happiness

Pretty Hurts

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

This is such a powerful video and song. My favorite part is where the pageant host asks Beyoncé the contest what her aspiration in life is…Beyoncé stutters for a moment before deciding that her aspiration in life is to be happy. While the rest of the video is showing just how unhappy she real is maintaining this pretty façade.

Pretty hurts. We shine the light on whatever’s worst.

So many women are spiraling out of control. They’re abusing laxatives, abusing diet pills, purging, cutting their wrists all the while wondering if any of it will ever make them pretty….or happy.

Reading this blog will not make you pretty. It will not make you happy, or satisfied, or content.

Pretty is a societal standard wrapped up in years of somebody else deciding what perfection is.

Beauty comes from within. If you believe that you are beautiful. That you have worth, then you do and you are. No one can take that away from you.

If you are currently struggling and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. All you can see around you is a never ending tunnel of abuse, depression, purging, and darkness…then please visit the National Suicide Hotline. You can click, call, whatever works for you.

But as a friend, let me tell you that you are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy. I want you to stick around and live an amazing, full life.

If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that I’ve experience just how badly Pretty Hurts.

A 2001 study looked at 13,601 high school students and asked them to record where they thought their weight lay in comparison to “right about the right weight for me.” 64% of participants were actually within the healthy weight range for their height/age, however over half of all participants felt that they were “too fat” or “too thin.” And it was the self reporters saying that they were an either edge of the extreme that were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and to act on them.

19% of the participants had had suicidal thoughts in the last year.

~10% had attempted to take their own life.

All this because of a distorted perception of beauty and its ideals.

Why do we obsess over perfection? Over a number on a scale? Over every single, solitary calorie that passes over our lips?

I can’t answer that. I don’t know why we do it.

But I know the effect.

It means that almost 1 in 5 teenagers have thought about ending their lives over it. It means that 1 in 10 have tried.

We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

It’s the soul of a society that needs surgery.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

But revolutions don’t happen over night.

They start in the hearts and minds and souls of those who can be affected by change.

Change your mind about your  body.

It’s a magnificent thing.

The very fact that we don’t have to think about breathing astounds me. We don’t have to tell our red blood cells to clot when we get a scrape. We don’t tell our immune systems to fight off infections. Our bodies do this all on their own.

You’re body is amazing.

Love it.

Respect it.

Smile, beautiful. (:

Happy looks great on you.

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I Had No Idea… | The Power of Words

This past week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

I know what you’re thinking…

There’s a week for everything these days….Zzzz….Zzzzzz…

And you’re absolutely correct…there is a month/day/week for just about everything. March alone is home to National Puppy Week, Pi Day, Skipping Day, and British Pie Day just to name a few.

But, this really is a cause that deserves its own week. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S according to ANAD.

This is nothing to scoff at.

In the last 6 weeks, this blog has posted on topics ranging from eating disorders to body image to photo manipulation ethics, but this week I want to discuss something different.

I want to talk about you.

What is your struggle?

Do you look in the mirror and poke, push, and grab every part of your body that you don’t like?

Do you get anxious about leaving the house without makeup on?

Do you use filters on your pictures in order to give yourself a “better” appearance?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions: you probably struggle with some form body image issues.

You’re not alone…I’ve been there too, and so have a lot of other women.

There is no easy answer to this epidemic. If there were, we would have figured it out by now. But as it stands, three quarters of US women are unsatisfied with what they see in the mirror.

NEDA’s campaign revolved around the phrase: I had no idea…

I had no idea that so many women and men are affected by poor body image.

I had no idea that I wasn’t alone in my struggle.

I had no idea that those who meant well in my life, lied to me when I was young.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

Bullshit. A more honest phrase would have been:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will crush my heart, soul, and self esteem.

I had no idea how powerful words could really be.

I had no idea how devastating words could be to my psyche.

I had no idea how uplifting words could build me up but also cause me to doubt.

I had no idea how complicated life can be.

I had no idea about you.

In life there are always insiders and outsiders. In groups and out groups as the sociologists would say.  And it seems to me, and most likely to you as well, that no matter what you and were always in the outgroup. So what happens when a bunch of so-called outsiders band together?

We become an IN group.

According to Erin Morgenstern “there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead.”

Even in our darkest days, our ugliest days, our days when the darkness of our beds are the only comfort, “things keep going on,” your story is wrapped up in my story and “there is no telling where any of them my lead.”

You and I are in charge of our own stories, yet they are both intertwined. We do not exist in isolation. We were created for community. You keep me accountable for the words I say and think about my body, and I will do the same for you.

Because we are beautiful.

And no one should tell us otherwise.

Stay Smiling Beautiful! Happy, looks great on you.

From Body Hate to BodyLove

0814-lizzie-miller_vg

The above picture is of Lizzi Miller, also known as “the woman on page 194”, of Glamour Magazine. She appeared in the magazine in the September 2009 issue and started a body image revolution. She’s a size 12-14. Considered “plus-sized” by industry standards, but to you and me is a normal, happy, American woman.

The pursuit for perfection is an incessant, sometimes perilous journey that affects nearly all American women and over half men. In the U.S., this quest often manifests itself in the form of disordered eating, eating disorders, and exercise addiction. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.” That is not acceptable. Nearly every photo that is published of a celebrity is edited in some way: some drastically, others only minor changes are made. But why is altering one’s appearance the norm? Who is setting this unattainably high standard of beauty? How is it affecting children, teens, and adults? And perhaps most importantly, how can the individual change their view of themselves for the better and what can be done to combat this unattainable standard?

This project is near and dear to my heart. As an elementary student, I was obese, depressed, and lonely. As a middle school student, I was average, critical, depressed, and deeply unsatisfied with myself. It wasn’t until high school that my body hate hit its deepest low; I found myself in my bathroom staring at a reflection, honestly believing that if I worked hard enough, if I obsessed long enough, I could make myself beautiful. I obsessed over calories. They were my God. I worshiped them; idolized them. I lovingly tracked every single calorie that entered and exited my body. In my eyes, if I were thin I would finally be beautiful and people would love me. It wasn’t until I eventually injured myself partially from over-exercise and partially due to poor nutrition for years that I realized that I was not in a good place and that only I can determine if I am happy – not a number on a scale or a flat stomach. That moment began my quest for Body Love. It’s been a long and difficult road but I can happily say that now, 95% of the time, I love my body simply because it is mine.

However, I know that this is not the case with many women my age and it’s killing them and me. I want this blog to raise attention to body hate and help women along the way to Body Love.  I will do this by doing research on the various manifests of body hate such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, disordered eating, bingeing, chronic dieting, etc. I will also look at the various medias that promote thinness as the only acceptable form of beauty. Women are beautiful and unique in their own right and there is no reason for them to not see their own beauty inside and out.

Smile, you’re beautiful, and happy looks great on you.