Beautiful Voices is our ongoing blog series that highlights inspiring, empowering women. Our most recent Beautiful Voice is Jessie Dwiggins. See what she says when Annmarie asks her some questions about her own personal beauty.
Jessie is a yoga teacher and mindful-eating facilitator. She’s the creator of “From Um to Om™: Public Speaking for Yoga Teachers.” Jessie will help you create a space for you to look inward, love yourself, and then share with the world. Connect with her at her website, at Um to Om, or on Facebook.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
“Biggest challenge” feels like I should share something monumental. I find myself searching for a major life event that I was able to “overcome.” I’ve certainly had some significant life events, but it’s not that simple in my mind. To me, overcoming challenge requires patience, finesse, and adaptation, and it happens over time rather than all at once.
The most confronting aspects of my life have been an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety, all wrapped up into a ball of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt desperate to be the exact opposite of who I was to accommodate my beliefs of who I should be. My actions reflected my desperation and included food restriction, binge exercising, and drug abuse—all in an effort to numb myself from the intensity of my inner dialogue.
Two things have helped me to regain feeling and ease in my body: a really sweet dog (who has since crossed the rainbow bridge and sent another pup in her place), and my yoga practice. My dog taught me to be gentle and take exquisite care of myself. Yoga taught me that my body is capable of way more that I thought, that focusing on pleasure changes my relationship to discomfort, and that the beliefs that I learned as a kid don’t need to be my beliefs as an adult.
Overcoming this challenge has been a smoldering process instead of a blaze—slowly gathering energy to burn away the beliefs that dragged me down and creating ones that lifted me up. Previously, I wanted to just be done with worrying about it, but my relationship to these challenges is changing too.
Now, I’m more curious about how it unfolds and grateful for all that I’ve learned. I’m starting to feel comfortable in my own skin.
If money was no object what would you be doing?
I’ve gathered all that I’ve learned in managing my life’s challenges and translated it into teaching yoga and mindful eating. I’m thrilled to say that I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to and want to be doing.
It did, however, take me a while to build to where I am now. I worked a corporate job while I refined my teaching skills and offerings. I didn’t always have patience while getting to where I am, but it worked out.
But, if money was no object, I’d rescue as many dogs as I could legally keep in my house.
What does beauty mean to you?
“Pleasing to the eye” is part of it, but more so beauty means recognizing the miraculous and amazing things in nature and that our beings are capable of.
Beauty means overcoming society’s expectations of physical attractiveness and embracing the unique qualities of every person. Beauty is an act of kindness, a genuine compliment (both giving and accepting), generosity, and acceptance. Beauty is creativity, artistry, vulnerability, and courage. Beauty is in everyone and everything.
What makes you feel beautiful?
I feel beautiful when I feel my most capable and powerful—after a really sweaty yoga practice or when I’ve found a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem.
How does Annmarie's mission fit into your lifestyle?
I started using Annmarie’s skin care line for oily skin. There also were excuses to sit in front of the mirror, pick at my skin, and think terrible things about my appearance.
My skin started looking better and an interesting thing happened—I had to change my thoughts and behaviors. There was a lot less to pick at both on the outside and inside. I now pick on myself less.
I never thought that would happen from a face wash.
What are your words of wisdom to other beauties out there?
You are good enough just as you are. And that’s a half truth really, because you are so much more than you give yourself credit for.
Treat yourself with exquisite care, be gentle and patient, and enjoy something indulgent because you are worth it.
And when someone gives you a compliment, say “thank you” instead of trying to dismiss their kind words.
Photo Credit: Bethany O Photography
Isn’t she beautiful?
“Teaching People About Beauty From the Inside Out”
(If you’re interested in being featured as one of our Beautiful Voices, please email us at ask [at] annmariegianni.com.)