When the Huffington Post writes, the world listens. We are extremely grateful for this story about #beautifulwarriors. Have a read...
I am a #beautifulwarrior!
What my FaceBook profile tells the world:
If you look only at my display pictures, you will see a girl who smiles a lot – a smile that makes her cheeks look like apples and her eyes crinkle up at the sides. A girl with a few close friends, and with a husband she loves. A girl with three kids that are seriously cute (I am not at all biased). A girl who is passionate about her chosen social causes. You might even guess that she has a quirky side, that time I dressed as a zombie stayed as my display picture for months!
My timeline tells a similar story. Funny videos of my cats. Posts from friends and family with some grammar nerd jokes. A lot of statuses about the stupid and funny things that are said or done by the children. Lots of passion for my team (Go Eagles!) and for those same social causes. Family members sharing recipes, and photos of my own cooking that show a tendency to bake. And messages from my husband to tell me he tried my phone but it is on silent yet again.
THIS IS NOT ME!
Well, it is a little. It’s part of who I am – it is my public face. We all have one, and it’s stupid. Why do we feel the need to put our face on?
#beautiful warriors shows that everyone is a real person, not just the persona they show to the world on social media. We aren’t alone, us butterflies with broken wings; we are together. We all post something that we wouldn’t ordinarily share on our social media, something that is kept out of sight of that “perfect” façade we present to the world.
I have just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have been struggling for a few years with my self-worth, with feeling unhappy, and with thinking about suicide. I am finally being treated for it, seeing a psychologist, taking active steps to regain control of my own happiness. But I am told it is a long process, and I am only starting my journey back out of this dark place.
When I was little, for as long as I can remember, until I was 12, I was sexually abused by my father. Growing up, I had some of the “classic” symptoms that teachers are now encouraged to report to admin in kids – withdrawn, difficulty making friends and keeping friends...
I don't see myself as a "Beautiful Warrior" it would spoil the effect of all you gorgeous girls and the young lives you are living. I prefer to be a “Granny (in training) Warrior” who can start a little sub-set and put things from a different perspective.
At my age, 56 (middle-aged I'm told), I have had a lot of troubles in my life, some I've shared and some I've kept private. They don't mean as much to me now as when I was going through them, I'm sure they taught me valuable lessons but now I prefer to focus on the fun and happiness.
Casey made me think of this when she was thinking of putting together a list of things you organise for your wedding but no-one else even notices or cares less about e.g. what the heck is something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue anyway?
What I would love to pass on to you and I hope others will add to this list is things I used to worry about but don't matter a diddly squat- whatever the hell that means - when I look back.
1. I tried so hard to keep the house clean and tidy just in case someone came over, forever putting toys away that magically came straight back out again, wiping faces, crumbs and bums (not with the same cloth) etc etc. MOST people want to come over and see you and they are more than satisified when there is a bit of mess because it makes them feel better that they've just left their house in the same way.
2. It soooo doesn't change how your kids grow up whether they went to music class at 10 months old, watch TV for an hour or so in the morning while you get your shit together, eat something out of the freezer, wear miss-matched clothes or always do their homework in primary school.
That's enough to get things started, I'm not trying to be the Dalai Warrior, just letting you all know life is up, down, middle, great, funny, sad, shitty and happy for everyone - no exceptions!
Facebook is amazing and I love being able to see what everyone is up to but don't forget sometimes to pick up the phone and chat with your bestie about the latest crappy thing your partner has said or done just to get if off your chest.
Love you guys
"There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes" - David Platt
I'm Casey and, whilst I came up with the idea of #beautifulwarriors, I never actually had the intention of posting a story myself. I have huge aspirations for the project and I think that we can make a difference with it, but I guess I never wanted this to be about me personally.
But since launching the project, I've been inspired by the ladies that have shared their stories. It takes a certain amount of courage to put it all out there. And in asking people to do this, I now feel like I should, and that I want to, stand with these amazing ladies.
