Beauty standards are one of the key factors that power social media today. What to wear, how to act, and the countless definitions of what being beautiful really means.
Cacsmy Brutus, also known as Mama Cax, is the stylish, cancer-surviving, world traveller who has given a new definition to the meaning of self-love.
She was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1989 but was raised in Montreal and Haiti by two Haitian parents who love her dearly.
She says she grew up with parents who told her she was beautiful everyday even if she didn’t think so herself. Growing up she didn’t feel attractive due to her scars or long legs and was often teased at school by fellow classmates as she matured later than most girls her age, having a flat chest.
2 New blog posts (long overdue) link in bio • 1. Exploring Cuba in a week 2. 6 items to bring on your next trip to Cuba "…When I lived in Haiti, I knew of a guy named Miguel. To this day I’m still not sure what his occupation was but Miguel was dark skinned, lean and slightly hunchbacked. He was always in our backyard recounting tales of his Cuban grandfather. Surprisingly enough, he wasn’t alone, if I had a dollar every time a Haitian told me they have a Cuban relative, I’d be Oprah’s next door neighbor. Needless to say, this desire Haitians had for a Cuban tie left me puzzled and dreaming of one day visiting…." #cuba #habana #alleleswomen #wanderlust #mamacax _______________________________________
At the age of 14 she was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Osteosarcoma and was given 3 weeks to live. Osteosarcoma is a common type of cancer in children and teens that starts in the bones and forms tumors that grow at a rapid speed.
The cancer consumed her hip and growths formed on her lungs, but she miraculously beat the odds and was given another chance at life.
Unfortunately, she lost a part of her right hip and entire right leg due to an unsuccessful surgery. Beating cancer was an achievement even if it meant losing a limb.
As she got older, social media didn’t help her in any way as it portrayed images of inorganic beauty and was discouraging to her in her teenage years.
She was covered in scars, had lost a body part and did not feel confident in her own skin.
In college, she tried her hardest to cover up the fact that she was missing a leg.
From the stares to the whispers it took a toil on her self-esteem. As devastating as her earlier years had been, she decided to embark on a trip that would change her life forever.
When she was 17 she travelled to Costa Rica and fell in love with the feeling of new knowledge and surroundings while exploring the world.
In 2013, while she was backpacking through South East Asia (yes, on crutches), she got the idea to start her blog Mama Cax.
This was a nickname most of her friends and family call her.
From there she started documenting her travels, personal style, and food. She has many friends who take pictures for a living, giving her a sort of permanent photographer that makes it easy for her to take pictures of her stylish looks in the many places she travels.
When describing her personal style, she says its unpredictable, Afrocentric, and timeless.
Her Instagram started to get a huge following and she was getting complimented on her rich dark skin, bravery as a cancer surviving amputee, and her sense of style.
When it comes to her fashion inspiration she says the everyday New Yorker inspires her and she draws inspiration from Solange Knowles for being so bold and colorful.
Her social media handles show her prosthetic leg dressed up in different sleeves that compliment her outfit of the day.
She says that the fashion world needs more bloggers with unique experiences and different walks of life. Her goal is to share her experience as a woman, as a person of color, and as a person with a physical disability.
MAMA CĀX || "There is a Haitian saying which might upset the aesthetic images of most women. Nou lèd, Nou la, it says. We are ugly, but we are here. Like the modesty that is somewhat common in Haitian culture, this saying makes a deeper claim for poor Haitian women than maintaining beauty, be it skin deep or otherwise. For most of us, what is worth celebrating is the fact that we are here, that we against all the odds exist. To the women who might greet each other with this saying when they meet along the countryside, the very essence of life lies in survival. It is always worth reminding our sisters that we have lived yet another day to answer the roll call of an often painful and very difficult life." -Edwidge Danticat. ______________________________ How are we today, sister? -We are ugly, but we are here. ______________________________ Photo: taken by the talented @islandboiphotography #islandboiphotography #afro #fanmdjanm #mamacax #melanin #melaninmonday #blackandwhite #blackout #simplicity #cancersurvivor _____________________________________
Although she is not a part of a specific charity or organization she has the strongest love and support for the amputee community and urges them to break stereotypes and boundaries.
She advises young women out there to know their worth, figure out what they want, set up a plan and go for it. As she says,
“Beauty does not always wear a size zero…and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.”
Life isn’t always smooth sailing in every moment of your life. There will be the most rewarding times and the times you question if life is even worth living.
Remember to find the beauty in everything – the people you meet, the places you travel, and even the times that taught you to never give up.
Be true to who you are even if the world doesn’t quite agree and always be your own beauty standard.