Two Thursdays ago (May 25, 2017), I attended Self-Love Club’s first ever meeting. I wasn’t really supposed to go but I ended up going because it wouldn’t do any harm, right? Albeit the hesitation and the mild confusion, I gave myself the chance to learn more about this so-called “Self-Love Club”. Besides, Danah and Stacy were leading the club, so I was sure a fruitful night was waiting for me. I was also just inside the house the entire week so I thought it would be a good chance to go out and have some real girl bonding while at it.
After doing a short walkathon and being lost (I blame my inattentiveness with directions), I finally reached the room where the “meeting” was being held. I thought it was a dainty room with all its neat decors and lively jive. I even thought I would be brought to another room, but that was basically it. I was both surprised and impressed to learn that it’s just the office pantry. It reminds me of the movie The Internship where they had all these interactive rooms to help the employee work more efficiently and effectively. Anyway, I paid the registration fee (Php 200 proceed per person goes to GALA Foundation) and looked for an available seat. As I was about to sit down, this girl caught my attention. Kate! Ugh, it was so nice to see a familiar face. And we finally met after talking online for so many months.
I thought I was a quiet person during events through and through but, this time, I proved myself wrong. I was actually all talkative and bubbly. Kate and I were able to have some real girl talk before the event proper started. It was nice to have someone else to share stories with and to relate so much with their current life.
Getting To Know Me And You
Before the meeting started, we were grouped into 5 people and were made to sit with the other women in the room. I was grouped with Kate, Mitch, Tash, and Mary (one kid from GABAY Foundation). For a quick game, we were asked to find one similar category among us and to name our team. We chose #TeamBall (I know it sounds weird when you say it out loud and it’s not really well thought of) because we like playing sports with balls. Most of us played volleyball and badminton, which explains the ball. And guess who won? We did! Each of us won this cute pink ballpen.
So going back to the real purpose of Self-Love Club…
What, Why, How?
Why did the twins even bother to create a self-love club when we could just all sign up to a community group online and keep each other (or ourselves) accountable? Here are some pointers:
- Lack of good role models
- Flaunted insecurities that need addressing
- To create a safe space (especially for women)
- To uplift and discuss spirituality (identity)
- To talk about the hard truths
- Everything is romanticized, glamorized (which is wrong)
Sure, some of us may be self-secure and confident enough that no matter what other people say to us, we can’t be fazed. But sadly, that’s not the case with the majority of us. And come to think of us, self-love is not entirely internal. You get that love from external sources, too. So it’s important to have your little club to gain from and give love to.
The Five Pillars Of Self-Love Club
According to the twins, these are the elements that identify the club in its entirety. And with the absence of one of the pillars, the club would crumble. We were handed this small sheet of a questionnaire to answer. There were five sets of questions per pillar. In between the explanations of each pillar, we were given a short “pop quiz” for each category.
- Body positivity
“Faith means being sure of the things you hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
– Hebrews 11:1
You may have noticed that the twins are spiritual people, thus it’s only expected that they have faith as one of the five pillars of the club. As Danah said, “Faith is crucial to live out your identity.” While my knowledge of spirituality is muddy at this point, I’m willing to learn (more) about it. After answering the short pop quick, Stacy shared her story and how self-shaming started for her. I’ve heard this story several times already, but it never fails to impress me how Stacy can share her grueling past to strangers without breaking down. I know it took her lots of self-love, admission, and acceptance among other things, to be this brave and strong.
In case you don’t know yet, Stacy suffered from anorexia-bulimia when she was younger. All those quick dieting methods you now see online and in pages, she’s tried already. It worked, yes. But the more she lost weight, the more she also lost herself. She lost her identity as a person, her identity as a woman. But all that damage got repaired when she met Him.
“Our uniqueness is being wasted for popularity.” – Danah Gutierrez
How many of you here are really authentic?
Yung alam mo sa sarili mo na nagpapakatotoo ka?
In this time and age, we are all so obsessed with image. Admit it. That curated Instagram feed you try so hard to maintain, those selfies you only post because you look pretty, that angle you only show in your poses because the other side makes you look fat and unparalleled?
They’re nothing but images.
Would you dare let that crappy tagged photo of you on Facebook just be.. there? Or would you just itch to untag yourself or beg your friend to delete it? Would you dare post that unfiltered photo on social media or would you need to spend a minimum of 30 minutes to make it look pretty enough? And when someone compliments you, you subtly say, “Aww, but you’re prettier?”
No shade, just hard truth.
Do you even like that top you’re wearing right now? Or you just like it because a modelesque influencer wore a similar one to one of her events? And that just inspired you to make a closet overhaul and be fasyown overnight?
