“Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out…”
Brave by Sara Bareilles has become much more meaningful for me than just another song I can jam to in the car. A few months ago, Dr. Laura brought this song to my attention and noted how relevant it was to REbeL; ever since it has certainly struck a chord with me!
On the night of the oh-so-famous “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” REbeL members were encouraged to post a positive message to counter the multitude of body bashing messages that typically take over social media during that event. So that night I went to Facebook and here’s what I said:
I was hopeful this would be enough to make someone smile or even change their mind about watching the show altogether–and from the feedback I received on my status, I think it did. As you can see, I received a many likes and comments connected to the post. But it’s amazing how one negative comment managed to affect me more than all of those positives . . . a close friend of mine brought to my attention a fellow peer’s tweet. This tweet said “Hate when people say s*** like this,” and tweeted my status with my name on it as a picture.
I immediately went to Dr. Laura and my friends in REbeL as I was just hurt by the fact that someone felt the need to do that when it was a risk for me to speak out against “every guy’s favorite night of TV.” But since then I’ve gotten over the negativity and focused much more on all the people my activism might be helping.
I’ve done a lot of “being brave” lately. Through REbeL, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of doing a baggage presentation to middle schoolers and showed them the negative aspects of media, appearance, diets, and food, but also how they can turn those things into positives. And if anyone knows middle schoolers, it’s not an easy task, but I love it!
Being in REbeL has given me so many opportunities to become a leader, a peer educator, and hopefully a much more positive person all around. I’m often called a “saint” for being in REbeL, which could be worse (I appreciate not being considered a devil!), but also puts on a lot of pressure to be the “perfect person” 24/7, which is ironic because that is the opposite of our message! The whole point of this post is to show that joining the REbeLution, whether being a peer educator, volunteer or just a supporter (all great things to be) takes a lot of courage. But speaking with my two years of experience as a REbeL member, it’s been a risk worth taking.
I encourage whoever may be reading this to compliment themselves right now. Hang body-positive quotes or messages on your mirror. “Post positive” on social media. Join in on #whiteboardwednesday. And finally as Ms. Barallies so boldly states in her song:
“…I wanna see you be brave.”
Join the REbeLution. Be brave.
Guest post by: Lily Bredemeier; REbeL member and Junior at Blue Valley Northwest High School
He called me beautiful. Across the table. At dinner. Two boys in between us. One in his arms. Boy one talking about his plans for show and tell. Boy two talking in harmony with boy one, adding notes about his food. Boy three adding his own chitter to the existing melody.
“You’re beautiful,” he said.
I filed quickly through my automatic self-deprecating responses, the ones I stocked in my arsenal starting around age 11, and landed on an audible, “tskhumpf”. Accompanied by an eye roll and smirk.
Third day unwashed hair. Spit-up laden nursing tank paired with crumpled pajama pants. The same ensemble I’d been wearing since sunrise. Bare face. And exhaustion subtly beginning to set in from a day of living motherhood.
Yeah. Beautiful. I thought.
I revisited the moment. Hours later as the dark of the night played backdrop to my thoughts. The sound machine’s crashing waves swishing about in the room. As I nursed a snuggling baby.
There is something beautiful about it all, isn’t there? About us. About this. About me. I thought.
He wasn’t calling me beautiful… In the what-I-believe-to-be-becoming-antiquated sense of the word that conjures up images of glamour and effort and false flawlessness. The word beautiful that is so commonly assigned to the chosen celebrities and the like, to describe some false idea of perfect. At least I don’t think that’s what he saw when he looked across the table.
Perhaps, for an instant, he saw the girl he knew in college. Or the woman who walked toward him, down the aisle. Or the woman who held his first child. But more than likely, knowing him, I think he saw just the woman he was staring at in the moment.
He was calling me beautiful… In the way that he has always seen me. But also for that which I have become. A person of my own. But also. Now. His wife. And a mom.
And I realized in those wee small hours of darkness that I might feel more beautiful than I ever have before. A year ago I had uttered those very words to my girlfriends… I think we are all more beautiful than we’ve ever been. As I looked around at the women, some of whom I’ve known for over a decade, I felt overwhelmed by the women they’ve become. By the beauty they exude. And just like I’d done, they pushed off the notion. Because we’re not supposed to say that… Because it’s over-confident, and conceited. Or because we feel that calling one person beautiful is defining what beauty means. But since I left my twenties and figured out how to be the person who inhabits this body I wear, I can say with a bit of assuredness that I am now beautiful. Not because he sees the beauty in me. But because I have found the beauty inside myself. Beauty that I must have forgotten for a second in the moment of the greasy hair, bare face, dinner table exchange. When I instead offered an automated, expected response of, tskhumpf.
Because there is beauty in the very regular. And in the every day. And in the norm. We see it in our children. And in the moments they give us. So why shouldn’t we acknowledge it in our moments. In ourselves. For them to see.
