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12MM Gun Metal Color Beads garnished with Flat Rondelles, Rhinestones and Breast Cancer Charm. $40.00


“I am beautiful because I say so.”

My beauty defining moment happened when I was given permission to love myself freely. Freely in every since of the word. A love that exist outside of the parameters of a society that often times objectifies women and our bodies which aides in the decline of our self esteem and mentally enslaves our abilities to define our personal beauty.

I freed myself on December 24, 2010. I was at a family gathering and we were having a gift exchange. My aunt gave me a dress that I wouldn't be caught dead in. She jokingly asked me to try it on and I obliged. I peeled off my sweater and slipped the dress over my head. It was a size eight and I was a zero so you can imagine how I was looking. The neck of the dress draped my shoulder like I was wearing a shawl and the chiffon bottom gripped the floor. Really! Who wears chiffon anymore! All I needed was my mother’s size 10 heels to wear on my size eight feet and you wouldn’t be able to tell me nothing! I twirled down the steps then gestured to my cousin to make my introduction, “Please put your hands together for the always fashionable, Ms. Erika Bracey!” There was an astounding roar from the living room. That was my cue to rip the runway and boy was I ready. I’ve been practicing my catwalk since I was eight years old and I think I finally got it right!

 I entered the room strutting hard, serious. I was so in the moment that I didn’t realize until a millisecond later that the laughter and applause had completely stopped. Everyone's face was frozen. Eyes crises crossed the room and there was utter silence. Discombobulated, I kept it moving, completed my half turn and hurried to take the dress off, but just before I began pulling it over my head I glanced in the mirror and starring back at me was an ugly black burn covering my entire left breast. That was the first time my family saw the effects of radiation from my breast cancer, but me...I was living with it daily. At that moment I had to redefine what beauty meant to me. It meant accepting things I can't change and being passionate when it comes to loving myself in spite of others views.

That burn was a badge of honor that made me reflect on what I did to deserve it. I gave too much of myself away and made do with what was left.  For the next year and a half I peeled away layers of resentment, abandonment and anger that put dark circles under my eyes and a wall around my heart. Everyone's burdens that I chose to carry for years; I called them all up and kindly gave them back.  I had abandonment issues over the past eight years because the last memory I had of my fiancée was him turning his head when I leaned in to kiss him before he went into surgery for Reno Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer). Then he died. I thought that I didn't do enough, but I know understand that he knew he was going to die and didn't want to say goodbye, to be honest I didn’t either. That burden lifted. Today I look in the mirror and feel the most beautiful that I have ever felt. I love my wide nose, I am confident, I feel sexy and I love slipping on  my 5-inch stilettos and strutting down the street, in the hallway, in the bathroom you name it!  I say what I want to say, wear what I like to wear, do what I want to do and dance no matter who's watching. I am divinely beautiful because I say so!

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Our price: $40.00
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