We believe Christmas is the season to give, love and reunite with your loved ones. 2017 has been a year full of ups and downs for the most of us. Nevertheless, we’d like to take this opportunity to be grateful and thank everyone of you for supporting our unicorn dreams. ❤️ This KISSMAS season, we’d like to emphasise on the emotions of LOVE. Love is such an important emotion because it transcends all things.
Our founder, Sherlyn, sent this photo to our Twenty3 group chat yesterday. Along with it, she said, “Just in case anyone need psychiatrist.”
Mental health isn’t always talked about openly, especially in a work setting. Those who experience ill health fear being judged, being misunderstood or being uncared for. Today is World Mental Health Day, and this year, the World Health Organisation has chosen the theme, Mental Health In The Workplace.
This is especially close to us Twenty3 Unicorns, working with a boss who has depression. She was at the hospital for her psychiatric follow-up and has openly shared that with not only us, but also her community on Instagram. If you have been following her on @sherlyn_fitness, you would know that she lives with depression and has been for many years. She talks about the struggles and the triumphs that comes with it, with hopes of helping others understand how she feels and how important mental health is.
As adults, the workplace is where we spend most of our time. If you are not yet working, your workplace is your school, college or university. Our experience in these spaces can have an extremely big influence on our overall health and wellbeing. Sherlyn doesn’t show us her darkness but she has certainly taught us a lot about it. We are thankful to have a workplace that is so supportive, where our workmates are our friends and where mental health matters just as much as our productivity.
Here, we’d like to share some things we can do to make our workplace safer and more mental health-friendly, for ourselves and others. These are just our suggestions so feel free to give us your thoughts if you agree or don’t agree with them:
- Ask, “How Are You?”
Everyone needs to feel like they are close to, and valued by, others. We will enjoy work so much more if we walk into the office knowing the people there care about us. A simple “How are you?” can really make a difference.
Just yesterday, we had a (belated) office lantern party for Mid-Autumn Festival. We were grouped, intentionally, with others from different departments. This is so that we can connect with the Unicorns we rarely see and talk to. Together, we shared things about ourselves that not many people know of. We also talked about our happiest memories and recent struggles. We learned many things about our workmates. For example, our Customer Relationships Unicorn doesn’t eat egg yolk and our Business Development Unicorn has been having a lot of problems with her car. The point, however, was not just to get to know each other, but also to care more about each other. We all have our struggles, big or small, and sometimes all we need is someone to listen. We can be that someone!
- Ask For Help When Needed
If your workload is spiralling out of control, ask if your workmate is able to help. If you are having problems, whether work or non-work-related, try and take the step to reach out. If you feel like you need to, even if you aren’t sure, seek professional help. That was Sherlyn’s message. Don’t be afraid to seek help, even if you aren’t sure if you really have a mental health illness. You won’t know until the doctor sees you.
- Look Beyond The Surface
There is no face of mental health. A person who has depression or is suicidal might not show it. Sherlyn’s had friends who have attempted suicide and they mostly look really happy and outgoing. What goes on behind the surface? We don’t know. The happiest and smiliest person in the office could be struggling with issues of her/his own. When someone opens up to you to share their feelings, please do not say “It's impossible. You don't look sad at all.” Just listen, and be there for them. Even if you do not have the right answers.
- Go Out & Have Fun
Even better if it’s something active! Sherlyn actually made all of us do 5 leg raises yesterday before the lantern party began. Whether it’s trying a new restaurant for lunch, organising a company picnic or even a trip to the theme park, do things as a team, beyond just work. You will learn to enjoy each other’s company much more and make communication easier.
Mental ill health is more common than we think and it is time we stop being afraid to talk about it. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and more than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both.
Sherlyn’s stories have helped us understand mental health much better and we seek to be a more supportive team within our workplace. We hope you’ll consider doing the same in yours. Even if a little, change is change. Perhaps you can start by asking your workmate, “How are you?”
If you have any more information or stories you’d like to share with us, please feel free to comment below or email our Unicorn, email@example.com.
Note: The information in this article is based on our own learning and experiences. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of mental ill health, we strongly encourage you seek professional advice.
