As an adolescent, I struggled with the ongoing battle for thinness. I was a dancer, constantly having to look at myself in the mirror, and never happy with the reflection looking back at me. My negative self-image followed me into my late teens and then into my early 30’s. I realized that my battle was a mental one, one that could be conquered each day in the choices that I made. I realized that I could either choose to give in or to run from my eating disorder.
Although I chose to run, I did choose to continue to be a part of a world that is to some degree focused on outward appearance. In 2013, I was crowned Miss Kansas United States. I worked hard to stay in shape. I was tempted at times to go back to my old ways, but I never gave in. After being crowned, I chose REbeL Peer Education as my platform. This organization spoke to me and helped me to stay focused on the way I was choosing to live my life, eating disorder free. I wanted to funnel my time and energy as Miss Kansas into helping empower young women. I wanted to show them what it really means to be beautiful. Beauty is not what is on the outside; rather it radiates from what is inside each of us. I also wanted to show women that developing confidence, love, and respect for your own body truly sets you free from the unrealistic standards and constant pressure our society places on us.
This drive to empower women and to create change is what inspired me to create the Be You Bash, the first of which was in March of 2014. I wanted to help raise funds for an organization that is desperately needed in our schools. If I had gotten the chance to be a part of REbeL in middle and high school, this would have made a huge impact on me and would have certainly altered my path into adulthood.
We all have a purpose here on Earth. When you’re at battle with yourself, you’re unable to find and to live in line with your purpose. It’s organizations like REbeL that help you to find your way. REbeL Peer Education has influenced the lives of thousands of adolescents and its reach will continue to grow for years to come. I’m honored to be a part of this incredible organization, and I’m so proud of its expansion beyond the Kansas City metro. I haven’t met a single person that cannot relate to feelings of insecurity, shame, or depression surrounding their appearance. We have all experienced these feelings at some time or another in our lives. REbeL is out to change the world – for all of us and for future generations. I support REbeL because I want to be a part of the change, and I strongly encourage you to be a part of the change with me. Donate to REbeL, attend the second annual Be You Bash this Friday, July 31st, or sign up to volunteer your time to support this one-of-a-kind organization!
Be You Bash Creator & Planning Committee Member