Do you see what I see........what do I actually see?

Am I a Phenomenal woman?

Who gets to decide

Why do we do this to ourselves?
1)Tear ourselves down.
2)Allow others to tear us down.
3)Hear 99 positive things but crumble at the 1 negative.
4)See a bad photo instead of the 1 that is beautiful
5)Allow negative voices to come into our space and live there.
6)Compare ourselves to the "beautiful " ones.
7)Choose to be less than phenomenal

This post was inspired by myself and how I've been feeling well most of my life and also a post by Heather.enhui. I provided a link if you want to read.

I'm quoting myself now.

"I'm not the beautiful person that gets asked out by someone. I'm not that person who men will turn there heads to look at like my beautiful best friend. I know my place and situation. I host a rebellion in my mind everyday against the images as an onslaught of things that tell me I'm not good enough."
I was at Combat to Chic Thrift Boutique last night volunteering as I normally do.
Link provided:
Donations and guest sellers items were being put out in the racks. I am a curvy short size 18 or 2x with a 11wide with shoe. Thanks daddy hahahahahaha. Clothing shoes undergarments are the bane of my existence. It is challenging on a perfect day to find a good sturdy shoe. So my perfect wardrobe came in by way of guest seller. Combat to Chic host guest sellers every month which is phenomenal. Boot after boot my mouth was hanging open and almost near hit the floor when I saw these White knee high boots that fit me like a second skin. Baby PLEASE! LAWD I About had a heart attack. Lolo
I am having an all white fit made and the Designer TEM from HOUSE of TEM. He asked me to try it on. I did that and it needed some small adjustments. It was a beautiful all white one shoulder jumpsuit. It was Phenomenal I felt well, I felt like it was not right for me. Who was I to wear something so beautiful. Meosha,Tem and my friend Angela said that I looked great beyond great to the point of embarrassing me and making me feel uncomfortable with the comments of beautiful.
I started to wonder why I was feeling like that. The jumpsuit had everything I loved flowlyness wide legs rouched on the sides so I could tie the pant leg up if I needed too. Wide and deep pockets for carrying my stuff and housing dancing. Beautiful one shoulder sleeve and was draped to the gods. I was told repeatedly that my body looked beyond phenomenal in it. Tem said that is what a custom garment is supposed to make you feel like a phenomenal woman.
Only I did not feel phenomenal. I felt like a fish out of water. A kid out of her element. I like attention but was not sure how to receive it. It feels like I was playing dress up and this beautiful garment was made for me and had everything I wear on a daily basis. Why did I not feel phenomenal? What did I need to think on to make not feel worthy of being beautiful? I needed time to myself but we had a lot of work to do. We had to put away clothing. Take pictures talk and just enjoy each other's company as friends do.
I went on a low budget shopping spree at the op shop a few days before. The Salvation Army down the street from my house had a big donation from Layne Bryant new undergarments with the tags still on them. These sets were $2 each and my size. I snapped up 5 sets. Even though they had the tags still on, everything gets washed. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would purchase undergarments from the op shop. There I was putting them in the basket. All the while thinking "these are for a phenomenal woman". "These are not my life". "My life is Hanes her way cotton granny panties ". But in the back of my mind I kept hearing Tamar Braxton "girl get your life"
As our night ended we all said our goodbyes Tem said he would make the necessary adjustments and we went our separate ways. I left with my purchases of these boots and booties. All I could say when trying them on are "these are so pretty". "They fit me". "This is not my life". In the back of my head I kept hearing. "Dress for the life you live". On the flip side I kept hearing. "Woman get your life" "get the life you want". " get your life", "create the life you want and deserve ". "Be phenomenal". Like The poet Maya Angelou wrote.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I know this post is long. I hope you were able to see what I see. We are all beautifully and wonderfully made. Now we just have to believe it.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Aquamarine replied 4 years ago

    Wiser and more eloquent women here will respond, but I just want to say thank you for being a part of this community. I always know when I click on your posts that they will make me think, smile, and appreciate the human and female spirit.

  • Mochi replied 4 years ago

    We are all very complicated to begin with, and have been fed all sorts of negative and contradictory media messages all our lives. Sometimes we're strong and confident, and often the most confident of us feel vulnerable. Even with the best of reassurance from our friends.

    Hugs. I love that Maya poem! I hope to access that feeling (more frequently) someday.

  • Joy replied 4 years ago

    I was privileged to hear Maya Angelou address my son's School of Engineering graduating class and she was phenomenal in every way. You and she share a passion and joy and a way with words in spite of past pain. Yes, you are a Phenomenal Woman.

  • lyn67 replied 4 years ago

    Hmm...Glad you bought them..& thanx for the thoughts provoking post...

