When I decided to make the #IWokeUpLikeDis shirts, I wanted to do it not just for Beyonce  but for the empowerment that the song and the phrase itself represents. Flawless is the perfect Ready-to-Stare anthem because being your most genuine self, no matter what anyone else thinks is what Ready-to-Stare is all about. When I came up with the idea of #ReadyToStareWokeUpLikeDis - The Movement, I wanted a space where people could voice their deepest fears and insecurities so that maybe we could all see that we aren't alone and that the negative feelings we have about ourselves are not as real as we might feel them to be.

I decided that if I was going to make these shirts as a sign of empowerment, I was going to use the photoshoot as a way for me to put my biggest insecurities on display. My whole life I have been insecure about the size of my legs. Growing up, wearing shorts was never an option for me and buying pants once a year when school started was an event that always brought me to tears. When I told this to my friend Charrise, I found out she had the opposite insecurity. She had been told her whole life that she was too small and she had always been scared to show her legs so we decided to do the shoot together and we realized we both had short black shorts that neither one of us ever had the guts to wear. This seemed like the perfect complement to our message. For us, it was so powerful to meet someone who had an insecurity about the same body part but for the total opposite reason. It showed that this thing that we had allowed to control what we wore for so many years didn't hold the weight we thought it did.

Charrise and I have more in common than our physical insecurities; we are both survivors of sexual assault -- something I never voiced until I started this movement. I kept this a secret for years because I didn't want to admit that this could happen to me. I lied to everyone and most importantly, I lied to myself because I was ashamed. I thought admitting this would change who I was and that I would lose my identity as a strong confident woman, that I would be less than. I realized that admitting that secret would change me, but not in that way I thought. It wouldn't make me weaker as a woman, but in fact, it would make me stronger.

Someone told me this year that every decision we make is based out of either fear or love. So by voicing this fear, I am choosing to love myself.  This movement is not just about owning your physical insecurities; it's about voicing your biggest fears so that they no longer have the power to control you. M  friend Janieda put it all into perspective for me when she said, "I'm putting myself on BLAST with my deepest insecurities and the more I do it, the more my shame fades. That's what it's about!"

I hope my story inspires you to share yours. You never know who can learn from your struggle.

Here's how you can get involved:

1) Share this post. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your story - share mine. 

2) Buy the shirt here and tell people about the movement behind it. 

3) Post a photo on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, wherever, and share YOUR deepest insecurity. Tag it with #ReadyToStareWokeUpLikeDis so everyone who is following can see it. 

I'll be compiling everyone's stories and images and re-posting them here on my site so our stories can inspire and empower each other.

And remember: Being flawless isn't the absence of flaws; it's the absence of fear.

XO

Alysse Dalessandro, Owner/Designer, Ready-to-Stare

This post was originally published on Jan 23, 2014