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Volume 1. Real beauty, and real-life lessons

Welcome to our first feature in our TWIG & PEARL "Bold and Brilliant Belizean Women" series! Meet our first feature bold and brilliant woman: Kiah Pastor accomplished Belizean pageant queen, with the coveted titles Miss teen Belize and Queen of the Bay Belmopan under her belt, along with some wise words & many lessons learned about loving yourself for who you are, forgiveness, confidence, and true beauty from the inside out!

"Growing up, I was always teased about my thick curly hair and dark skin. Everyday it felt like a fight to feel beautiful, seen, heard etc."

I "fixed" the “hair problem” by perming and wearing weaves, but of course I couldn’t do anything about my skin, so I "fixed" that by having an overly “confident” and loud personality. Over my years of being in the pageant community, I begun to notice and feel that people only seemed to believe you’re worthy of the crown if you’re tall enough, your hair is long enough, your body is “perfect” or "slim" enough or if you’re popular enough. Its hard to not have that affect your confidence.

But loved the feeling. The rush of stepping on stage in my 6 inch heels, exaggerated hip swings with my long hair and big smile. But towards the end I would always burn out. My mind would go completely blank and I’d have the overwhelming feeling of anxiety and impostor syndrome.. Nothing and no one could bring my confidence back up. to where it had been only moments before.

I found myself doing things I thought I loved, and that i thought would bring joy and contentment... but instead I learned that no matter where you are in life, you are never truly happy until you deal with what’s in your heart. The hair, the makeup, the heels, the attention; NONE of that will bring you happiness... Especially if after winning the crown, you look in the mirror and feel as though it doesn’t belong on your head.  I became tired of living with my own insecurities, and feeling like I had to maintain a certain pageant "standard" of beauty. My hair had become brittle and dry, and it was time for a change.. both inside and out. I completely stopped perming, only wore protective styles, and began treating my hair (and my heart) with love and care that it deserved. After a while my roots began to grow out and I could clearly seen the thick kinky curls coming through! I began to see myself - the real me - coming through. I became curious about what my natural look would be, as I honestly couldn't remember what it looked and felt like. I thought to myself, why don’t I believe my natural hair is beautiful? If I’m going to be truly confident in my REAL self, then shouldn’t I be able to embrace my God given hair?

In a moment of boldness, courage, and excitement, I did the big chop. I cut off all the dry, permed, split ends of my hair, and for the first time in years and years, I saw me. the real me.

In all of my own natural beauty.

Along with my hair, I seemed to have cut off a huge weight of insecurity and unattainable beauty standards. With that first move I began what has now been a year-long personal growth journey, learning to let go of the pain and hurt in my own heart, to accept the way God made me, and begin walking down the path he chose for me.

Over the last year I've learned three major truths. I've learned that forgiveness and acceptance are the keys to happiness. Forgiveness and acceptance are the keys to being your most authentic self.

And that forgiveness and acceptance are the keys to being your most beautiful self -- both inside and out. 

True beauty is a black, kinky haired woman who’s faced her battles and chosen forgiveness, chosen acceptance and chosen to be happy." - Kiah Lisani Pastor

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