So, as part of the #beautifulwarriors movement, I'm sharing a truth that I wouldn't normally put on social media. I'm sharing this to show that I'm a real person, that I'm more than the perfect pictures on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. I hope that by sharing this, I'll empower others, to help them feel as though they aren't alone, and to unite us in our battles. Individually we are warriors, together we are an army.
Here is my truth...
A couple of years ago I went to my 17 week obstetrician appointment, full of excitement and with hope the I might get a clue about the gender of my baby. I already had a 1 year old girl, so we were hoping to mix things up with a boy.
The jelly was applied to my swollen tummy and as the image appeared on the screen, my first thought was, "Wow, bub still looks very small." My second thought was "He/she must be asleep because they aren't moving much."
I remember that the obstetrician turned quickly from looking at the screen above me, to her own screen to get a closer look.
I covered my face.
She said "I'm so sorry".
It's quite surreal that those words can carry the weight that they did.
She didn't turn off the screen above my head but I couldn't get the words out to ask her to get rid of that horrifying image. It stayed up there for ages. I remember that I kept my face covered and I just kept repeating "I don't understand".
Over and over again. "I don't understand."
I knew what was happening, but what I didn't understand was how things could go so wrong after a perfect 12 week scan.
I didn't understand how my "plans" to have two kids with a two year age gap, and to have them both whilst I was under 30 weren't playing out like the script.
I didn't understand how the promise of a life could be broken.
It was going to be 48 hours before the operation could be performed. I had another appointment after just 24 hours, and after seeing how distressed I was, the Obstetrician checked me straight in to the hospital and told me that he'd be there after work to perform the operation. Bless that man, because he really should have been going home to his family on that Friday night, and he was simply doing a good deed. But I don't think even he understood how much he helped me that day.
I was not coping.
I had a baby belly, but no baby. I remember that I wore my husbands XL sized jumper in an attempt to hide it from myself because I couldn't bear to look at it.
Whilst we were waiting for the anethitist, we got a text message from our friends. It was a "welcome to the world, little man" message with a picture of the baby boy they had given birth to that morning. I was just numb by this point.
The operation went fine. I don't really remember anything about it. Which is probably a very good thing.
I've always had an incredibly "lucky" life. Things tend to go my way. I can't explain it, but things almost always work out in my favour. Except when I drop toast with vegemite... why does it always land face down?!?
But this little tragedy broke me. It completely broke me.
I didn't understand.
It was two weeks before I could speak a word about it. Not a word. Family and close friends knew and looked after me but I could not utter a single word without choking up.
Other than my husband, who was grieving with me, it was those friends that had been open about their own miscarriages that I turned to for help. I felt like they got it. They could understand the complete and utter devastation, and the confusion. They mostly just listened, but those ears were the starting point for my healing.
The words that healed me most came from my brother and my mum. He said "Well, if mum hadn't had her miscarriage before I was born, maybe I wouldn't be here". Mum said "It wasn't that baby's time, maybe they were needed more elsewhere, by someone else, or maybe the world just wasn't ready for them yet."
I guess I took from that, that things happen for a reason. And now, in addition to my 4.5 year old, dynamic, spirited princess, I also have a 1.5 year old calm, sweet natured prince, who may not be here if I had not had the miscarriage.
I got my boy, my "pigeon pair" but I can assure you that all I was looking for at every single scan was a heartbeat. The cliche of "I don't care about the gender as long as they are healthy" was no longer a cliche, it is my mantra.
I do know how lucky I am. I have two healthy children. And now, almost three years on, what was a life altering tragedy, is more of an experience that has made me a stronger, kinder more empathetic person. I've learnt not to ask newly married couples "how the baby-making is going", just in case there is a story there that hasn't been shared with the world on social media. I've learnt not to push friends that only have one child, to have two, in case maybe they desperately want to but can't. And I hope that by being open about this, that if a friend goes through the same thing down the track, they'll seek me out as an understanding ear.
