selfies, perfect smiles, and bodies, I felt overwhelmed. Why?
I was born with a birth defect called Poland Syndrome. I am very grateful not to have the severe case of the birth defect, however, missing a few muscles especially in the breast area wreaked havoc on my self-esteem. Not to mention I am a woman of color! Yup, that made it so much more difficult. So I not only had a birth defect hardly anyone has heard of... I am also dealing with what the United States would call me, being a "minority". I felt out of place. I felt as if there wasn't room for me.
Where? Where...was there room? Women of Color fight endlessly to make room at the table within the beauty industry...to say the least, the struggle is real! I constantly told myself I didn't deserve the proverbial chair. (You guessed it, that sneaky lack of confidence talking!).
It wasn't until my 3rd surgery to help correct the birth defect, that I finally sat down with myself and really had a loving conversation. "You can't continue on like this. You must start believing you're beautiful and wonderful as well." The thought came so lovingly that I sincerely believed it was time. Of course, I attended your occasional self-help therapy sessions before this, however, it wasn't the right time. This, this felt real!
So the journey to continue my healing started (again). As my body was healing I decided to allow my spirit to heal as well. Each morning I sat and allowed my broken heart to heal. I slowly stopped comparing my body to the Beyonces and the Kardashians of the world and started to see the beauty in mine.
Let me just make this abundantly clear, this was in no way shape or form easy! There was a lot of frustration, anger, and jealousy that I had to work through. It's extremely difficult to find your beauty when the outside world is telling you what beauty is. It was HARD! (Note: there are many layers to emotional healing. My first layer was done before my first surgery. I wanted to look on the outside what I felt I looked like on the inside).
Of course, I stuck it out. Although I'm not 100% confident all day every day ( I mean who is anyway?) I have developed a healthy love for myself. I have also developed a new sense of pride when it comes to running my business. I guess you can say, I found the confidence that I was so deserving of. Along with finding the confidence that I was deserving of, my pain became my purpose. Yes, from my pain I birthed the Earth Goddess Body Collection. This collection is put together to uplift, inspire, and empower anyone who buys from this collection. True love for oneself is key.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you know...selling beauty and you're not feeling beautiful or confident, it is okay to take a step back. It's okay to stop what you're doing to address what you need. Trust me, you'll become a better person and you'll feel so much lighter!
For more information about Poland Syndrome:
If you or a family member was born with Poland Syndrome just know you are not alone! There are groups and organizations here for you!