October 2017
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*jitters* I offered to speak at my church about body image, eeek!


eek eeek eeeek!!!!!!!

I just sent an email to two of the women at my church who are organizing a panel discussion called "Going Beyond Your Weight," offering to speak. now I am so jittery-nervous-eeeeeeeeeeek... especially since one of the women is the wife to the pastor.

Dear Pastor B___ and Pastor S_____,

This is [me] (the girl who lived with the Wynnes for a while). I saw that there is a Pearls event scheduled called "Going Beyond Your Weight," and I wanted to offer what I have learned on the subject. I don't like public speaking, in fact I'm shaking a little just sending this to you, but I know that self-image is a deeply painful subject for many women and if I can help even one, it's worth the sacrifice of comfort. I would like the opportunity to share with Liberty women.

------------------

About a year and a half ago, I started an online community called Curvygirls. Through maintaining this community, I've seen literally hundreds of lives changed -- girls come in hating themselves and feeling worthless, and after being a part of the community for a little while, they learn to see the beauty in themselves and the change in them is incredible. When you're drained by feeling judged and worthless, you don't have the energy to reach out in love -- but when you feel that you are as you were meant to be, you have so much more confidence. And if you think you have nothing worthwhile to give, you don't give, or give only a little; but if you learn to see yourself as a creation of God, as exactly the way you were meant to be, it's easy to give because you feel that you're giving something that other people really want. Because we've learned to see the beauty in ourselves and others, the community is the most accepting, generous, caring group of people I have ever met -- and that's saying a lot now that we have over a thousand members.

There are so many lies that the world tells us about beauty, but the main one is that there is a certain way to look, and all other looks are lesser. We are taught that we are supposed to be thin, tall, tan, blonde, and have large breasts. We are taught that we are all supposed to have flat bellies despite the fact that less than 10% actually have the genes for it (and that only during teens and twenties). And despite the fact that the vast majority of us were never designed to look that way, we feel as though we have to strive for it. We measure our worth in pounds and inches, and the ideal always moves further away. Even if we starve ourselves, work out constantly, get plastic surgery, etc., we will NEVER look like those airbrushed women in the magazines. Why? Partly because even the models don't look that way, but mainly because God made us to look UNIQUE. We aren't supposed to look like anything but ourselves.

Why do we believe that lie? because we are bombarded with images and words that tell us that that look IS beauty, and that it's attainable no matter what your body type. How do we break our belief in the lie? we block out the images by not watching TV and not reading so-called 'fashion magazines,' and when they force themselves into our line of view we do not passively agree, we look at them and say to ourselves 'you sell a lie.' And we change what we see. In the community, we often post photos of ourselves, and when someone posts, many of the other girls comment and compliment them. We look at the photo, see how uniquely beautiful the girl is, and compliment her -- maybe on her amazing hips, maybe on her radiant smile, her cute freckles, her muscular legs, or her pretty feet. We'll have a slender size 4 girl post, and people will compliment, and then a voluptuous size 20 will post, and the same girls will compliment her. We recognize that beauty doesn't exist in one shape, but in the VARIETY of shapes.

But you don't need to be part of the community to change what you see. Start looking around you, look for the beauty in that lady and that one. Don't compare, don't ever ever ever compare, it makes no sense because there is NO standard. Allow yourself to realize that she's every bit as beautiful as you are, and her beauty does not diminish yours. Instead of thinking, "oh she's so skinny I hate her, why can't I be like that" or "oh she could stand to lose a few, at least I'm not like that" think "what subtle curves, she's like a willow tree, delicate and graceful" or "what voluptuous curves, she's like the ocean, powerful and indomitable." And when you look in the mirror, don't criticize yourself -- that's insulting God's handiwork, and it's hurting you just as much as if someone else said it to you. Would you want to spend time with a friend who talked as badly about your body as you do?

I don't believe in 'body flaws.' To believe in them, you have to believe in one single ideal body, and I emphatically do not! I know what I am supposed to look like -- I'm supposed to look like ME. And since no one can look more like me than me, I'm as close to perfect as it gets. I don't need to look like anyone else OR any other version of myself. God wants me to be ME, not an imitation of someone else.

I don't have flaws -- and neither do you. What we have are differences, and they are what make us beautiful, what make us unique, what make us who we are. I have a rounded tummy, thick thighs, breasts that slant down, stretchmarks, freckles -- and those are beautiful parts of me that I wouldn't change. If you offered to pay me a billion dollars so that you could magically change my body to match a 'supermodel's,' no surgery, no pain, no side effects, I'd say NO WAY. Because I wouldn't be myself, and I like the way God made me. I like being a unique reflection of God that no one else can show.

------------------

^^^ That is not edited at all, just my thoughts off the top of my head. If you want me to speak, I will be happy to polish it up and submit it to you for approval. If you decide that you have time for me to speak, I can speak for as long or as little as you want. If you don't, I ask you to please pass my email on to the other panel speakers, so that they can read it and hopefully take whatever is good and pass it on to the women who come to the meeting. I realize it's only two weeks away, so whatever you decide I'm going to just take as God's will.

thanks for reading!
-[me]-

and in the jittery but body-positive spirit of the moment, a new curvygirls shirt design! Same quote as an older design, but more eye-catching.

