Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | December 17, 2010

You Are Never Alone

 (Source)

Recovery isn’t always easy.

The road will be hard.

When you’re not feeling well…and you are struggling

Seek and hold on to hope and know others are thinking of you…

Supporting you.

You are never alone.

Take good care of yourself.

One moment at a time

~ ViR

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | December 10, 2010

Freckles

I would like to thank The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt for sharing this song for me to share with you today as some recovery music. Hope you enjoy! Update: Sorry you will have to go to you tube to see this video. Please click below and it will direct you.

I used to care so much about what others think about
Almost didn’t have a thought of my own
The slightest remark would make me embark
On the journey of self doubt
But that was a while ago
This girl has got stronger
If I knew then what I know now
I would have told myself don’t worry any longer it’s OK

[Chorus:]
’cause a face without freckles is like a sky without stars
Why waste a second not loving who you are
Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable,
They show your personality inside your heart
Reflecting who you are

Who you are
Who you are
Who you are

I wondered if I could trade my body with somebody else in magazines
Would the whole world fall at my feet?
I felt unworthy and would blame my failures on the ugliness I could see
When the mirror looked at me
Sometimes I still feel like the little girl who doesn’t belong in her own world
But I’m getting better
And I’m reminding myself

[Chorus]

’cause a face without freckles is like a sky without stars
Why waste a second not loving who you are
Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable,
They show your personality inside your heart
Reflecting who you are

Reflecting who you are
Reflecting who you are
Hmmm
Whoooooo whoa hmmmm oooooo

[Chorus]

’cause a face without freckles is like a sky without stars
Why waste a second not loving who you are
Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable,
They show your personality inside your heart
Reflecting who you are

Reflecting who you are

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | December 9, 2010

How Do We Define Recovery – Nina’s Experience

Written by ViR: Nina

I loved reading this post “How Do We Define Recovery” on your blog. It is something that had me fascinated and confused for many years. I am a firm believer that everyone’s idea of recovery is different, and there is enormous space for a multitude of opinions and experiences. Here is my definition and experience with recovery from an eating disorder

1. What does recovery mean to you? What does it include?

Recovery to me means living with freedom from the mental obsession and physical compulsion of the eating disorder. It means living life without the eating disorder dictating and constricting your thoughts and actions

2. When does recovery start?

A tricky question. I always thought that recovery would start when I “got well”, when I was “on the other side”. But now, looking back, I can see that it started long before then. It started when I became interested and passionate about recovering, when I spent as much time researching and getting help to recover, as I had engaging in the eating disorder.

3. Do you believe that once you have an eating disorder you will be in recovery for your entire life? Why or why not?

I do not believe this to be true. This is a controversial issue, but I will just give my humble opinion, based on my only qualification – my experience. I have found that today I am completely free of all eating disorders. I never binge, starve, purge or obsess about food or my weight – never. I don’t get any form of therapy that specifically addresses the eating disorder, although I still use other recovery tools to deal with emotional issues that come up in my life. I talk to people, meditate, journal and most importantly – try to help others dealing with this illness.

However, I cannot say that I feel that I am “in recovery” for an eating disorder, as I do not show or express any eating disorder symptoms. I act the same way around food as my “normal” friends who have never had an eating disorder.

I will, however, say this: I believe that if I were to ever try to engage in any form of eating disorder behavior like calorie restriction, over exercising, obsessing about “healthy food”, weighing myself or laxative abuse, the disorder could potentially resurface. So perhaps my answer is conditional. I am recovered only to the extent that I do not try to control my food or weight ever again. I have seen how powerless my attempts are and how no matter how much strength and willpower I may have – I will always lose. My mind becomes the enemy and the eating disorder will always win. As long as I stay out of that deadly game, I win.

4. Do you believe it is possible to be recoverED? Why or why not?

To answer this question, I got this definition online:

Recovered:

2. To restore (oneself) to a normal state:

I guess this one is tricky and depends on what you consider “normal”. This is a subjective definition, and I will give my subjective opinion and experience, as I believe this was the most important thing that helped me get to where I am. I wanted to be a “normal” eater and I had to define what that was for me. Here is what I came up with and what I used in daily creative visualization meditations to create that reality for me:

  • I eat what I want
  • I eat when I am hungry
  • I stop when I am full
  • No food is off limits
  • I only think about food when I am hungry
  • After I finish a meal, I never think about it again
  • I don’t diet
  • I don’t obsess about my weight
  • I only exercise for my health
  • I think my body is just right the way it is.