I won't say that I understand why it happens, but I can say that I understand the gut wrenching despair in not understanding.
And I also understand that we're all in this together.
Until now, there was no mention of this on my social media posts. If a Facebook acquaintance had caught me in the street a week after it happened, they would have thought I was just rude or self absorbed, not going through the biggest tragedy of my life. I guess it made me realise that we don't always know what others are going through, and that we are better off showing kindness and empathy to each other, just in case that person is having a pretty terrible day.
So now it's your turn. Share a truth that you wouldn't usually share on social media, to give others strength through your bravery. Show us that you are a real person too and let's stand together. Individually we are warriors, together we are an army.
Sharon Black is a wellness coach from Chicago. You can follow her on Instagram via @divinewellnessnc
"Today, as a part of the #beautifulwarriors movement, I share with you a truth about me that is very personal but it goes to show that we all have flaws, insecurities, challenges and internal issues.
Behind the makeup, nice clothes and smiles, for the past two years I have dealt with a lot of emotional pain. I was dealing with so much that I decided I need to seek the help if a therapist. Many people hear the word "therapist" and equate it to a person being depressed or crazy. I was neither of those but I knew I needed professional guidance and coaching through some of the things I was dealing with. My attitude, my words and my broken spirit were causing me so much turmoil. With much prayer and the help of my therapist, I have been able to overcome those obstacles that held me down for so long! While I am still a work in progress, with God and time, all wounds do heal. So for those of you dealing with internal battles, I have been there and you are not alone!"
Yvette is from Sydney and runs a blog that gives an insight into PND. You can follow along with her blog here.
"The pinnacle of my postnatal depression resulted in psychriatric care. I felt humiliated that I let this disease get the better of myself, my husband, and my son.
Looking back, it was the right thing for me. My time in hospital allowed me to rest, reflect, and take a step back from my surroundings of my PND. The stigma around mental health and psychriatric care is still silenced.
I am not afraid to admit I have been there. If you need help - do not be afraid to seek help.
Suffering in silence is detrimental to one's wellbeing. There is so much the mind and body can handle. I have learned that psychriatric care is an element to the road of recovery and I believe that society should embrace that notion."
Melanie is the face behind DNA artistry jewellery brand, Behind the Willow Tree. You can follow her on Instagram here.
"When I was born I was adopted into a beautiful family. However as I grew I was teased about this adoption I was so proud of ~ This was the beginning for me of self doubt. Then when I was 13 my breasts started to grow larger and faster than anyone else, to the point I felt my personality had to be larger than they were, yet inside I was full of self doubt. I was laughed at by women, directly into my face - complete strangers in public.
At 22 I found my birth mum & at 26 I had my first of 2 breast reductions. At 29 I had my second breast reduction and then finally, finally after around 20 years of hiding myself behind so many walls, I found myself.
Behind every face of a woman lies a story. Most of us don't live with confidence naturally, and most of us have to find it. We need to break through out walls.
Remember that what you see on social media, all the beauty and glamour of lives, there is more to this. We are all human, we have struggles and we should just be kind and love one another."
"It took me a long time to learn to stop comparing myself to others. Constant comparison with other girls and the models from the magazines seems to be an issue for so many girls. I found it difficult to focus on my own unique characteristics and instead dwelled on what I thought I was lacking.
No two girls are the same and to just be yourself is the most beautiful confidence. When I see it in others, it is the most refreshing thing in the world and I want to see more women love themselves unconditionally."
"I am still on a journey, and actually, that's nothing to be ashamed of.
To many, I may seem like a fully fledged body positive activist and I am. I pledge to love my body, without question, every day - but that doesn't mean that some of the negative experiences I've had in the past don't continue to haunt me.
But that, that ability to push forwards in the face of adversity, that ability to push through those memories to create a relationship with my body on MY terms, is what makes me a warrior.