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Comments
molly_mcb ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣incitement╠══
I can put the same design on one of the other shirt styles though, they have larger sizes. if there's one you want, just let me know and I'll put the design on it!
notashamed ══╣[kate] dimple╠══
Bel, I am SO excited for you. I really hope that they ask you to join them because you are such an inspiring person. :) More and more women need to hear these things.
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
They never got back to me :-( it was last night, so oh well. I suppose it wasn't meant to be, this time.

I'm still proud of myself for taking that step. ;-)
smurfb1ue ══╣gypsy .:. smurfb1ue╠══
You shared your thoughts wonderfully. I wish all women [and men] could accept the truth that you shared in your e-mail: that there is no ideal body and no such thing as a body flaw.
You have grown so much since you first began curvygirls!
belenen ══╣blossoming╠══
thank you! and thank you SO MUCH about the growth, I consider that a huuuuge compliment. ;-D *hugs*
meganlynnangela ══╣╠══
oooh! I will pray that your pastors let you speak, and have the opportunity to share the beautiful gift with women local to you. You go girl!
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
they didn't get back to me and it was last night :-( But I suppose it just wasn't the right time -- when it is, I'm sure it will all line up. I'm pleased with myself for making the effort. ;-)
meganlynnangela ══╣╠══
Well, I hope this doesn't keep you from seeking out opportunities to share this gift. What a wonderful message you have to share! And just look how many people it's touched. Well, I guess that's impossible to measure...look how huge the curvygirls community is, and there is no way to measure how many girls that have been touched by that have gone out and shared it with their friends! God(ess) used you in a big way there, and you should be so proud of yourself for speaking up.
armandii ══╣╠══
I love the way you have expressed this. I would like to link to this entry in my own LJ if you give permission. Oh, and that is a great icon, you by the curvy road sign.
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
oops, late comment! yes of course, you can always link anything you'd like, what a lovely compliment! and thanks about the icon, I looove it. ;-)
free2be ══╣╠══
Excellent. Go go go.
belenen ══╣voltaic╠══
thanks! ;-)
katielilie ══╣╠══
Wow. That e-mail actually brought tears to my eyes. You have worded your thoughts about the subject so eloquently, I cannot imagine why they wouldn't want you to speak. You are such an inspiration.
belenen ══╣incitement╠══
awwww *beams* I'm so glad it inspired you ♥ thank you ;-)
brightlotusmoon ══╣╠══
How glorious! I'll bet you get a standing ovation when you read it aloud. :)
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
hee, thanks, but they didn't get back to me and it was last night :-( But I think it just wasn't the right time -- when it is, I'm sure it will all line up. I'm glad I made the effort. ;-)
delicatexflower ══╣personal ][ me ][ holding pillow╠══

you have such a way with words, love!

i'm so proud and so grateful i had the chance of knowing you!

:)

<3xox
belenen ══╣incitement╠══
thank you sweetheart! *cuddles you* ♥ ♥ ♥
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I hope you get to speak because I know you will say something that will really help someone.
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
They didn't get back to me and it was last night :-( But I think it just wasn't the right time -- when it is, I'm sure it will all line up. I'm glad I made the effort. ;-)
folkchick3 ══╣╠══
I really hope that you get the opportunity to speak, because you have such amazing things to say! I know that you have been an ispiration to me, and that you have a gift for helping others feel better about themselves. I truly believe that is your calling.
PS
Loooooooooooooooooove that icon!
belenen ══╣blossoming╠══
thank you! I believe it is definitely part of my calling to help people see their trueselves and realize how incredible they are ♥ thanks for recognizing that and expressing it!

and thanks about the icon! ;-)
clown_frog ══╣╠══
I'm really really impressed by your offering to speak!! I hope they let you, or that they use your email in some way, because I really think you could help some people.

Also wanted to say, that email is a good kind of summary of things, do you have somewhere to put it so maybe new people to your journal could read it? It just seemed so well laid out (to me), even though it is just thoughts off the top of your head, that it seems a shame if it didn't get read. Though I guess curvygirls is the place for that and not your own journal, but it does seem a shame for it to get swallowed in entries.

Please let me know how they reply! And if you do talk, I'd love to read a transcript of what you say, if you do write one.

I really do think its so amazing of you to offer to speak. Really really. Go you!!

And the new shirt is lovely, and linked to that and found curvygirls shoppe, I never knew about that! (sorry if you mentioned it before, it may have been in an entry I missed last year). Going to go and browse after finishing this comment. Which is now.

(((hugs)))



belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me╠══
hee, thanks, but they didn't get back to me and it was last night :-( But I think it just wasn't the right time -- when it is, I'm sure it will all line up.

Hmm, yes, that's a good idea! I think I'll revise it and either repost or link it in my userinfo. thanks for the idea! It is a big part of my life, and it'd be great to be able to link people to it when they have questions, heh. ;-)

thank you! I am proud of myself. ;-D

cool! let me know if you have any ideas for new designs or slogans!

*hugs back happily*
clown_frog ══╣╠══
Thats a shame they didn't get back to you, have they got back to yet at all? Such an email deserves a reply!! If it got there alright. Still wonderful for you to offer! I hope their discussion thingummy went well in any case.

I'll let you know if I ever come up with any ideas. My favourite quote of the ones there is the 'you are perfect' one, but I really like the design of the new one, the lettering, its purty. I will perhaps save up for the perfect one. Though with the postage it might be cheaper to buy a colour-dye pen and a blank T-shirt are copying... but that would be unethical :-p

So I wont.

I'm feeling poor right now.

But I think I shall add the link to my favourites.

:-D

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (In case you didn't get my text)
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.