Today was the first round of photos and it was great. It was pretty windy but we managed to find a spot that wasn’t too bad. Everyone who was photographed today had fun with it. They came looking how they do on any regular day that I see them, which is what I want. They embraced the point of this campaign and I’m looking forward to the next round on Saturday. Here is a sneak peek of what will be happening. The full pictures will not be relieved until the photo show on the first weekend in June.
While talking about this campaign yesterday, I had a conversation about teasing. We talked about the effects teasing has on people and how it can be carried with a person their whole lives. It made me think of another conversation I had the other day.
I was talking with a friend about this project. My friend asked if I was teased at all. I mentioned in another post that I was not made fun of for my weight. However, I was teased in fifth and sixth grade because I hit puberty early and had pretty bad breakouts on my face. I remember being horribly embarrassed about it and a few of the boys who we hung out with and who were in my class were relentless about pointing it out and calling me names. Looking back, I don’t blame them. Kids are kids. They don’t realize how much words hurt which is why we need to teach this to them. At the time, I just hated myself more. A few years later, in eighth grade, I was in all of my classes with one of those boys. We sat next to each other in computer class and became good friends. One day, he just suddenly said to me that he was sorry for how he treated me in elementary school. It meant a lot to have him acknowledge it. It’s funny how I forget this teasing and the apology when it certainly had an impact. Maybe I blocked it out a bit.
I always thought my negative feelings about my appearance were just about weight. But they weren’t. I think my weight was the thing I could control so I focused on it. I couldn’t control my bad skin and I couldn’t control (or didn’t know how to) the feelings I had of never being good enough.
This makes me think of teasing in general. We know there is a large problem with teasing and bullying. Kids do not understand what teasing really does to another person. It is our job as adults to teach them, earlier rather than later.
Sometimes I even listen to adults saying horrible things to others and even in front of children. People do not realize how much children absorb and how they pick up on everything. We need to stop teaching negativity to children and instead, teach them to be kind, understanding, and respectful. People also do not realize that everything you say to a child gets placed in what I like to think of as a small folder in their brain. Every time you make a comment about someone’s appearance or use words such as “fat”, “skinny”, “ugly”, they hold onto this. They begin to look at people and notice these things. The same goes for when we’re joking around. We may say something that we mean to be funny, but the child doesn’t get that.
I continue to have people contact me who are sharing their own stories. Some say their story is just like mine while others had different experiences. Some of the people are women I have known for a while and never realized they struggle with these issues. It goes to show that even people we think are confident are not and it also shows just how many people feel the same way. As I read each one, I think, “This is exactly why I wanted to do this project”. I want to take beautiful pictures of every girl and woman involved and have them believe that they really are amazing and beautiful people.
I’ll finish with this quote today.
"Do what makes you happy
Be with who makes you smile
Laugh as much as you breathe
Love as long as you live"
I truly believe doing what you love and makes you happy has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself and your life. I also believe that surrounding yourself with positive, kind, and fun people is extremely important. If you don’t hysterically laugh at least once a day, you need to find people that will make you do so. Don’t let any friends, significant others, family, coworkers, or anyone make you feel bad. The people around you should lift you up, not bring you down. If they do, ignore them or remove them from your life. Lastly, LOVE. Love your friends, love your family, love the little things such as the feeling of the sun on your face or the sight of a small child playing. Most importantly, LOVE YOURSELF.
You are all beautiful inside and out,