I am content. I’ve found my own personal joy. I feel that I am me. And that. Well. I believe that is beautiful.
He called me beautiful. And I agree.
Written by Ashli Eickman Brehm. BEliever in the REbeLution.
(Originally posted on Baby on the Brehm.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2014
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
REbeL PEER EDUCATION TO HOST BE YOU BASH ON MARCH 1
Fundraiser to be held at the Dubliner, Hosted by Trent and Julie Green
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – REbeL, a student-driven peer education and prevention program designed to address disordered eating and body image concerns, will host their first Be You Bash, an evening for food, fun, and celebrating individuality on March 1. The event will be held at the Dubliner and hosted by Trent and Julie Green. Trent is a two-time NFL Pro Bowl quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, and his wife, Julie, is a dedicated philanthropist.
“The Be You Bash is going to be an incredible evening – for both attendees and for the organization – and we couldn’t be more excited to invite the Kansas City community to come out and enjoy a great evening while learning more about REbeL and providing critical support for our mission,” explains Laura Eickman, founder of REbeL. “We’ve grown quickly over the past 6 years, and this event is just another example of how we are engaging the greater Kansas City community to garner support to continue our fight to change the definition of beauty and health for every body. We’re so grateful for the continued support we’ve received from across the metro and to Trent and Julie Green for making this evening possible.”
The event, which is being sponsored by Aristocrat Motors, will be held in the Power and Light District at The Dubliner, 170 E 14th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106, from 6 – 10 pm. Tickets range in price from $50-$85 and will be available online for purchase through February 27, and also available at the door the day of the event. The Be You Bash will feature heavy appetizers, cocktails and an evening of entertainment, including DJ JT Quick, Allen Voss Quartet, Keith Leff of Magicreations, a photobooth from Theatre of the Imagination, and a silent auction, with all proceeds benefitting REbeL.
REbeL has been an active part of the Kansas City community, focusing on educating, training and empowering youth, since 2008. The program first educates members on eating disorders and body image issues, emphasizing the importance of health and encouraging students to be introspective – evaluating their own thoughts and feelings about their appearance. Students are then educated on topics including the prevalence of eating and body image issues, the inefficacy of diets, the impact of negative self-talk and media literacy. After continuous training and education over the course of a year, students become the educators and initiators, creating a dissonance-based leadership style and encouraging students to develop their own solutions to problems. Since REbeL was founded in 2008, more than a dozen students who have participated in the program in high school have chosen to pursue degrees and careers aimed at the prevention of eating and body image concerns. The Be You Bash will be an opportunity for the organization to raise critical funds to continue to support programs in Kansas City area schools.
To purchase tickets to the Be You Bash or to learn more about the event, visit http://re-bel.org/beyoubash or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
REbeL is a peer education program, founded in 2008 by Laura Eickman, Psy.D., that aims to change the definition of beauty and health for individuals of all ages. REbeL was originally piloted as a student group at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kan., to promote an environment that would build self-esteem and confidence among youth, while combatting disordered eating and body image issues that have become increasingly prevalent among young men and women. The organization has since grown into a not-for-profit, launching additional chapters in Kansas area high schools and recently extending their reach to middle schools, recognizing that combatting body image issues begins at a young age. In addition to peer education, the organization also hosts the annual Walk to REbeL, along with numerous community events including parent education workshops and classroom presentations. To learn more about REbeL, visit www.re-bel.org or contact REbeL at email@example.com or 913-814-9209.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS:
Ambitious, compassionate, and friendly
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH REBEL?
A few students approached me and asked if I wanted to be a sponsor. They told me more about the group, and I quickly realized how much I wanted to be a part of it. I always struggled with body image in my teenage years, so I think it’s awesome that REbeL is here to spread awareness of body image issues.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE REBEL ACTIVITY OR EVENT?
There are too many to list! The walk is always a fun event, but I actually enjoy our weekly meetings more than anything. These meetings are where I really get to know the students and listen to them discuss the issues they are facing and how we can better spread REbeL’s message.
HOW IS REBEL IMPLEMENTING CHANGE?
REbeL is changing the atmosphere of BVNW into a more positive place in my opinion. I believe that Northwest is full of great students, and I am hopeful that REbeL is helping each and every one of them see how wonderful they are.
WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTY-FULL?
I am beauty-full because of my optimistic outlook in life and my ultimate belief that there is good in everyone.
I LOVE THAT I CAN BE: a role model for the people around me.
MY HOPE FOR THE TEENS WE WORK WITH IS THAT THEY CAN BE: An example of how to love yourself for who you are instead of what you look like .
AS I HAVE GROWN OLDER, I HAVE LEARNED TO BE: More confident in who I am as an individual.
I THINK OUR WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE IF WE COULD ALL BE: More accepting of ourselves and others just as we are.