Most girls grow up not liking something about their body. Sometimes they do not grow out of it and as women decide to change it. Sera grew up with memories of being teased by classmates and members of her family about her big butt and thighs and itty bitty titties. So when she got older she decided to do something about it and get implants. Then when her relationships started falling apart, she decided to fall in love with her body and remove them. Chakra Intimates was the first lingerie she bought when she was falling back in love with her body after healing from surgery.
Q: What made you decide that you wanted to support women with your voice?
A: I didn't want women to make the mistakes I did when I was younger -- not appreciating their natural body and femininity, and not knowing and expressing themselves. I also wanted to spread the word that there is some amazing lingerie (for every body and nearly every budget) that everyone can feel beautiful in. What we put next to our skin matters!
Q: Was there a specific moment when you said, “I’ve got to do something now”?
A: On my journey to remove my breast implants due to the chronic pain they were causing me, I realized that I was not alone. There are far too many women suffering with breast implant illness, and I wanted to help spread the word both to women who have implants and women who are thinking about them. Breast implant illness is not yet accepted by the medical community, so most women cannot rely on their medical team to help understand what might be going wrong in their bodies. Awareness about it is growing, but it is a grassroots groundswell. Implants are not for forever; they function like a time bomb. They sit quietly - maybe even for years - until one day they turn on the body (or rather, the body turns on them). I believe that eventually future generations will wonder why we ever allowed foreign objects like these to be voluntarily inserted in our bodies, but for now implants are considered normal. My decision to have my implants removed came after I started my blog, and initially I thought I would quit the blog once I had them removed. Thankfully between realizing how many other women were going through what I was and how unaware the rest of the population is, I felt a responsibility to be honest and bring my readers along with me on my journey back to my real body. It has been an opportunity to help educate women (and men!) about the real risks implants bring, and to show those who have implants and want to get them out that there is #lifeafterbreastimplants.
Q: Was there a time in your life when you needed support?
A: There have been many. I used to think that needing support meant I was weak but I now know even the strongest of us need help, even regularly. I can't say that I am now so evolved that I always embrace challenging times, but I am much better at asking for support when they inevitably do come, and I no longer feel guilty about it since that is what we're here for and meant to do -- take care of each other.
Q: What kind of support did you look for?
A: Like all mothers, I needed a lot of support after having a baby, but unfortunately that was before I became comfortable with asking for and accepting help. I ran myself into the ground trying to do everything on my own, which was naïve since my husband was gone for months at a time for work and I had no extended family support. Life had given me plenty of opportunities to learn how to receive a helping hand before then, but the lesson didn't sink in until after I saw how my stubbornness that first year of being a new mama affected my health and sanity and the well-being of my son. So during the next major challenging period in my life -- when I had a breast implant surgery that left me in significant pain and discomfort daily for 18 months -- I had an easier time being open to support.
Q: Where did you find that support?
A: My husband was a pillar of strength during that time -- he shouldered the humongous burden not only of taking on the bulk of physical tasks that I couldn't do due to my condition but also being as supportive as possible through the depression I was suffering. He made every effort to be there for me emotionally while I was trying to resolve the pain, going to countless doctors appointments, finally having to make the decision to have the implants removed and then move through the grieving process that came with that. He did his best to listen, understand, and support throughout it all. I don't think I would've had the courage or even the energy to make the decision I did and be okay with the outcome without his enduring support.
Female friends also provided support once I opened up to them about my struggle. Initially I was reluctant to talk to them about what I was going through because I was afraid of judgment for having gotten implants. Once I found the courage to tell them, several had a friend or family member going through a similar situation and they offered even more compassion and empathy than I could've hoped for.
Q: Did you intentionally decide to be an influencer or did it happen as a result of something you did?
A: When I started my blog, I mainly just wanted to write as a form of self-expression and creativity and share photos of the gorgeous lingerie that inspired me. I wasn't sure where it would lead. I was unaware of how many other lingerie lovers there were or even how many incredible lingerie brands. After buying junk clothing for nearly my entire life, I finally began being mindful of quality over quantity. I knew I wanted to support brands that were ethical in the creation of their products, that were of exceptional quality and that pushed artistic boundaries. I've been blessed to connect with like-minded girls (and some incredibly lovely cross-dressing men) and I know my style and message has resonated with others. I suppose becoming an influencer has been a natural extension of that.
Q: What does it mean to you to be an influencer?
A: It means I have a bit of a voice in my corner of the universe that I can use for whatever I choose. And I choose to add it to the other voices that call for the ethical production of clothing, respect for our bodies, minds, and spirits and taking care of ourselves. I don't want to grandstand, but I strongly feel that there is too much shame and too much willful ignorance in the world to sit by quietly, and so whatever influence I might have, I want to use it for good.
Q: How would you describe power for a women?
A: The same as for a man: power is about knowing yourself. Who you are, what you want and need, what you are capable of, finding your purpose and pursuing your dreams. It is also about being present in the moment. People confuse power with influence; having control of others is not power, it's having control of oneself. Having power is being aware of and intentional about your choices throughout each day, rather than letting decisions be made for you or without conscious input on your part.
Q: Do you think vulnerability is an asset or a detractor?