  • torontogirl replied 4 years ago

    What aquamarine said ... a phenomenal woman indeed. Thanks Ledonna for expanding my thinking every time you post.

  • Suz replied 4 years ago

    Sometimes the universe brings us gifts we're not quite ready to receive -- and this becomes a powerful lesson, helping us move forward. Thanks for being a phenomenal example to us all and I can't wait to see you rock those white boots with the whole outfit. What a footwear bonanza -- every one of those shoes looks fantastic for you. Oh, and YAY for pretty underthings!! 

  • Bijou replied 4 years ago

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Phenomenal in every way - and I love the boots and glam undergarments. 

  • shevia replied 4 years ago

    Wow. Thank you. (And good for you for scooping up that underwear!)

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    First Off thank you all for taking a look beyond what your eyes may see. 

    Auqamrine, never doubt that you are just as eloquent just as you are.  You know what they say "life is like a box a chocolates" .  Well so are my post lol

    Mochi, Maya is one of my favorites.  I love many but, she stands out among greatness.  I want for you to access that greatest part of you.

    Joy, That must have been something to hear her speak.  I met her in the airport many years ago.  It was overwhelming for us.  This was before the days of cellphone pictures. 

    Lyn76 your are so welcome Lyn

    Trontogirl awe shucks

    Pretty underthings are great lol I have to see how I can Put together a
    fit around these boots. I have the items. Yes they are in my wardrobe.

    Bijou wow just like Heather.enhui did for me. I provided a link if you want to read.

    Shevia I saw the pretty first then I saw the new tags and was like yep. 

  • jill58 replied 4 years ago

    Ledonna, I can always count on you to inspire me.

  • replied 4 years ago

    As Aquamarine said.

  • Maneera replied 4 years ago

    You're phenomenal. Never doubt that. And beautiful. I've always believed that every single woman on earth is beautiful. It takes women of all shape, size and color to make a beautiful be proud. Chin up!

    Now your shoes. Oh those shoes!!!! So. Freaking. Gorgeous. I love the caged heels and the white boots and the pretty stilettoes. All so fab! Who could wear them better than your flamboyant self, Ledonna?! It's like they came you!

    Loving the underpinnings. I'm an odd size too and I hate how expensive my bras are sometimes :( I can buy 2 whole outfits in the amount of money I spend on one freaking bra. And still I don't have anything as pretty as this. It's a shame, really. So I'm going to find me some pretty bras. Heck, they've got to be SOMEWHERE! And I'll find them!!!

    (Back-story: here in India it's difficult to find even an E cup in bras. Very few brands have them and those are all imported - like Marks & Spencer's and Curvy Kate. Very few designs too. And I recently graduated to an F now my choices seem to be zilch!)

  • deb replied 4 years ago

    You are a beautiful and wonderful woman, inside and out!!!

  • Xtabay replied 4 years ago

    That word needs to be changed to "pheno-women-al," right?  Because yes, we are.  Every one of us!

  • SandyG replied 4 years ago

    First, I love the boots! Your post gave me goosebumps so I have to query the visceral experience you seemed to have. Let me reassure you that wild card clothes can be fun even if you decide to leave them in the dressing room. Some clothes are simply pretty, and trying them on is just a pretty experience for a couple of minutes. 

    I costume people for theatre so I'm used to putting people out of their comfort zone to showcase a character. The white jumpsuit references a lot of sexy, femme, 70s vibe to showcase female curves and wide-leg confidence when moving or dancing. I bet it looked and fit fantastic. Of course, in real life, white jumpsuits are pretty hard to wear if you're not Bianca Jagger doing a photo shoot. It's a bit of fantasy that is simply playful and frothy, nothing serious enough to rock your confidence. It's enough to play dress-up for a minute and laugh out loud at the idea of wearing something so singular that it turns heads, including yours :)

  • rachylou replied 4 years ago

    Shopping HAUL!

    One of the best poems ever - and even more phenomenal to hear it in Maya Angelou's voice. There must be a YouTube...

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    Rachylou Miss.Maya Angelou herself

    Sandy & Maneera what a great and thoughtful responses I will have to respond in full later with my thoughts.

    xtabay, deb, Jill & lisap yes we all are pheno-women-al,"

  • shedev replied 4 years ago

    What a haul. Now I want to come to the CHI and go op shopping with you. I cant believe you found such lovely underthings second hand.

  • Aida replied 4 years ago

    A great read ^^

    Amazing shoe haul! I am especially loving those strappy cage sandals and the stompy-yet-streamlined combat boots. I hope the white jumpsuit comes back and you love it, and feel great in it, this next time around.

  • Joyce B replied 4 years ago

    I love your post and your shoes, and the box of chocolates of course!

