Saturday, April 14, 2012

This Is MY Body

Due to the nature of our society, body image issues effect ALL of our lives. No matter what colour, race, gender or age.  We do everything we can to mask our perceived flaws, change our original appearance and avoid ageing. I wonder what the effects would be if we put half of this effort into acceptance. Accepting who we are and what we look like today. We can change our bodies through proper diet and exercise if we want to but we can also just be comfortable in our own skin and enjoy our lives.

In my quest to evolve and learn I came across a slowly growing online movement called "This is my body project". It literally moved me. The bravery of the people who post to this site and facebook page is truly inspirational (to say the least). To see people of all shapes and sizes, genders and ages bear all in a natural unairbrushed state (in photograph and in print) is amazing to me and their first step to acceptance and healing. Take a few moments to look at the images and stories. We are all VERY quick to judge others when really we should celebrate each others differences and work on ourselves.

This project was started by a very wise then 17 year old who had been bullied and hurt by people telling her she was ugly, fat and not good enough.  She explains her position in this video clip  
 I had a chance to ask her a few questions about her project and mission of acceptance recently 

 LISA: What inspired you to start this "project"? 

 KAILEI: The project kind of started accidentally.. I've been a model since I was around 15 years old and at the age of 17 I started to receive anonymous hate mail messages on a website called formspring. People whose identities I didn't know were messaging me calling me fat and too ugly to model, telling me I needed to start a diet, saying that the body I was showing off wasn't my own and was photoshopped to look the way it does in photographs. I'm not the type of person to retaliate to cyber bullies... so I decided to use my artwork to do the talking for me. That's when I took the first ever This is My Body photo. I posted it to show off the way my stomach really looked to all of the bullies who told me I was fake or wasn't good enough. What could they possibly say about me not being good enough if I was chubby, showed off my tummy and was still able to model? After that the photo got a major response, people started telling me they wanted to take photos similar to mine and the entire project jump started from there! 

 LISA: What do you think is the biggest negative influence on women's and/or men's body image? 

 KAILEI: The mass media holds a huge role in how we as a society view ourselves. We're shown approximately 3,000 advertisements a day. Do any of those advertisements feature an average sized man/woman? They all show us false images of what we're supposed to look like, men with huge muscles and bulgy bodyscapes and women sizes 0 and under. After all of that constant exposure it starts to rub off on us. We live in a world where thin is in and that's the only acceptable body type. 

 LISA: What do you hope to accomplish? 

 KAILEI: Well as I stated before thin is the only acceptable body type in our society. I'm hoping to change that perception. I want society to start believing that all healthy body types are beautiful, to the thinner side or the heavier side. I want communities to begin to come together, we don't see enough people using the Internet as a tool to appreciate each other and to make friends. Now it's more about shielding ourselves behind a screen and being what we want to be instead of being who we really are and being happy with that.  

LISA: How can my readers participate? 

KAILEI: The directions on how to submit and what we're looking for are posted on our facebook page
here And the form to submit can be sent via e-mail or through our website HERE

Of course I was compelled to participate as I accept myself and love who I am. I am perfectly imperfect, full of flaws, many of which I have earned. I have 2 beautiful babies and the stretch marks I wear has a badge of honor. My laugh lines came from amazing experiences and my frown lines too. 

Of course no one has a perfect self image but we can all get on the road to acceptance and action if there are things we would like to change to get closer to our 'authentic self'.  As we all heal we all must take accountability for how we look AND feel. For me, I am currently transitioning my diet and lifestyle.  I have been vegetarian for 5 years but now am transitioning to a plant strong diet.  Plant strong is a diet of natural, whole foods. NO animal products or processed "food". I have a very limited alcohol consumption. No smoking or ANY drugs (prescription or otherwise) and I exercise 3-5 times a week. I love to LaBlast (DANCE) and Get outside to walk the beach or hike with my family.  I am doing this for my health and longevity. The welcomed side effect is weight loss and fitness. I'm doing this for myself and my family not for society. I am on the ME program.

This is an amazing affirmation to print out and put on every mirror in your home, carry with you or say to yourself at least once a day when you need too: "I ACCEPT MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY RIGHT NOW" (Louise Hay)

Do you want to get a step toward acceptance? Be BOLD: Share your image and story with the "It's My Body Project" today!

My brand EVOLUTION VINTAGE strives to include everyone regardless of shape, size, age or budget in a Fashion Revolution. To Re-Style Fashion's past current, inspiring women to think outside the confines of trend and the herd mentality and Dress in what they LIKE and are naturally drawn too. Don't limit yourself to what is available in chain stores but listen to your inner style voice and explore the UNIQUE.  LIKE us on Facebook

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