The other day I found a photo of myself being used on a pro-ana instagram site.
At first, it infuriated me – as it is all too often that my figure (and many other “skinny” girls) is automatically associated with having an eating disorder. To increase my fury, the photo had a faded text written on top of it with an “anorexia tip”. Advice to help, motivate and inspire others NOT to eat: a strategy to become or remain “happily unhealthy and underweight”.
At first it was the fact that the user didn’t ask for my permission to use a photo of me to convey a message that completely opposes my beliefs. But then I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture – this issue is far larger and deeper than just a photo of me. This is an issue that affects more than half of females in our society. Not “anorexia” necessarily, but eating disorders, mental health issues, self harm, low self esteem, minimal self confidence, self doubt and personal insecurities. In fact, mental health issues are one of the single biggest issues facing young Australians – as well as the rest of the world!
These statistics were found at http://www.headspace.org.au/about-headspace/what-we-do/why-headspace
Approximately 14% of 12-17 year olds and 27% of 18-25 year olds experience these problems each year.
75% of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25.
Up to 50% of substance use problems are preceded by mental health issues in young people.
High suicide rates in early to mid adulthood are related to untreated mental health problems in the late teenage and early adult years.
Overall, mental health and substance use disorders account for 60-70% of the burden of disease among 15-24 year olds.
Currently only one in four young people experiencing mental health problems actually receives professional help.
Even among young people with the most severe mental health problems only 50% receive professional help.
Girls, you're not "fat", "overweight", "obese", "chubby", "ugly", "pathetic", "too skinny", "wrong", "scary", "worthless" or "useless".
You are intricate, detailed, delicate and incredible creations
- can you see how much of a miracle it is that YOU exist ?
Let alone as the capable, unique and loved being you are?
You are NOT your weight, BMI, size or shape. You are not a body who has a soul. You are a beautiful and amazing SOUL, who has a body. Your worth is not defined by your outward appearance, nor is your beauty. No that reality is found IN you. In your true being; your essence.
Love your body. Protect it. Nurture it. Cherish it. Bless it - give it what it needs and what it DESERVES. Eat HEALTHY and BALANCED because you love your body. Not because you hate it.
The world is not perfect every day. We can not "create" the perfect world. You are flawed. I am flawed. We are all FLAWED! But it is those same flaws that make us the delicate human beings we are; rare, unique and beautiful. Just because we are flawed doesn’t mean we can't be happy or accept, love and forgive ourselves anyway..
Be a happy-mess! And have an incredible relationship with food and your own body, mind and soul. Your lives are far too precious and valuable - I WANT to be here for you and others if you need or want it. Because I want YOU to be able to live an indescribably happy, balanced, and fulfilled, WHOLESOME life! The life I know you can achieve.
Love and light,