I wish you could look into the mirror and see beyond your face, way past the surface to see more. More than what the world sees, more than what your friends see, more than I or even you can see. That is what you are. You are more than any label or stereotype, bigger than any first glance or expectation. You are more.
You are more than all that frustration spent on trying to live up to some ridiculous, unobtainable ideal. You are not your age, not your weight, not your eye color, hair color, skin color. You are much, much more.
You are more than your schedules & routines, habits, and compulsions. More than the chores & homework, more than the job and the role you play. You are everything beyond the impossible projects and all the conflicts you have.
You are more than all of your exceptional high points, more than all of the things that you never want anyone to know about. Anything that you feel ashamed about — you are more than that, more than those secrets you keep bottled up because you think you’d be bothering others if you shared them. You are more than any shortcomings you think you see on the outside, more than any kind of judgment you hastily cast on yourself attempting to be “enough.”
You are more than your place in your family, more than the position in your social circle you happen to fill.
You are more than angry outbursts, more than confusion about the future regarding yourself and the world. You are so much more than all of your nighttime unvoiced fears, more than the sudden tears, the sweeping highs, and rocky lows. More than all the roads you have to walk in between.
You are who you are, and you will always discover new layers, new mores. You are possibility, hope, and ability. You are destiny before it happens, a bird’s first flight before it plummets from the nest for the very first time. You are potential, and you can truly be anything you really want. You can do anything you truly want. You can accomplish things greater than you know. But you have to want to be more.
Because you are also worth more than selling yourself short, more than worrying how you’ll go about doing any one thing. By being who you are, you are already beautiful and special. You are more than beautiful and special.
Have faith. Forget the mirror. Forget what everything around you tells you to be. Be who you are.
REbeL had an incredible 2016 and we wanted to highlight our year for our generous donors in an effort to showcase the terrific outcomes that are generated through REbeL’s curriculum. REbeL truly is made up of a wonderful group of educated, determined students who are committed to redefining beauty for every body. Thank you for your contributions, which help REbeL continue to grow & spread this positive message to so many teens!
My tummy is so happy right now. Actually, my whole body is happy right now. Why? Because I JUST HAD ONE OF THE BEST DOUGHNUTS OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I LOVE DOUGHNUTS, AND I LOVE NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY! (Seriously people, I have been looking forward to this day so much that I had a dream about doughnuts last night.) Except. . . shouldn’t I add a “but” statement to the end of that phrase? That’s what we do in our society, right? I should say, “I LOVE DOUGHNUTS, BUT I’ll have to make up for it in my workout later.” Or shouldn’t all of my food choices prior to and after consuming this doughnut be an intentional compensation for my “transgression?” Or shouldn’t I insert a sneaky face emoji that announces to everyone that I don’t usually allow foods like this into my diet?
Society plays the “good” and “bad” cards a lot, doesn’t it? The good foods are kale (Does anyone actually like kale? I mean, seriously?), fruit, vegetables, nuts, blah, blah, blah. And the bad foods — the ones that we should never eat (unless of course it’s a “cheat day”) — are fast food, fried food, anything that comes out of a box, and now really all foods that contain dairy, gluten, or sugar. Society teaches us that we should ride the “diet train” with a big ol’ smile on our faces and that if a “bad food” sneaks in, we have to qualify it in some way or explain ourselves, either outwardly or in our own heads. We blame our diet slumps on lack of self-control. But why aren’t we blaming the diets themselves or the food rules that bulldoze their way into our conversations and onto our social media feeds? The ones that tear us further and further from trusting our bodies and having a truly healthy and peaceful relationship with food. Every single day, so many of us keep this mental checklist of good and bad foods. The more good foods, the better. Those days we were “good.” Pat on the back, self! And, well, let’s just pretend the days with more bad foods or sometimes any bad foods didn’t happen and start over tomorrow with a clean slate.
Except, my dear friends, this checklist is arbitrary. It’s make-believe. It’s a manifestation of our need for control, to achieve a fundamentally flawed definition of health, or to squeeze into a beauty mold that too is arbitrary, and sometimes all of the above. The truth is that there are no good or bad foods. Well, let me clarify — foods that have fallen on the floor or that are moldy or otherwise poisonous to our bodies? Those are bad. Our bodies need ALL foods. It turns out that those cravings for a salad or sugar or a burger are really a proclamation of what our body is pining for at that moment. Our body is talking to us (How cool is that?!), and how dare we not listen! Shame shouldn’t have a seat at the table in feeding our bodies. Food is food. Think of your body like it’s a car. You “fuel” your car with gasoline because it needs it to run, to take you all the places you need to go. Our bodies (though seriously way more impressive than a car) work are the same way. Food is fuel. While foods vary in terms of nutrient density, this moral hierarchy of foods that we have created results in way more harm than it does good. So go eat that crisp spinach salad, or that mouth-watering burger, or that beautiful bowl of fruit, or that delectable doughnut. (Did I mention that I love donuts?) Because your body needs all of these things! The key is checking in with your body. What is it needing at this moment?
And you know what? It’s okay to have a doughnut any other day of the year too! A day set aside just for doughnuts is just one aspect of our culture surrounding food that is FUN. And further, it’s okay to love food.No, really! It’s woven into various aspects of our lives and our culture, it sustains us and allows us to thrive, and gosh darn-it, eating is a pleasurable experience.
Not too long ago, I let go of food rules, threw out my checklist, and stopped ignoring my body. And here I am, reporting back from the “other side:” I’ve never felt more at peace in my body.
Blogger, College Student, Eating Disorder Survivor, & Intern at REbeL, Inc.