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About

About

Welcome to This is Beauty, a new campaign that brings to life one of The Body Positive’s most fundamental messages: beauty is not a single image, but the active embodiment and celebration of the self. Through videos, photographs, poems, and stories, our gallery invites individuals to participate in the radical reimagining of what beauty is, where it can be found, and how each of us can welcome it into our lives.

I celebrate

by BJ Henry

I celebrate this day of freedom from things that no longer serve me.

With an open and tender heart toward myself I declare…

My Beauty…

IS in my yoga practice when I close my eyes
and connect with my beautiful and mysterious breath
while moving through Surya Namaskar

IS my curvy hips and small waist I inherited from
my birth mother
I love that wearing them permanently
connects me to her
since we missed out on so much together

IS my smile that is reflected back to me through
the eyes and smiles of others

IS in my competitive nature where I can now listen to
my own internal tempo and practice victoriously
not comparing myself to others

IS the evidence of aging that is on my body which
tenderly holds the half of a century old story of my journey

IS that my highest self is self forgiving and self loving

IS my highly sensitive nature that allows me to be
deeply grateful to my team of professionals, family
and friends who have been helping me heal from
an eating disorder

IS the joy in my heart when my oldest son walks
through the door visiting from college
and our family is whole again!

 

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You Don’t Know Me

by Jackelyn Avendano

Everyday we are judged by the way we look
Whether we’re brown, fat, tall, or white and skinny
No one aware of anyone but still we all blindly judge
All of us capable of making another’s eyes water or of setting them on fire

With that look, that stare or slight glance…
We work like venom, burning each other slowly till we fall
Without realizing that we all feel the same way
You are looking at me and are hearing me but you don’t know me

I come from a family of workers, warriors, and dreamers
A great grandmother who raised thirteen children,
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,
Twelve months a year for fifty years…
And her old Man that worked sixteen hours each day for their survival

I come from a family that did not give up when adversity reached its potential
From, uncles and aunties that gave up school to work and be able to feed their little brothers and sisters
From, two parents that kept moving forward because they believed it was possible
My family, the one that fought for what they believed in: Life, Opportunity,and Justice
Whether it meant there was food on the table or not

I am like my grandmother who taught herself how to read and write,
Intelligent
Who gave bread and beans to others even though she was in poor standing,
Selfless
Who saw her babies leave her side one by one every cold winter
Strong

She used to tell me “Dios esta contigo”, God is with you
And I believed her because she was the strongest woman I had the chance to meet
My grandmother, she believed in me and now I have courage
Enough to tell you who I really am

I inherited the big hands and wide backs from my family members that fought in the war
The big body that worked and ached all day
I inherited the mind and heart of my grandmother, the strength and
perseverance that kept her going

You do not know this by looking at me because all you could see are the flaws
I am more than just a girl, vulnerable and ignorant
More than just a joke u can laugh at
I am a Mexican young girl that is a Dreamer
Diligent, Charismatic, and willing
I am powerful because of my story
I am powerful because I am me

 

 

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Beauty is…

by Collin Morrow

In my stretch marks.

In my 8 cavities.

Slowly processed, and grown out from the top of my head.

Is what I eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

In a crooked smile.

In the first heartbeat.

My mother.

Found in everyone/everything.

Squeezed from a paint tube and then strategically placed on a canvas.

In a Yahtzee.

In live music.

A companion.

A translation of you, and me.

What makes this God forsaken place so wonderful.

Nature.

Beauty is Collin Morrow.

 

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Inspiration

by Elizabeth Scott

The idea for this campaign came out of a session I had with a new client who cried when I told her it was possible to be free of her body hatred and eating disorder. She told me she had never heard that this was true, even after spending half of her life fighting an eating disorder–including time in two residential treatment centers! I was shocked to hear this. How was it possible to face life everyday without knowing there was even a path to freedom? I told her I knew a lot of people who had suffered terribly with body hatred and eating problems and were now completely free. I told her about The Body Positive and all the things we teach to help people love and treasure their bodies. I told her I would find a way to introduce her to people who were brave and skilled at connecting to their own beauty and worthiness. I wanted to show her what I had discovered, that it was possible for everyone to fully inhabit their own bodies, trust their hungers and desires, and experience beauty as the authentic, openhearted, and vulnerable expression of their lives.

After that session I became preoccupied with all the girls in treatment centers, all the women suffering alone, all of the boys and men ashamed to share the struggles they had with their bodies. I worried about the children and teens who don’t understand that standards of beauty are an invention of culture, and that if the beauty standard presented makes them feel fragmented and crazy–they can change it! I realized that what was missing in all of my focus on the problem of eating disorders was an alternative vision. What was needed was a community of people who were well, and free from the obsession with blaming their bodies for all their troubles. That was when I started thinking about interviewing everyone I knew who was alive and well, and caring for themselves with love and respect. I wanted to collect their stories on video and in writing to share with my clients, and with every isolated person in the world who needs a positive invitation to be free.

 

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This is Beauty

by Martha Krausz

I am strong, poetic, brilliant and beautiful. And I have lived most of my life in fear and self-criticism. When I was eleven years old, I froze in horror as I silently decided I was not loveable. I was tortured by the fact that I could not be more like my twin, who seemed to glide through life with ease, and effortless beauty. My feeling of being out of place and inherently not good enough grew unbearable, and I turned to what seemed to be the only option left me. I declared to myself that if I were to be chosen and cared for, I would have to change myself. And so, I began to starve myself.