A: I think it's one of my biggest assets. I've learned through researchers like Brené Brown that vulnerability is an essential element in connecting with people in real life. In a world of photoshop, social pages filled with only the best parts of one's life, and media stories based more on spin than substance, we are all hungry for authenticity. So authentic vulnerability is also perhaps the best way to appeal to and resonate with others virtually. Though I struggle with it, one of the goals I have for my blog and myself is to be a model of vulnerability. I don't have a perfect body or complexion, a stylist, a jet set lifestyle, a hair and makeup team, or a pro photographer. My life is imperfect and my spiritual journey is still in its early stages, so I don't know that I have anything to say that has not already been said. But I do have the courage to show women that love and belonging and confidence is something we all are worthy of -- not just 20-something supermodels and Instagram stars. And that it's more than okay to embrace your flaws, share your opinion, pursue your dreams and put yourself out there even if you're not the epitome of youth, good looks, wealth, fame, etc. I never would've thought when I was younger that I'd be a nearly 40-year-old mom who posts photos of herself in skimpy lingerie and barely there bikinis, encouraging other women to do the same if that's what they want to do. I am blessed to receive messages nearly every day thanking me for sharing my story, being a source of inspiration, and promoting positivity, self-empowerment, confidence, and expression, all of which have come as the result of my vulnerability.
Q: How do you structure your day?
A: Around my toddler! I think any stay-at-home mom of a young child might say that, but in fact, I really do make a conscious effort to remain the director of my own day. I balance my responsibilities to others with my responsibilities to myself. Being a parent I understand that the most important thing we can do for children is model the lessons we wish them to learn. So I include self-care, healthy eating by way of cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients, outside time and exercise each day. I also never miss two favorite rituals of my day: coffee with my hubby in the morning and bedtime book, songs and snuggles with my son in the evening. If we're lucky and the weather allows, we try to take a gratitude walk after dinner to get some fresh air and recount our blessings for the day.
Q: How important is factoring “me” time?
A: It's imperative! As Eleanor Brownn says, "you cannot serve from an empty vessel". I think most women with long-term success have figured this out. What I hadn't figured out for a long time was that when life gets extremely stressful and I am overloaded -- and when I need "me" time more than ever -- the only way to factor it in is to ask for help. I have to respect my need for self-care and allow it be a priority for my family.
Q: What does “me time” look like for you?
A: Other than standard self-care -- looking after my health, fitness, and appearance -- some favorite things to do that recharge me the most are yoga, meditation, and writing. A cup of matcha or golden milk, a massage, and a nap are also at the top of my me time checklist. And it probably goes without saying that shopping for amazing lingerie, even if just window shopping, is up there too!
Q: Where do you look for energetic support?
A: It feels counter-intuitive to say, but my son -- the same one who drains me! -- is my bastion of support. He has surprised me on more than one occasion with great empathy and understanding, and there is something about a little one calmly placing his hand on you to make you feel right in the world. Witnessing the beauty and wonder of our world through his pure heart and fresh eyes has been a gift and motivation to become a better person everyday.
Q: How important is buying with eco-awareness?
A: The idea that we are not materialistic enough fascinated me the first time I heard it. Honestly, I had never considered anything like it before, this concept of being deeply aware of what things are made of and where they come from. But from the moment I heard it, it struck a chord with me and I seek to buy quality over quantity, and to pay fair prices for ethically and eco-friendly made products.
Q: How do you think we can impact this planet if we bought with preserving it in mind?
A: The cost of a material good is not in the price tag; it is in the sum of human and environmental debits made to produce it. From the filaments of the fibers to the fingers that form it, plus the planes, trains and automobiles that transport it, this is how the true cost of a garment is calculated. It's value then, is what it is worth to us and how much we will use and treasure it. Cheap goods made using destructive pesticides, environmentally harmful synthetic fibers and exploitative manufacturing have a very high real cost. And those same goods are not as likely to be valued highly by consumers -- if you got a dress on sale for next to nothing, it's a bit easier to throw away after a year than that gorgeous (albeit expensive) LBD you had tailored to fit you perfectly. So if we stopped buying with the price tag in mind, and started buying according to true cost and value, we would preserve a significant amount of human capital and natural resources.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for staying happy, whole and successful?
A: 1) Staying happy: Sloooooooow down and be present in the moment, whether while sipping a cup of a favorite hot beverage or listening to a friend tell a story - just be there and be aware of the moment.
2. Staying whole: Don't *try* to stay happy. Happiness is fleeting and comes from external sources (like a cup of tea or a friend's lovely story!). Trying to hold onto that happiness is futile. Accept that in life there will always be ups and downs, and embrace your feelings and emotions that result from those waves as valid. Experience sadness, for example, with open arms and face it as a normal and necessary part of the human condition. Allow it, feel it and work through it. In other words, permit your whole heart to function the way it was intended.
3. Staying successful: Know what being successful really means to you. There are so many influences in the modern world telling us what we should be doing and who we need to be in order to fit someone else's definition of success. It's all rubbish. Knowing deep down what you want to accomplish and referencing a personal compass to guide you are the base ingredients to a successful life. Regularly revisit those goals, challenge expectations and direct energy according to your priorities. In short, try to attain (maintain) true self-awareness.
Q: What is your wish for the woman who you support?
A: That they consciously be on their life path. One may glance at my Instagram feed and assume that I think every woman should buy and have a massive amount of luxury lingerie. I do not. Although I don't have a massive collection, I do have more than most women and that is because I've found that wearing beautiful lingerie fills me up and nurtures a deeper connection with myself... and it has led to the creation of my blog which is a challenging, fun, and fulfilling hobby! I wish for every woman to discover and foster whatever it is that excites and nourishes her soul, to own her story, and to have the confidence to share it with whomever in her life has earned the right hear it.
Wise words from a brave women who fell in love with her body. What’s one thing you walk away from our interview with Sera that you would like to embody in your own life? Let us know on our Facebook page.