That is my definition and what I wanted so desperately. I focused on that vision for the last 2 years of my eating disorder, hoping, but not knowing that it would one day become my reality.

Today I live that exact vision. My definition has come to be my reality. That is what “recoverED” meant to me and I am a firm believer that if it was possible for me, it is possible for anyone.

If you want to read more of my story – what it was like – you can find it here.

Nina has been recovered from all eating disorders for several years and aims to help people through sharing her story, experience and recovery on www.helpforeatingdisorder.com

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | December 1, 2010

Am I Listening? Are You Listening?

Are You Listening



I read this post today by @edrecovery called “ED Recovery and Growth In Spite of Our Doubts” and it made me start thinking about a lot of things. This quote especially resounded with me “You have the power to choose your lessons, to grow at your own pace, and to build a life that you feel great about.”

I have a lot of things on my bucket list for ViR that have been nagging at me lately. Almost weighing me down. I have these large goals, vision board material in a way, of what I want to do with ViR. I am facing some struggles with money, creativity, innovation, inspiration, etc. and I keep putting pressure on myself and the Universe to send me BIG answers to the answers in life. I think I have forgotten that life isn’t only surrounding ViR, advocacy, recovery, or social media. My life is a vast colorful palate. I forget to step outside the world in advocacy and see the Universe just may be sending me small lessons, whispering in my ear what I need right now, at this very moment, and I may be too busy looking for the Universe to yell in my ear about what I am wishing it would. Life’s answers are funny. I asked the Universe to guide me, send me some inspiration, guidance, and excitement. I was never clear on the details. So am I listening if I am listening with tunnel vision??

I was reading this article on HuffPost and it touched upon this question: What do you want out of life, really? I had to take a moment and step back and really think about this. I constantly ask myself what I want out of ViR, but what about me? My life? I giggled a few weeks ago, when I told my guy “I wish I lived in a movie sometimes, with a music soundtrack, with inspiring statements, and insights into the life of a character.” I like the pretty wrapped package of stories, written with beginning, middle, conclusion, and always the appearance of insight. If there is one thing in life I THRIVE on, it is on insights into life. I feel insights bring about change, make me able to face fear, drive me to want to inspire others, and help me figure out what exactly I want in life.

Here are a few of my CORE things I want out of life:

  • I want to inspire/motivate/empower people to find their voice, and pursue their journey in life, in recovery and in life.
  • I want to be a loving  and supportive daughter, sister, aunt, girlfriend, friend, mentor
  • I want to make a difference in life
  • I want to continue to push myself, to grow, to be challenged in my thinking
  • I want to live the life I define, the one I pursue, the one that works for ME, and never settle for anything less
  • I want to travel, meet new people, and experience life to its absolute fullest
  • I need a partner who will challenge, inspire, motivate me, and one who is inspired, motivated, and seeking their own passions and goals in life

I am inspired by:

  • My family
  • My boyfriend
  • Advocates, Actionists, Activists, #RecoveryWarriors
  • My mentee
  • People who are fighting to live the life that is RIGHT for them
  • People sharing their voices

I am Grateful for:

  • The love and support of my family
  • My boyfriend, who loves, supports me and was a huge part of saving my life
  • Supportive social media friends
  • I have the ability, in each new day, to make new decisions that will guide me towards the future I want

Looking over this list I realize, it is the small things that are the big things in my life. I never want to take for granted the many blessings I have in life. In the past week I have been given a few gifts and think I haven’t really been listening! I was at dinner at Thanksgiving with my guys parents, and we went around the table to say what we are thankful for. When it got to me, I thought I had the answer “Recovery and sobriety.” What I realized, as I was talking, was that I was truly grateful for my partner, the person who has been with me the past 3 three years, through thick and thin. I know we have our issues, like every couple, but considering what we have been through, it is a true blessing to be where we are right now, in this very moment.

Three Thanksgivings ago, before we moved to Boston, I had just gotten sober (November 12, 2007) and had just started recovery again hard-core. I went to his parents’ house 1) nervous 2) scared 3) unsure of whether I would be able to handle ALL of that in a setting I was not comfortable in. I had printed out the NEDA and Something Fishy recommendations for people in recovery, and read it before going to dinner to calm myself down. Now here I was, three years later, and honestly in such a different place, I hardly recognized the person I was three years ago. That is the true blessing in recovery, the ability to transform my life into something truly wonderful. And I had this partner, who had supported me, by my side all these years later. He is part of the reason I am alive today.