We recently received an email from Charmaine, sharing her journey from anorexia to bulimia and at last, to health. She hopes that by speaking out, she can reach out to those who are currently suffering in silence and let them know they are not alone. This is her story:
“Hi, I'm Charmaine and I just wanted to share what I went through.
It started when I was 16. Being one of the taller girls in school, I was occasionally referred to as ‘big-sized’ by some of the guys. As much as how most would argue that I was a skinny-looking girl, I started feeling self-conscious about my weight. I was always heavier than most girls around me, given my height. Back then, it was always about the numbers on the scale, and how skinny your arms are. I remember always trying to wrap my thumb and middle finger around my arms to see if they'll touch. It became an obsession. An obsession to become thinner and thinner.
I went through different diets to drastically lose weight. Most of them involved a significant calorie deficit or restriction of certain food groups. It got addictive and being a person of both extremes, I started becoming anorexic. I was eating very little and lost a huge amount of weight. My clothes started to look baggy on me, eyes sunken, cheekbones protruding, pelvis edging through my skin, hair falling off day by day.
And then I got scared and snapped out of it. I realized that I needed to eat again. So I started eating. But I was unhappy as the number on the scale increased bit by bit. Frustrated, I started to binge, thinking that since nothing seemed to work, I might as well stuff my face. And then I’d feel guilty of letting myself do so and succumb to throwing it up. It became a habit as it seemed to be the easiest solution at that time. I was bulimic.
It has been a crazy roller coaster ride over the years. There are long periods where I thought that it's gone but it comes back kicking me in the face again and again every time someone makes a negative comment about my body. It has always been only me fighting it alone because I was always afraid of what others would think about me, afraid of hearing comments from people who don't understand.
Over time, I realized that the issue doesn't lie within comments from others. It was all in me, my self-consciousness and lack of confidence that led to this struggle. I want to share this because I know there are a lot more people out there who are struggling alone. I want them to know that they are not alone and they can always reach out.”
We hope for eating disorders and depression to become less of a taboo topic, and that those currently struggling find the courage to speak out and seek help.
If you’d like to talk to Charmaine, you can DM her on Instagram @kuihkapit.
If you’d like to share your story, you can email our Unicorn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From young, we're always seeing tall, thin women with flawless skin in magazines and on TV. We are taught to believe this is the only definition of beauty. But, what we see is not always true, and at best, it is only the surface. We have no idea of these women’s lives or their stories! Even the most ‘perfect-looking’ woman you can think of has her insecurities. We want to celebrate what's behind that perfect picture, with real people, real bodies. We all have our struggles and we want to share them, with you.
Hi! I'm Sherlyn, the founder and creative lead at Twenty3! Growing up, I was very insecure about my body. I was eating 2 eggs and one bowl of soup a day, and doing countless hours of yoga. This is all because one person asked me why I'm still eating chips when I'm already so fat, right in front of my friends. I felt so ashamed of myself. In 2 months' time, I was down by 10 kg. I was too weak to even walk and one day, my Dad had to bring me to the doctor because I was fainting. I self-harmed a lot during that period of time because all I wanted was acceptance from others. But I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't continue eating so little and working out so heavily just so that I could be skinny. People were slut-shaming me, complaining that I shouldn't be modelling for my own clothing brand because I'm fat. They shamed me for my fat armpits and thunder thighs. I quit. I gave up because I had no courage to continue but today, I'm back, hoping to inspire more of you that you can be who you are and you can love yourself.
I just wanted to be thin. I thought that's what it takes to be a model. I’m 180 cm tall and my lowest weight was around 58 kg. Now, I think I am 62 kg. I don’t even know my measurements anymore!!Back then, I was eating salads every day, and I felt really weak. I remember I went to the beach with my family once and my Dad saw how unhealthily thin I was. He then brought me to my favourite restaurant and that's when I realised it'd been a long time since I'd eaten well. It took me a while to understand that the most important part of myself was my inner beauty, connecting with myself and appreciating every aspect of who I am as a human, even the flaws. That was very powerful and made me feel truly beautiful.