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    Shedev that would be so great but it's a bit of luck and patience. The undergarments new with tags were sheer luck.

    Aida was amazed. They are my favorite and they feel fab. Then the white. And the streamline Combat boot it looks so girly. I wonder if my style is changing. I'm not used to.wearing this type of shoe. I love them all and they fit. I have to test them out for comfort level.

  • Aida replied 4 years ago

    "Girly combat boot" feels weird to say, doesn't it? I have a pair like those, very streamlined with a very slim sole -- almost feels delicate without actually being so. They are definitely different feeling than the more standard chunky style! I don't wear mine often (they're a dark olive, and I wish I'd gotten a light gray instead because that'd jive with my outfits a lot better) but I love how not-overpowering they are when I do wear them. I think you'll have fun with them, they can go either proper tomboy or a little more girly-tomboy. Also looking forward to seeing what you do with those white knee highs.

    (PS, I can't believe you're a shortie (which I also get a lot, heh)! I thought you were taller.)

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    Aida, Girly combat feel wrong lol They are pretty  I was saying to myself I can't go HOUSING in them.  But maybe I can.  I have to something to look forward to creating outfits around them.  I only look short when I'm standing next to tall people lol  ha ha ha


    The white jumpsuit references a lot of sexy, femme, 70s vibe to showcase
    female curves and wide-leg confidence when moving or dancing. I bet it
    looked and fit fantastic. Of course, in real life, white jumpsuits are
    pretty hard to wear if you're not Bianca Jagger doing a photo shoot.
    It's a bit of fantasy that is simply playful and frothy, nothing serious
    enough to rock your confidence. It's enough to play dress-up for a
    minute and laugh out loud at the idea of wearing something so singular
    that it turns heads, including yours "

    I started to think now I cannot dance in it which gives me life.  I cannot perspire in it cause it will stain.  I will have to be careful in it. I cannot eat or drink anything with color in it because I might spill it. It is a wild card special occasion piece.  I will be an MC for a engagement announcement ceremony and I also for the wedding reception.  For the announcement celebration the bride to be wanted us to wear white.  I could not find anything I liked in White.  So I had something made.  I went to regular upscale stores nothing felt quite right. Everything was off.  I turned to a Designer.  He is like Christian Siraino with the Drape but more mature.  For grown curvy women.  I do play dress up that is why I go window shopping.  I am a bit theatrical when I am in my everyday wear.

    Maneera I know quality undergarment are expensive.  It mus be so very challenging to only have a small selection to choose from.  I think all women are beautiful but, It took me a long time to honestly mean that statement. No with conventional beauty but with beauty from the inside out. 

    The White boots have a thicker heel not really a stiletto.  I would not have bought them if they were.  I could actually walk in these of that I was very surprised.  All of them must have been waiting on me for to come and get them.

  • SandyG replied 4 years ago

    How about an experiment to ease your mind about wear? Snag a couple of fabric samples from your designer friend and see how they hold up with some quick tests: sweat, food, drink, wrinkles, hand washing. Getting two wears out of the jumpsuit sounds reasonable in that the announcement portion sounds pretty clean. If you want to dance, change outfits keeping the white theme but with easier care separates?  (On stage we wear tees and yoga shorts to soak up sweat and avoid expensive dry cleaning but it's hard to hide those inside a jumpsuit!)

    I know someone who sprays fabric protecter on her white silks and says nothing stains with that treatment. Can't bring myself to do it with white but it's worked great for me on fine light-colored suede boots. 

    Have fun and find a way to make your fabulous jumpsuit live and work for you. I'd love to see a photo of you enjoying it to the max :)

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    Sandy G You are my new best friend in my head.  Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions.  I will be seeing Tem tonight at Combat to Chic resale boutique.  I cannot wait to ask him all of these things.  June 18the is the event so I will take plenty of pictures and the next fitting I'll also take pictures to get you opinion.  You have been invaluable resource of information.  How did you get into costuming? 

  • SandyG replied 4 years ago

    I was 22 years acting/asst. director in community theatre, directed private junior high Shakespeare plays, taught elementary school low-income students (Sacramento has 99 official languages in public schools) a theatre arts program with singing & performing shows twice a year. It's serious fun + tons of work, but seeing people, especially students, flourish and grow in rehearsals, take direction, experience unity as a cast, wiggling as the audience settle in, and wrestle with the excitement/nerves of performing LIVE -- it's pure magic and a blast of fun when everything comes together at the last possible moment. If you can capture a character's personality with a costume and some props -- or funny animal ears -- people will reach for the stars. It's humbling and very cool. 

  • Ledonna N. replied 4 years ago

    It all sounds so thrilling. Seeing people progress from. Where the we're to where the are must be do rewarding. Thank you for sharing.

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