We were at dinner the other night, and he said “I am truly happy with our life here, with you, our life is really good. I love you so much.” This was the first time he had said this since we moved back to California, and maybe the first time in our relationship. Boston was so HARD on us, with school, no family, no support system, a foreign location, no friends, and medical school whirlwind, and ViR creation. Now in Cali, he feels settled, and truly loves our life. Those are the messages I need to be listening to in life. The small comments are the ones that mean the most.

I asked for inspiration and support and a “light” from the Universe. I just may not have been listening at the time to the answer, or the package it was delivered in. The answer is clear: I have what I need, at this very moment, to be happy with where I am and who I am. Nothing “needs to happen” in order for things to be just right. I just need to let go and accept that I am exactly where I am meant to be, and this is a good place to be.

These lyrics today inspired me by First Aid Kit “Heavy Storm”

A new day awaits me.

I could be gone today

A new day awaits me

We could be here to stay

I believe these three questions give incredible insight:

1)   What are the CORE things you want out of life?

2)   What inspires you?

3)   What are you grateful for?

I believe that living in this moment, right now, is where life is happening! Don’t wait for things to be just right to start something, to pursue your dreams. Start now. Find your passions, what inspires you and go for it. Don’t live in the “what if’s” or the “shoulds.” Ask the Universe for some guidance, and be prepared for answers that don’t come in pretty packages. Listen to the whisper.

Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time ~ Leo Buscaglia


Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 24, 2010

Holiday Recovery Tips

Plan ahead: prepare a game plan going into the Holiday.

Discuss with your treatment team a relapse prevention plan; Print and bring written down relapse prevention plan with you on Holiday

Can you make your Holiday a Fat Talk Free Zone? I know this may be hard, but it would be a wonderful goal!

If possible, could you ask for a No Comment on eating disorder zone? Contact your friends or family before the meal to let them know where you are in your recovery, what you need, and don’t need, as well as boundaries, triggers.

Do you have a supportive person who will be at the meal? If so, communicate with them before, during, and after meals. Keep accountable with them.

Know your triggers & prepare a plan to approach for each trigger

Practice self talk: With every negative thought, counter it, bring a list of counter points to repeat to yourself; this is a useful tool to reframe your thoughts

Escape plan: I don’t mean this in a “run away from the situation” perspective. I mean, if you feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, take a break, find a safe place, take a walk, find a quiet place to re-collect and replenish

Know & stick to your boundaries

Wear comfortable clothing

Talk with loved ones about important issues: decisions, victories, challenges, fears, concerns, dreams, goals, special moments, spirituality, relationships and your feelings about them. Allow important themes to be present and allow yourself to have fun rather than rigidly focusing on food or body concerns. (Source: NEDA)

Have phone numbers of your support system on hand: ask your support team if they would mind you calling them if you are struggling

Make a list of all the things you are grateful for!

Allow yourself to eat when hungry, stop when full. Listen to your body. Take moments to put the fork/spoon down in between bites to truly savor, taste the flavors, textures, etc.

Tweet when stressed! #RecoveryWarriors

If you find preparing a dish or helping cook to be helpful, then do so! If it triggers you, then know that and stay out of that role

Eat Breakfast – do not skip a meal because you fear the lunch or dinner, skipping meals can trigger you off your meal plan, or lead to potential binge eating later

Eat regularly – stick to your meal plan if you have one

Bring your own foods if necessary – you can even make more of them, to make it appear like “sharing” and not a separate food plan

Feelings check in: How are you feeling? What is going on?

Breathing check in: Take a few moments to take a few mindful, deep breaths whenever anxious

Visualize your happy place if overwhelmed. Take five minutes to yourself and close your eyes visualizing a safe place

If you have a dog, can you take for a walk with your support system or alone to clear your head?

Set goals that are not food related. Have a goal to talk to different people, play games, play with kids, the dog(s), etc.

Stay active with your support system, support groups, mentor, friends, etc.

If possible, spend time with other people in recovery

Never leave home without your recovery tool box! If you have a list of healthy coping skills, tools, worksheets, quotes, remember to print out and bring with you!

