With the Walk to REbeL on the horizon, I was asked to write a blog with my answer to the question, “Why do you walk?” I thought it was going to be easy. You’d think that after four years of being a part of REbeL, I would be able to write for hours about society’s unrealistic standards of beauty and widespread body-shaming on social media. But when I sat down to write this, I had a hard time. As I sat staring at a blank Word document, I started drifting back to my freshman year. There were only five of us who attended the Walk to REbeL that year from my school. I remember being terrified. I had already concluded that I would never be beautiful and that I would never fit in because of the way that I look. I asked myself why I had come to an event that promoted self-love and acceptance of everyone, regardless of their body size or appearance. Deep down I knew that I was tired of constantly putting myself down. Deep down I was yearning for a way to learn to love myself. I wish I could say that I left the Walk to REbeL that year completely loving me, all of me. That wasn’t the case, but it was the catalyst for me to learn to love myself.
So why do I walk? I walk for myself. With each Walk to REbeL, I celebrate a new milestone I have made in my journey toward self-love. Sophomore year, I walked because I learned to look in a mirror that year and say “You are gorgeous.” Junior year, I walked because I stopped comparing myself to the models in magazines and stopped measuring my worth by my weight. This year I will walk to show others the true happiness you can find if one day you stop and say, “I am worthy of my own love.”
Now I have a challenge for all of you. Before you come to the Walk to REbeL this year, I want you to think of something you feel insecure about. Make that what you walk to “rebel” against. Every time you pass a sign on the Walk to REbeL route, I want you to say “I love my [insert insecurity].” That was the catalyst for my journey of self-love. Although it was very foreign to me, I repeated “I love myself!” over and over and over again in my head until finally it became the truth.
Come to see me this Saturday, May 9th at the Walk to REbeL. I’ll be celebrating my newest milestone in my journey, and together we can celebrate the REbeLution and the start of your journey towards self-love!
See you there, gorgeous!
by Emily Baranowski
REbeL Member & Senior at Notre Dame de Sion