I have always struggled with body image, particularly due to my social media presence and modelling. I used to be a little bit larger than I am now, and I would be scrutinised because I was too short and not lean enough to be a model. Recently, after going off the contraceptive pill and dealing with stress, I have lost a lot of weight. Now, I am scrutinised for being too skinny to model and I am constantly being judged because I look "underweight", "disgustingly thin", and "in need of help". To say in short- you can never please everyone, and no matter what you look like physically, bullies will always have something negative to say about your body and what should be changed. I have come to this realisation and tried my best to stop caring what others think. I'm not completely comfortable in my skin yet but I am working on it every day. One tip I would give to girls struggling with body image is to not compare themselves to others. We are ALL different. Different skin tones, different body shapes, and different bone structures. Look up to YOURSELF rather than the photoshopped girl on the front of a magazine because we are ALL beautiful.
I grew up with eczema and naturally dry skin my entire life. This isn’t something I’ve been too vocal about, and growing up with a stigma surrounding blemished skin did not make it easy to accept myself and my body. I remember the first ever time I walked into Bobbi Brown, it was to buy their most pigmented concealer. Not for my face, but for the scars that spanned across my body. I remember being in the bathroom washing my hands once and having a woman stare at me, as if she were disgusted by my scars. My eczema wasn’t limited to my arms, legs or elbows. It runs across my body and this condition makes it harder for other scars to heal properly. It didn’t help that I was a huge klutz as a kid and often injured myself. It definitely didn’t help that I felt I was a little on the chubbier side, either. I hated my skin, I was never content with my appearance, and I didn't own a sleeveless shirt until the age of 13 due to how insecure I was.
I was about 16 or 17 when I realised that this mindset wasn’t getting me anywhere. My skin shouldn’t be a hindrance to the potential I have to contribute to society, nor does it taint me as an individual. Some of us have stretch marks, blemishes, and lack the conventional hourglass figure but that's what makes us who we are. And hey, some scars bear the most hilarious stories, and my stretch marks are kinda like tiger stripes (cause I’m a fighter? haha!). The media gives us this idea of a beauty that will somewhat always be unattainable - “and you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart. No scars to your beautiful”. Be yourself, love yourself, accept yourself - and this will project onto others too.
SHARE WITH US
There are more stories to come and we’d love to hear yours!
Email our Unicorn at email@example.com to share your story, and we might feature it next. It could be on body image, self-love and acceptance, or even to tell us about that cool birthmark you have!
READY FOR OUR NEW MOVE COLLECTION?
It will be launching this week, with our founder, Sherlyn’s, 30th Birthday Collection! 🎉
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Trust us, it’s going to be BIG!
Reflecting back on our roots, we showcased on the runway as Twenty3 for the first time this year, as opposed to focusing on our sub-brands Sher and Lin. We felt this was a good time to present who we are at our core- A movement of dreamers, empowering other dreamers everywhere.
Led by SoBu, with Twenty3’s in-house designers Cheng, Vivien and Yen Yon on the team, the collection, titled Beyond The Lines, is a testament to their passions and their many years of experience in honing their art.
The runway saw 12 looks, crafted from a palette of black and indigo tones, contrasted with clean white, soft pink and azure, reminiscent of a dreamland. The collection also features elements in opposition, as it embraced tough denim, structured shirting and strict lines, walking alongside relaxed hoodies, floral embroideries and flowing flute sleeves. Within these vivid disparities, Twenty3 explores the themes of androgyny, rebellion, freedom from expectations and learning to love, others, but more importantly, oneself.Look 1Look 2Look 3Look 4Look 5Look 6Look 7Look 8Look 9Look 10Look 11Look 12Which of these pieces did you like most? Comment below to let us know!In case you didn't catch our Instagram Live video, here's a snap of SoBu doing his victory dance.
We would like to thank all our guests who showed up on the event day and of course, all our customers and family members who have supported us throughout this journey. We made it here today because of you. We made it here today because of you. (P.S. You can find your photos on our Facebook Album)
The Twenty3 Unicorns Team!