Breathe (Yes I am repeating this one because it is so important!)

Let go of perfectionism –  the best that you can

Journal

Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference

HALT:  Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.


Here are some recommendations from people on Twitter and Facebook:

Know holidays will end! It’s nice to be able to enjoy it, but when it’s hard I just think it will be January soon.

Enjoying a family holiday activity the brings back *good memories*… and sharing it with a new friend, just us

Allowing myself to step out if the room or the house if I start to feel overwhelmed. I always come back, but I allow myself to feel the emotions that I am feeling, tell someone I am feeling them, walk away, and then come back when I calm down.

YOGA! Any time of year, but esp. the holidays. Helps me gain focus throughout my day and be at peace with my body.

Say a prayer

Eliminating expectations! Of traditions, my family, myself, etc. Remembering that no matter what, everything is still OK

Take a break from holiday bombardment on tv and radio by reading an engaging favorite novel

Remembering that I am okay where I am at. And Just remembering to give myself grace

Write a note to all family members saying why you are thankful for them. It helps keep your mind off of the food and on the meaning of the holiday.

In the end, be flexible with your eating, and forgiving of yourself. It is ok to struggle, and ok to feel you have slipped. Reach out, ask for help, call a supportive person, or pull aside a trusted family member and communicate your struggle. You are not alone.



Links to help with Holidays in Recovery:

Hold the Fat Talk! 10 Tips for a Fat (Talk) Free Holiday Dinner

Coping With The Holidays When You Have An Eating Disorder

Tip Day: Surviving Thanksgiving Without Losing Your Mind

Ways to Cope

How to Have a Fat-Talk-Free Holiday Season

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat

Healthy Eating During The Holidays: Q&A with Judith Matz & Ellen Frankel

Tips for managing food and stress during the holidays

Navigating holiday food issues for people with an eating disorder

Surviving Holiday Meals

Thanksgiving with an Eating Disorder: 10 Tips to Help You Enjoy the Holiday

Eating Disorder Recovery Holiday Survival Plan

{Abundant Self Care} Through the Holidays



Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 17, 2010

The Stripped Project: Part III

Written by: @StarrLitLove

This week I had a revelation. An epiphany. Call it what you wish. It was fantastic.

My dear friend and supporter, @VoiceinRecovery tweeted a link to a blog called The Stripped Project.  And it changed my life.

First, I’d like to give a little background on my struggle with body image. I have highly disliked my body type for almost as long as I can remember. The feeling was ESPECIALLY strong after puberty. EVERY girl around me was still “stick thin” in 6th grade, with no chest. And here I was, with a full B-cup at least (and still growing), and womanly hips. I had curves! EEK! No one had those! So that made me not normal…which (to me) equaled not good enough…which equaled FAT.

Even throughout high school, I was still curvier than most girls. Looking back at pictures of me with my dance team squad, I was one of a couple (out of 12) girls who actually had an ample chest. I look back at those pictures and think…”Wow, I thought I was OBESE then…” But I SO wasn’t. I looked GOOD. I had curves where all the other girls were straight, which was fine for them, it just wasn’t me. And I didn’t accept that at the time.

I’ve gained somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds since my dancing days in high school. And those 10-20 pounds have crushed my confidence in the past 12 years. To the point where, if I get above a certain size or weight, I get constant disordered eating thoughts and have to fight the urge to give into them. There was a time that I ended up in the hospital due to mal-nourishment, because I was basically starving myself and had lost 20 pounds VERY quickly. And that was just one instance.

That’s how I felt about my body up until a few days ago. When @VoiceinRecovery introduced me to The Stripped Project.

The Stripped Project’s mission statement is “to provide a fair representation of real beauty in hopes of repairing the damage done by the skewed depictions of the human (especially female) form in traditional media.” And boy, did it repair some damage done to me! While scrolling through the pictures of all different “au naturale” body types, I came across one that struck me. “That…looks like my shape!”…”Those are MY hips!”…”And she looks BEAUTIFUL!”

Seeing that nude body that looks so similar to my shape, my curves…and seeing true BEAUTY in it…struck me to the core. I sat in stunned silence for what must have been 5 minutes. I had to go back and scroll through to that picture. I looked again. Beautiful. Tears welled up in my eyes. The feeling of mind altering/life changing ACCEPTANCE I felt for my body was overwhelming. Seeing what my disordered mind had blocked me from seeing, on another person, but a very similar form…was incredible.