It is hard to understand why, for so many, the next step after self loathing is cutting off our life source; rejecting what our mother, and our mother earth provides us. I know that it was not something I thought through, but a force that took me so violently that I felt I had no choice in the matter. Thanks to my incredible mother and a team of women including co-founder of The Body Positive, Elizabeth Scott, I did not let anorexia steal more than two years of my life, and am grateful for my quick recovery from something that has taken many people’s lives and consumed years of those who survive.

I am not one to give total credit to luck or some guiding pre-destined fate. But this summer I bow to it in humble gratitude after a chance coincidence returned me to The Body Positive community and to a chapter in my own story that needed telling. As I help Connie and Elizabeth promote and give new language to their mission, I simultaneously find my own voice, and am awakening to the disordered ways I have measured my self-worth, even after my eating disorder had been “cured.“ I see now – more clearly than ever – that the real problem began before the disease and physical recovery has allowed me for too long to live with the same toxic beliefs and illusions from which eating disorders are born.

Now, I could tell you my struggle was because of the harmful media imposing unrealistic aesthetic ideals on my young mind, or because my father was not around. But, we have therapists for that conversation. The type of beauty and empowerment that This is Beauty celebrates is fundamental, but so completely alien from everything we are told by the outer world that I find myself frustrated that there is not a separate word for it. It is the beauty of being alive. We are not talking about aesthetics, but about a belief system, a new way of viewing and walking through life that can liberate us; release us from prisons that have held us captive in the past while connecting us to what is much larger than the self. It is not something we need to work to cultivate but something that we can discover by opening our eyes to the miracle that is our existence, and the perfection that is in the diversity and individuality it allows. This is Beauty gives a voice to the possibility of unconditional self-love that comes from remembering why we are here: that life is something to be celebrated and that engaging in the present moment, embracing and expressing our unique selves is part of that.

 

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My beauty

by Theresa Guy

My beauty is…Strong.
It allows me to walk, run, and dance to the beat of my heart.
To cherish every step I take.

My beauty is…Quiet.
It allows me to hear the sounds of Earth’s nature and movement.
The calmness and serenity of all things natural.

My beauty is…Fierce.
It allows me to get up when I stumble and fall.
To help me rise again.

My beauty is… Tasteful.
It allows me to experience a world of textures and aroma.
To always look forward to each bite.

My beauty is… Tactile.
It allows me to feel textures of all varieties and sizes.
To hold a piece of Earth’s life in my hands.

My beauty is…Love.
It allows me to feel the good and the bad.
The everything between.

My beauty is…Spiritual.
It allows me to connect to this Earth and the heavens above.
To be part of something bigger.

My beauty is…Connecting.
It allows me to reach out when I need it and to grasp when others are in need.
To have the bond of friendship.

My beauty is…My smile.
It allows me to show the happiness and joy from within.
The power to brighten someone’s day.

My beauty is…My tears.
It allows me to release what I can not always speak or write.
To validate each feeling.

My beauty is…My soul.
It allows me look deep within and love who I am.
To understand myself.

My beauty is…My body.
It allows me to be uniquely me and enjoy every movement.
The imperfection of my flaws, always celebrated.

My beauty is…Always present.
It is what allows me to experience life.
A life that is beautiful in every challenging and mysterious way.

Beauty…It is me.

 

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Safe

by Sarah Wolf

My stomach is beautiful—
Soft, round, it cushions me as I lie in bed writing.
My arms are beautiful—
Tan and lightly freckled, they carry me up the ladder to the roof.
My feet are beautiful—
flat, lacking arches, they pound I am worthy into the ground as I depart from negativity.
My eyes are beautiful—
slightly different sizes, they show me city lights and dark hills and plants in crevices. In the mornings, stripped naked of contacts, they tell of light blurs from the window, guiding me as I tightrope back from dreams.
These parts of me, sewn together,
are letters in my mantra:
safe.
Safe I am from personal judgment.
I am powerful and whole.

 

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This is Beauty opposes the messages about beauty we are offered, such as the belief that there is a finite amount of beauty in the world, that beauty is only for the very young, slender, and sculpted bodies found on magazine covers, or that beauty is something bestowed upon us by an “expert.”

Inhabiting our own beauty gives us a generous confidence that allows us to rest in knowing that we are fundamentally okay. From this place we can see the beauty in others without the distraction of competitive comparisons. Expressing our beauty doesn’t make us conceited and separate from others. Instead, this creative experience of beauty allows us to connect to others on a more intimate level.

In the process of viewing and listening to the varied stories of beauty represented by the people in the art pieces, we hope that everyone will have the opportunity to think, “What is my own beauty?” By opening up this vision of possibility we can become free from the paralysis caused by body hatred, and can take the necessary steps to live fully, resist destructive messages from the world, and pursue attuned self-care independent of socially defined ideas about beauty, health, and identity.

A dynamic presentation of diverse declarations of beauty, This is Beauty is not only a home for empowering self-expression, but a source of inspiration and support for those on their journey towards a life of self-love and self-celebration.

Participate

If you are interested in participating in This is Beauty, please email us at thisisbeautyinfo@gmail.com.

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