A Reflection on Self-Acceptance with Karwa

It’s a tough world out there, undoubtedly. So there’s no need to be tough on yourself too. Darlings, you are enough. Every morning, every sunrise, every day.

Self-acceptance isn’t something people just gain overnight; it’s something cultivated through years and years of introspection, of trials and tribulations that test the very core of our existence, of moments both bad and good that collectively give us an idea of who we are and what direction we want to take. Like many people out there, self-confidence was one thing that didn’t come easily to the both of us. As individuals, we both found that only through hard work and persistent self-reassurance did we stand a chance at falling in love with who we are and how we look. 

The journey to accepting ourselves was a rough ride, and even through our growth, we still sometimes catch ourselves in a web of our own insecurities. That’s why when one of our good friends, Karina Dayrit (a.k.a Karwa), verbalized it into a mellifluous song with hard hitting lyrics that hit too close to home, we knew we wanted to share it and the powerful meaning behind it with you. 

But before we dive right in, we wanted to share what self-acceptance means to us:

What it means to Jazz: When I’m faced with the phrase self-acceptance, I think of it as synonymous to being enough for myself. It is a constant reminder that whatever the external world thinks or opines of you, your very existence does not need to be tailor-made for them. Self-acceptance is never doubting yourself in whatever you’re wearing—be it that loud hot pink sweater or an ankle-length skirt or your short pixie cut. It is about living comfortably in the body that you’ve been bestowed and rocking it. Many of our insecurities are so deeply rooted in flaws that are pointed out to us that we tend to oversee what truly matters: that through every phase of growth you are in, you are loving yourself each step of the way, coming to terms with your flaws, and keeping confident even without the final results just yet. So go out there today, unbowing to the standards that the world has set for decades, if not centuries, and remember that real beauty is being able to stand tall and proudly declare to the world that this is who you are and you are taking no one’s sh*t.

What it means to Julia: Self-acceptance for me is really just detaching yourself from the idea that other people can define you. What they think, how they see you, how they choose to treat you—these are all things that you cannot control. The one thing you can control is yourself, and choosing to stay true to your nature, to go about your path with the assurance that you are being who you are because you’re doing what you love, and being open to the fact that you can, along with everyone around you, constantly change is what I see as the rawest form of self-confidence. So, no matter what you wear, or what makeup you like, or how you want to express yourself, as long as you feel that it is untainted by undeserved external judgment and truly from your heart (and not harmful to anyone in any way possible), that’s good enough. You’re good enough. Always. 

But, of course, as young women, we grew up around the concepts and standards of beauty set by society and the beauty industry as a whole: from clothes to makeup to skin care to body image, we were constantly led to believe that there is one type of acceptable beauty. Although the industry has been working around the problem of acceptance and non-conformity as well as learning to embrace facts that beauty is not just on the outside, it still presents itself to be quite a looming shadow for many people. While the beauty industry can be wielded as a powerful tool to create and uplift, it can also stand as a double-edged sword to those that fall into their intimidation tactics. These are but a few of the topics that this song tackles, so let’s unpack more of these in depth with the songwriter herself. 

Stream it on Spotify

To help us take a deeper look into her latest song entitled “Who Is She?”, we were able to catch up with Karwa this quarantine season via email (stay safe indoors people) to talk about her inspiration for the song and what it means to her personally!

Please introduce yourself. Literally, who is she?

Getting asked that question is sometimes difficult because we continually evolve as people; our careers, likes/dislikes, beliefs can actually change through time. But for the sake of answering it, here’s “me” at the moment: I’m Karina Dayrit, but I go by the artist name “karwa”, which is one of my nicknames back in college (with a sabaw story probably reserved for another chat). I currently work with a digital marketing company and teach yoga therapy part-time to my community in Muntinlupa called “Flow Village”. Dancing, creating music, eating good food, hanging out with my family and two dogs makes me sane, especially through this tough time.

What was the inspo to write this song? 

I was watching a short video clip of Yoga by Adriene where she was talking to a crowd about how she started creating free content on YouTube for people who want to practice and know more about Yoga, which has eventually grown into this big community. One of her lines during the talk struck to me: “What’s the point of looking good if you still look at the mirror and you don’t know who you are, and you don’t love what you see?” I was like, “Damn girl, you have a point!” At this time, I was kind of struggling a bit with what direction I should take in life and also body image issues, so that line made sense to me.

Can you tell us about your creative process when it came to producing the song and the video?

Since that whole line was so powerful, that became the root concept of the song so I just picked up my guitar and started babbling words until I got into the flow of writing. I collaborated with my co-workers and friends who are into beauty, fashion, and make-up vlogging to get their clips for the video. I wanted to highlight the mirrors at home to show how when we look at ourselves, sometimes we are our harshest critics and there would be moments where we don’t even recognize ourselves while looking at our own image.

We’re hoping you can share with us your personal experiences and self-love growth?

Ever since I was a kid, I would always be on the lookout for something to do, and I was always hungry (literally and figuratively) for more. This type A personality made me push myself to go after anything I ever wanted to achieve, but it would also make me stressed and unappreciative of my own efforts. To be honest, a big shift in my perspective happened when I got hooked into taking Yoga classes back in 2016, then went on to becoming a certified teacher where I got to learn more about the philosophy and the supportive community that fosters acceptance. It also helps that I have a very good support system which is my family and friends who I can always count on when life gets tough. 

What are your personal thoughts on the standards of beauty in society and the use of makeup?

What is deemed beautiful is subjective and beauty standards are always changing in our society. We are constantly exposed to messages telling us, “This is what you should wear” or “This is how you should look”. Over time, when such messages are consistently ingrained in our minds, we then believe that this is also how we should be. Sometimes that can be problematic because it sets us up to unrealistic expectations like seeing a brushed up model and thinking, “I should be that flawless” But, of course, you forget that some pores were edited in Photoshop. As for the use of make-up, I grew up with my mom putting very minimal make-up on her face. Her go to would be a compress powder, eyeliner, and a lip balm. She already has a beautiful face so I think she can do without it to be honest. And because she’s like that, I did the same – believe it or not my blush on back in highschool was me pinching my cheeks. Plus, I would sometimes joke to people that the reason I don’t put on so much make-up is so they can get used to my bare face and not compare it to an enhanced version of me lol. But kidding aside, I think make-up is also a form of art that has this amazing power to transform and highlight  our natural features which can make people feel good about themselves. Sometimes, when you’re feeling a lil’ ugly at home and you just put some tint on your lips, it can actually make a difference in your mood. 

Do you have any advice to someone experiencing self-doubt or insecurities or having trouble finding who they were, what would it be?

I think the first step is acknowledging that you have these doubts and insecurities and trying to identify where these all started and what triggers them. Are the harsh words you tell yourself your own voice or are they the words of other people? When it comes to finding who you are, girl I’m still figuring out who I am most of the time! Maybe we’re all just trying to wing it in life. Personally, I find it helps to keep doing what you love doing, have a solid support system, and know that things are always changing – even the answer to the question, “Who is She?”

Don’t forget to follow Karwa through her various socials! For more music and movement, come say hi via her pages below:

And remember to drop a like on the video

If you’ve got stories about self confidence and personal growth that you’d love to share with us or what you think about Karwa’s new song, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments below!

And remember lovelies, becoming the baddest b*tch starts from within.

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