I jokingly (but also very seriously) apologized to my hips and curves for despising them for so long. I apologized for hating the body that I’ve been given, and hating it for SO long. That night, I accepted my body. And it was the most freeing feeling I thing I’ve ever felt. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me and I had taken a deep breath of relief.

The Stripped Project has made such a difference in how I feel about, and how I now accept, my body. So, to Gaby Loisel, the creator of the project, I extend my overwhelming thanks and gratitude. You have helped to wake me up to my body’s beauty. And that’s something I’ve been seeking for so long. Thank you so much.

Now…to wrap up my post here, I am going to be doing my own revealing. Not “Stripped” per se, but it’s pretty damn revealing for me. I NEVER post pictures of my body. It’s always shoulders and up shots. Because I hated how my body looked. Now, I choose to show my curves and not hide them anymore. This (for me) is just as scary as putting up a nude shot! Because that bad body image voice is still screaming at me “You’re FAT! You look like a WHALE!” Now, though, I’ve learned to reference The Stripped Project whenever I hear that voice telling me that I’m not beautiful. Because looking there, I can see what beauty truly is. And it comes in so many forms. Including mine.

And as I said while signing off that night, after having my epiphany…”I wasn’t made for skinny jeans, but I look damn good in MY jeans!”


Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 16, 2010

The Stripped Project: Part II

Yesterday I introduced #TheStrippedProject and shared my response to it. I truly appreciate all the comments with initial reactions and thoughts to this project. I thought it would actually create a dialogue, with conflicting thoughts. I knew it was only MY response, and welcomed the dialogue. After all, sometimes these topics are challenging to talk about. I am learning a lot from people responses and am truly grateful for that!

In this Part II I wanted to share another response to this project. I have followed this woman on Twitter since I started ViR, and have been truly inspired by watching her fight for her recovery on a daily basis. She truly is a Recovery Warrior, and I am honored to have her share her words here, her first time as a guest blogger on ViR! Thank you hun.

Written By: @ThisisMessy

There has been no shortage of struggling though my eating disorder recovery process. Meal plan adjustments and clothing size adjustments. Tweaking perceptions, switching therapists, seeing specialists, slipping, tripping, stumbling… and righting myself to trying again. Discovering the value of positivity and choice. Battling the destructive self-depreciation that so dictated my life.

It was my third round of treatment before I fully understood the statement ‘Recovery Is Not Linear’. And damn, am I a prime example of that. The trajectory of separating myself from bulimia has looked a whole lot more like a toddler-squiggle-crayon drawing than a straight upward trending line.

A whole lot of the dips and back-loops along the way have been body image hang-ups. In the throes of the eating disorder, I would wake up at three o’clock in the morning to step on the scale and then scrutinize my thighs in the mirror, panicked i had somehow infinitely expanded during the night. In early recovery, I covered all the mirrors from the neck down, absolutely petrified to catch a glimpse of my changing body. There were days I blurred my outline with baggy sweatpants and heavy sweaters, embarassed to show my silhouette to the world.

I am now at a healthy weight. The mirrors are uncovered and the scale has long since been banished to the garbage dump. But body consciousness continues to crop up. With all the plastic-surgeried-airbrushed-thin-equals-glamorous societal bombardment, it’s not so surprising that the desire for the ‘prefect’ body is so pervasive. Which is why I so immediately, overwhelmingly appreciated The Stripped Project. The simplicity and unabashed realism of so many naked bodies is beautiful. There was not a single image with which I found fault or flaw; I was simply grateful and awestruck that each of these individuals contributed in such an intimate way to shattering societal beauty barriers. There is nothing ‘perfect’ about these unclothed images. But every one of these people was perfectly comfortable enough with their form to bear it publicly. And that self-acceptance is exuded from these images. It’s what makes them so gorgeous.

Through recovery, I have realized that it’s not the shape of my body that needs to change; it’s my attitude towards the shape of my body. One of The Striped Project portraits looked like me. Her shape mirrors my own. I spent time staring at this woman’s body. It is still difficult to objectively view my own reflection. I immediately jump to the flaws and must rein in the impulse to criticize my perceived imperfections. But examining her, I found no faults… nothing I would change. She’s curvy and sexy and unafraid to show the world. It struck me that if I am so readily able to wholly appreciate a body so similar to my own, I am capable of the same for myself.