Danah shared this story about her previous work when she was still a copywriter (tbh, it’s not hard to imagine, people know Danah for dropping witty remarks whether online or in person). She was assigned this client whose project contradicted with her personal beliefs. She would have focused on working and just swept her own beliefs under the rug, but she had to spend her energy, time, and skills on that. And her entire being was just rebelling against it. So eventually, she left the company and that’s when they focused on their blog, which is now the country’s first body positive web magazine.
Authenticity to Danah means doing something with no holds barred because you firmly believe in it. Authenticity means not compromising anything and having your whole body, soul, spirit, emotions, and heart into doing that sole purpose, whatever it is. It’s being all in.
And that, my friends, is Lit AF.
“Iisa na lang ang katawan mo, kakalabanin mo pa?” – Danah
We all know how the twins strongly advocate against body shaming yet for body positivity and acceptance. No, they don’t promote obesity. In fact, they stopped consuming sugar a few months ago. I’m just trying to point out here that there’s health in every size as they always say. Anyway, so, body positivity. As much as a lot of people try to stop body-shamers from.. shaming, it’s no secret that a lot of us are still lost in this field. I mean, not all of us are that body positive all the time, amirite?
Some people, especially the elders, tend to be stuck in their younger bodies. There’s always this impression to stay looking young no matter how much old you are already, as Stacy said.
“Nung 20 ako, 18 lang ang waistline ko.”
Okay? And? How is that supposed to be your reality now? Bodies are meant to change over time. No matter how many times in a month (or a week, Lord help us), you Marie France your body into sexiness, some parts of you are supposed to sag and soften because.. life.
Other than this, people insist on the idea that body positivity = working out. No. When you have other priorities, it’s okay to ditch the gym. When you’re too busy running around your house, chasing your 2-year-old kid, it’s okay to ditch the gym. When you’re too stressed from managing your start-up business and nothing seems to go right, it’s okay to ditch the gym.
It’s okay to just binge-watch your favorite series while eating a pint of (sugarfree?) ice-cream because mental and emotional health are equally important as physical health is. You shouldn’t force yourself to go to the gym despite feeling like crap because it’s the right thing to do. It actually defeats the purpose of self-love. Suffice to say, there are other forms of self-love; not just working out.
And, Christ (and I say this without blasphemy), stop letting others who do so little for you dictate what you should wear or what you should do with your body. Love it, nourish it, take care of it as you should.
The twins admitted that they still have a lot to learn about feminism, but at least forming their very first and very own self-love club is a good start, right? In this generation, it’s either you fight for all your rights and be one with the angry mob or just don’t give a sh*t anymore because there’s so much to fight for than just the basic things like being mad over being offered a seat. It’s not worth the viral FB video, sister. It’s really not. Yes, it can happen. It has happened. It is still happening.
Angry feminist: “You think I can’t stand in the bus just because I’m a woman? Well, mister, just an FYI, *insert rude/defensive/inappropriate/judgmental comments here to do not help the situation.*”
While a lot of us has much to learn about feminism, here’s an ugly reality check/reminder: don’t be an angry feminist.
Read: You don’t have to wave your blood-soaked underwear in the air to prove that menstruation is normal and completely appropriate. We get it, okay? We get it. You also don’t need to drink men’s tears in the morning as your coffee mug reads.
Empowerment (and feminism in general) is about fighting for women’s rights and telling the world that we can. It’s not about being better than men. It’s not about being better than other women. It’s simply about saying, “we can, and we have the right to do so, so we will.”
- The right to education
- The right to vote
- The right to not want a child because you’re perfectly fine being with your partner for the rest of your life because neither of you mind, and because you love children but they’re not for you, and because you couldn’t care less about society’s standards.
Cases may vary, of course, as stated above.
Seriously, though, does this still call for an explanation?
Well, in some ways, maybe it does.
Did you know some women form groups just because they look good together side-by-side? Because they look pretty and hot? I didn’t. And I didn’t realize that until I recalled Mean Girls. Well, exactly! Of course! At first, I didn’t understand what Stacy was talking about, but it eventually dawned on me that, right, some girls just stick with each other because of mere aesthetics. So that brings us back to our obsession with image.
Sisterhood is not forming a girl gang to make fun of other women. It is not stooping down to make way for “the greater sister”. It is also not looking down on your fellow women because you know better and should, therefore, lead the pack. Sisterhood is not about judging women who are less than stellar than you, it’s not about sending screenshots of your “ugly friends” in your group chat, and mocking them behind their backs.
There should be fairness in sisterhood. There should be the love; the responsibility to look out for your “sisters” and help (and allow) them to grow and improve.
That is what defines sisterhood. How do you define sisterhood?
Suffice to say, I learned a lot during the first meeting and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come. I’m also excited with the fact that if some topics cover both genders, then males are welcome to attend the said self-love club sessions. For now, it’s going to be a monthly thing, and I really encourage you to join this club.
All my love,
UPDATE: JUNE MEETING