I came to Australia at the age of 8 from China, and as a child trying to fit into a completely new culture and environment, I often found myself trying to disassociate from my cultural identity as a Chinese. Growing up in Adelaide, a small and quiet city where there aren't nearly as many Asians as there are in Sydney meant I was teased and bullied for the way I looked. Throughout my primary school years and half-way through my high school years, I never felt like I fit in. If you are interested in reading more about this, I wrote an article on Soy & Spice Lingerie’s blog about my bullying experience.
Surrounded by Anglo children who looked completely different from me made me question my appearance and what is considered ‘beautiful’. I’ve always been quite small-busted and throughout my adolescent years, I would always be conscientious about it. During those years, a padded bra would be like a second layer of skin on me, and I would feel extremely uncomfortable to wear anything else underneath my clothes that was not.
I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that I grew up in an Asian household, but at almost every family and friends gathering, at least one aunty or uncle will make a comment or share their opinion on some aspect of all the kids' lives. Whether that’s your studies, your work, your love life or the way you look. For me, a constant comment that gets made is my weight. Seeing as I have always been quite petite, the comment “you should eat more” is something I hear far too often. This made me even more conscientious about my overall weight and especially my bust size. I remember having to compare them to all the other kids at every gathering, which then led me down a dark spiral of self-consciousness and made me feel extremely anxious. Whether you also grew up in an Asian household or in a different cultural family setting, if anyone reading this can relate, please reach out as I would love to hear your story.
My whole extended family in China & I in 2018
I remember walking past the non-padded bra section of department stores and feeling so tempted to browse around and grabbing a set to try. However, there was always this voice in my head that made me hesitate. So time and time again, I would find myself ending up at the padded bra section and then walking out of the store holding a bag with a set inside it.
It wasn’t until I reached my final year of high school that I started to appreciate and love the way I looked. I stopped comparing myself with others and began focusing on myself. I realised that my body probably won’t change too much from this point onwards, so I should just embrace it the way it is. When I came to that realisation, my own world changed. I had a new sense of confidence and I wasn’t afraid to show it. I wore garments that accentuated my bust and my body shape, and I loved it! With that, the anxiety from the comments of aunties and uncles faded away---I would instead just nod and agree, but wouldn’t take the comments to heart.
I understood that the aunties and uncles comments weren’t really aimed at attacking me in any way. They were saying those things because they care, and it’s the way their parents, aunties and uncles also spoke to them. For them it's normal, but to us, sometimes it can be taken as a judgement, and it hurts.
This cycle is something I want to break and I wholeheartedly believe that we can. We shouldn’t be bound by what others think of us, we should be able to live our lives the way we want. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and as long as we ourselves accept and embrace the way we look, that should be all that matters. As we will be parents ourselves one day, if not already are parents, we should have the courage in pushing this boundary and breaking away from this cycle to set a new norm.
After I came to the realisation that each and everyone of our bodies are different and we are beautiful in our own unique ways, I remember walking back into a department store searching for a new bra and going straight to the non-padded section. Browsing around a section of the store that I had always walked past made my heart pounce. I felt nervous but so liberated at the same time. I remember finding this gorgeous, soft white Elle Macpherson demi-cup bra and after trying it on, I immediately fell in love. For a teenager, the price of the bra was way out of my budget so I had no choice but to put it back. This experience however, opened up a whole new world for me, not just in terms of my bra selections but it also showed me that I can push my own boundaries and I shouldn’t be afraid to try new things.
These experiences and my love for lingerie led me to start Soy & Spice Lingerie. I wanted to create a line that symbolises the empowerment of women to have confidence, to love themselves for who they are and to have the courage in pushing their boundaries and trying new things out. Through wearing Soy & Spice Lingerie, I want each woman to truly feel confident in their own skin, to appreciate and embrace the body that they are in, and to have the courage in pushing their own boundaries, challenging themselves in new ways and to inspire those around them to do the same.
To further promote the importance of self-love, we have created a 5 days self-love challenge with quick and simple daily activities that gets sent directly to your mailbox every morning. The idea behind this challenge is to show you that loving yourself is easy. If you perform at least one of these 5 simple activities daily, it will form a habit that will bring you long term benefits. If you would like to join this challenge, please sign up here. To thank you for taking the time for yourself, if you complete the whole 5 days, you go into the draw to win one of our sets for free!
Note from the author
In this article, I take you back to a time in my adolescence years where I had a lot of self doubt. I wanted to share with you how I overcame these doubts about my own body and to show that you can also do the same. Everyone is beautiful in their own ways and don't you ever forget that.