I did not have to talk myself into liking this woman’s body. I did not immediately add fabricated pounds to her frame. I did not think she had a single anatomical feature to be embarrassed about. Her hips were not too big, her breasts not too small, her thighs not disgusting, her arms not flabby, her parts were not out of proportion. And yet, I have criticized my own body in all these ways. I am grateful for The Stripped Project. I have no barriers when it comes to accepting someone else’s naked form. The beauty of my own body also exists in my ability to uninhibitedly appreciate my undressed self. Starting with a Stripped viewing of myself in the full length mirror, forgetting the flaws and focusing on embracing exactly what I see.

(Source)

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 15, 2010

The Stripped Project: Part I

The Stripped Project

Mission Statement:

The Stripped Project exists to provide a fair representation of real beauty in hopes of repairing the damage done by the skewed depictions of the human (especially female) form in traditional media.

Note: This link has nudity, and if you do not like to see full body nudity, please do not click on link.

For everyone else, I want you to look at the link first, scroll all the way through the pictures and see how this website makes you feel, how you relate (or not) to the pictures. Note your initial responses. I want you to do this before reading my post, because when I posted this first on twitter I was amazed at other people’s responses to this because what they were saying was exactly like my own response. This week I will post two guest posts on how two of them responded and their feelings after seeing this project. I felt like I connected with the pictures, and with other people on their responses to this project.

I came upon this website and was blown away. I am constantly talking about body image, size acceptance, self acceptance, self-love, and the need to stop criticizing our bodies. I do recognize for me, this is a journey, every day is different, and while I always counter the voice saying negative things about how I look, I have never had a moment like I did when I saw this website. It was life altering. Here are a few of my immediate tweets showing a bit of my state of my mind:

  • ❤ Stripped project showing nude male & female bodies. Variety of sizes. Actually said “those r my thighs” in joy
  • I just loved how seeing those bodies in nude form made me accepting of my entire body. Like I am beautiful in whole.
  • I just felt like apologizing to my body!!! I really connected to it
  • This has really brought tears of joy to my eyes.
  • I just want to cry. I love this so much. I feel a lot of self-love and kindness after this.
  • Just stopped me in my tracks. Really overwhelmed me. In such a huge life altering way
  • I am so grateful for the experience of self-love, body acceptance & beauty life altering moment. Words can’t express how I feel right now

I saw within these photos, myself. I saw love and beauty. I saw diversity and bodies in natural forms, unedited, photoshopped, and in full glory. I know how much the ideal body types in the media affect people, and understand how photoshopping can drastically alter our perception of what bodies look like naturally, but I don’t think it was until this moment where I fully understood this issue. I don’t see nude bodies often, and don’t see many unaltered bodies either in such a stream of photos. I see magazines, TV, commercials, and know we need to fight the ideals and change the paradigm. Upon seeing this stream of photos, I felt connected to my body. I could see it in entirety, and see that I was beautiful. I didn’t see the parts of me that needed to be changed. I saw my thighs and immediately apologized to them for all the criticism over the years. I said I was sorry for all the self hate, the criticism of my body, and had a moment of peace. Honest PEACE. This is VERY similar to my response to the Exposed Movement which I absolutely LOVE as a movement for bringing this self love and acceptance to the forefront as well!!

This peace with my body has lasted through the week and weekend, even during a hard weekend of challenging situations! I was able to hold that feeling of body self-love. And have looked back to the website over and over in amazement at how beautiful bodies of all shapes, sizes truly are! It has empowered me and ViR’s mission to really fight the paradigm in our society. I think size acceptance is SO important. I watched the “What Would You Do” and it was on judgment of heavier people carrying certain foods in their grocery cart. While I knew they were actors, the mom and daughter, I was so upset at some of the fat hate and judgment on these actors. I was horrified and upset. I think fat hate, judgment on body types as being healthy or not based on weight alone needs to be stopped. It hurts everyone, especially the children who see this, internalize the messages, and carry these messages into their perception of self and self body image. It has to be changed. For this I am grateful for the wonderful FA advocates, and body image activists fighting these messages on a daily basis.

I have no problem with nudity, and think this portrayal in nude forms beautiful and empowering. I felt I finally could SEE myself outside of my internal voice and negative self talk I sometimes struggle with. I felt pure joy, with no need to even fight any voice, because there simply was no voice saying anything other than “love”. I didn’t for once have any thought of “I wish I looked like x, y or z.” I was happy with who I am, what I look like, and realized just how mean I had been over the years to my body. For me this website I am truly grateful for and would like to thank Gaby Loisel for creating #TheStrippedProject. I welcome you to join their Facebook page as well.

I want to see more representations of bodies, unaltered, unedited, because I think it is important to see what natural bodies look like. They do NOT look like what people look like in magazines. I can’t express how life altering this project was for me when I first saw it. It brought me to a full stop. I think the more natural bodies I see, the more I can self accept what I look like. I know people may say “you shouldn’t base your self perceptions on what others look like!” But that isn’t my point here. My point was, when I stared at the photos, I saw acceptance, and NOT comparison. I felt centered and beautiful with who I was because I felt those people were beautiful and brave, and I too looked a lot like many of those people, and finally could step outside of my self perception and see it from the outside.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be posting two more responses on this project. Look forward to a lot of body loving this week!

How about you – what was your first reaction to seeing this project? What feelings did you have?

Source

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 11, 2010

Watch Me Walk

I was listening to Keri Noble’s CD and loved this song called Watch Me Walk. I know the song is probably written for a partner/loved one, however I feel if you replace that with ED, it is really inspirational about walking away, choosing NOT to let ED lie to you, steal your light, and that life is too short. I wanted to share for some motivation and inspiration. Hope you enjoy!

I think I’m gunna do this my way
I won’t ask you
Not gunna wait until you give the ok
I’m alright with consequences
Better than these fences
Straddling the great unknown
& Playing it safe

I won’t behave
I won’t sit down
Not gunna stick around to listen as you make your case
Stealing my light,
Feeding me lies
Now your gunna watch me walk

This is the part where I start taking over
Why should I let you decide
Life is too short
You bleed & its over
So now you’re gunna watch me walk out of your life

I think I’ll take a vacation
Don’t need a destination
Anywhere is fine
As long as there’s an absence of you
I wont hang around, waiting till you suffocate me
Because it’s the only thing that you know how to do

I won’t behave
I won’t sit down
Not gunna stick around to listen as you make your case
Stealing my light,
Feeding me lies
Now your gunna watch me walk

This is the part where I start taking over
Why should I let you decide
Life is too short
You bleed & its over
So now you’re gunna watch me walk out of your life

I won’t behave
I won’t sit down
Not gunna stick around to listen as you make your case
Stealing my light,
Feeding me lies
Now your gunna watch me walk

This is the part where I start taking over
Why should I let you decide
Life is too short
you bleed & its over
So now you’re gunna watch me walk out of your life
Out of your life

Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | November 8, 2010

Women Being Picked Apart to Pieces

Dismemberment definition: is the act of cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs of a living thing.

I subscribe to Wired because I like geeky tech stories, car innovations, multi media and software reviews, and stupid humor. I have had issues with parts of the magazine, the articles, however I recognize there is no existent magazine that is consistent in mission, tone, opinions, articles, etc. It is produced for it to sell. However as a women, who loves science and multi-media magazines, I am being brought aware that I am not their target market, and that is disappointing. Why are these magazines prominently marketed to men? Seems to feed the myth and stereotype in society that men like science, and women like fashion. Where are magazines that do not play into the gender binary roles?

Having said that – I want to discuss how this magazine could be related to body image, self-esteem, negative self talk, objectification and sexualization.

Here is a picture of the cover:


What I find unfortunate is that the magazine article talks about regenerative medicine, and is interesting for reconstruction and health in other areas, but I lost the ability to read it without a guarded eye. It simply did NOT have to have this cover.

Shelby Knox writes (Source):

If you’re a tech mag running a serious, scientific piece on tissue regeneration as it pertains to breast cancer survivors, what’s the tackiest, most sexualizing, undermining-of-the-science thing you could do? Wired magazine knows!! Put two shapely breasts on your cover — sans the owner’s head because who cares about her face or brain when you’ve got BOOBS?! — right next to the words ’100% Natural.’ Classy.

There was a follow-up by Wired with this pic:


To which the I was shocked. I found the cover distasteful. I couldn’t understand why these women wanted to do this. Even after reading about their response to the criticism, I still didn’t understand.

Does looking at these pictures of body parts picked apart create an environment where the risk is girls/women self tearing themselves apart with comments such as “I hate my thighs,” “I wish my stomach was flatter,” “I wish my boobs were bigger”??? Does looking at these pictures picking us to pieces lead to more plastic surgery of body parts? Honestly I don’t see how they can’t (Number of girls who got breast implants skyrocketed from 4,000 in 2002 to 11,000 in 2003. I recognize breast enhancement isn’t the only reason for these surgeries, I still have to question if there is something to look into with regards to these numbers). I am NOT saying the media causes anything. I believe in correlation, contributing factors, risk factors. I worry about the kids growing up now, seeing these pictures in the supermarket, even if for a few seconds. Is this sending the message that we are merely body parts that should be picked apart, separated from our whole body, and viewed in an objectified and sexualized nature? For all those people who said about the GQ magazine “well it’s parents responsibility and they shouldn’t have a GQ in their hands” I would like to say this – PARENTS are not to be blamed for a magazine being on a shelf, in a store, where the possibility exists for them to see it (even if only for 2 seconds). Our subconscious over time takes in the messages in society. We cannot say the environment and culture does not affect us in some way – we do not live in a vat.

This Wired Magazine cover is unacceptable to be in any store, without a black film cover, and I realize that is just my opinion, but I am appalled at the idea that ad campaigns continue to pick out our body parts as a selling tool. This Wired magazine cover actually made me feel more enraged than car magazines. At least they show the whole women. This picking apart of body parts is so prevalent in our society, we talk about our body parts, we are sold products for our body parts, but we are more than a single part. Studies being shared at numerous conferences (the most recent being the SPARK Summit), in research papers, thesis papers, are sharing how imagery can lead to negative self-esteem, create a sensitivity to the ideals in society, and contribute to negative body image.

Some of the Tweets from the #SPARKSummit:

  • Girls believe that self-improvement means changing their bodies, not expanding their minds”
  • I don’t want the media telling me I am just a body. I am a whole person” (student at the Summit said this)
  • Women’s bodies are not marketing tools” (15-year-old student at the Summit)
  • Sexy is not a body part for marketers to sell – it is a feeling”

The Dismemberment of Women in the Media

Girls and women are conditioned from a young age to view the body as a “work in progress” or something in constant need of alteration. Instead of being satisfied with their body as a whole, they concentrate on what separate entities they lack. Many women compare their bodies and sexuality to the eroticized images that are plastered on billboards and television and in magazines and movies (Kilbourne, 2002).

The dismemberment of women, in addition to the objectification of women, have serious repercussions including, but not limited to, body shame, appearance anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders. The impossible ideal of female beauty saturates our American culture, and reparations are nothing short of dire necessity. Thus, the ambitious goal of this study is to suggest that the dismemberment of women in the media produces negative effects comparable to the negative effects of objectification. In other words, dismemberment is as equally damaging as objectification. Kacey D. Greening (Source)

This is a global issue and one we need to discuss. These messages are being portrayed in all media, in many ad campaigns, and covers of magazines our children can see. We need to be media literate, and discuss these concerns with our pre-teens. Ask them – how does this make you feel? What messages do you think it is saying?

In conclusion I want to FIGHT these messages that we are mere body parts!

  • We are whole people, with a body, mind and spirit
  • Our body parts are not for sale – and if you do then I would like a portion of the proceeds from the cars, plastic surgery you are selling
  • We have faces and names; as well as talents, strengths, weaknesses, achievements and all of which have nothing to do with what we look like
  • I refuse to not call out ads on this
  • We need to continue to inspire, empower, and give girls (and boys) the ability to challenge what is seen in the media, and fuel their self-esteem, show them their abilities, and discuss such things as self talk, body image, self acceptance, size acceptance, HAES, and more!
  • Explore what you can do to create and change the conversation with media literacy, advocacy and action; if you are tired of seeing this over and over in society, find a way to take action, reach out to organizations, look into workshops, conferences, education, etc.
  • Follow the activists, Actionists, and people creating a revolution about challenging these messages – On Twitter start with the hashtags #SPARKchange and #SPARKSummit for many wonderful people to follow and get inspired by
  • We need to empower people to recognize they have a voice, they have the ability to be their greatest advocate for change

What about you? Does this enrage you at all? Do you know of magazines that foster intelligence, positive self esteem, self acceptance, body image?


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