I am on a journey every day where loving my body is concerned. The vitality that I feel comes from learning from others, seeing them grow, it comes from support and encouragement, it comes from throwing myself in at the deep end and subverting all of the negativity I've encountered in my life but most of all - it comes from deep rooted belief. Belief that I can do the things I set my mind to, belief that I am worthy and, indeed, belief that I am loved first and foremost, by myself
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Thanks so much for your support @heyyallitsracheltaylor. You might recognise this beautiful face from @peoplemag @cosmo @littlethingsusa@ravishly @buzzfeed or @cnn a few weeks ago.
Rachel posted a selfie on the @oldnavy Facebook page dressed in one of their tshirts - and she looked amazing in it. She posted her photo to "share my story with Old Navy because I love my new top and appreciate them having cute clothes in all sizes," but the internet erupted, in a couple of ways.
Mostly people rallied around her in support for her inspirational confidence and "fierceness". But there was a small minority of faceless cyber commentators that felt it was necessary (even acceptable?) to take this inspiring story down a peg.
Rachel we are standing with you, just as you are standing with us. Posting a photo on social media is NEVER an invitation to criticise, ridicule or judge someone.
Even those of us that have carefully (albeit unintentional) curated galleries of niceties on social media have our own stories, and we often don't know what others are going through.
We're all real people with real stories, let's remind each other of that. Let's remind each other to be kind and to have empathy.
Let's keep building each other up, inspiring each other, and standing together. We'll all be stronger if we stand together.
Monique is a blogger from Perth, better known as Little Miss Mon Bon, You can follow her on Instagram here or check out her blog here.
"So now it is my turn to uncover one of my truths... I grew up having been bullied by a girl all through my high school years, despite never having ever done anything unsavoury towards her.
I had no idea why she was being so cruel to me, and because of this, I now CONSTANTLY question myself and my abilities. I find it hard to believe in myself and find the strength to stand up for myself in a lot of situations, and as a result I often find myself being walked all over.
Slowly but surely I am learning that I am actually worth something, and that what I have to say or offer is of value!"
You can follow Paski Pougnet on Instagram here.
"When I was 15 I had to wear a backbrace for 2 years because I have scoliosis. This means that my shoulders and hips are very uneven and I have a slight hump on my back. I was always very self conscious about this, especially as a teenager. Over the years I've learnt to be less focussed on it, and recognise that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and that's ok."
You can follow Emily on Instagram here.
"I crashed and burned. Work was my life and I now suffer from chronic fatigue and even though every day is a constant balancing act, I know there's someone worse of than I am, and I'm grateful for everything I do have. "
Amanda Wearn is based in Perth and runs fashion label Willa in Spades and the Island Blonde blog. You can follow her in Instagram here or read her blog here.
Fluffy puppies, brunch feasts, bronzed bodies, dreamy holiday locations, sparkly engagement rings the size of my right boob (ok and the left, don’t panic they’re the same size), headstands on the edge of a cliff in to die for yoga wear and more selfies of girls with flawless makeup on than you can count. Our social media is full of these images, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, twenty four hours a day seven days a week we have instant access to all these beautiful pictures. Its easy to forget that these are not always a true representation of someone’s whole life. They’re what I like to call the “frosting”. It takes work to make a cupcake, preparing the batter, baking in the oven, waiting to cool down, only then can it then be frosted, decorated and put on display. Now if there were only two cupcakes left on the counter, one soft white cupcake with creamy peaked pink icing with perfectly placed heart sprinkles and one browned from over baking, the icing and sprinkles now half way down the side of the cupcake and running onto the counter from being iced to early, which one would you choose? (FYI when I bake mine always look like the latter). The same principal applies for our social media, most of the time we’re going to choose the “frosted” photos.
A silly example, when Chris and I went to the Gili Islands last year, so that we could stay on Gili Meno as well as Gili T we chose a really cheap villa, it was horrible, there are no photos anywhere of us in that villa, however there are an infinite amount of photos of us walking the white sandy beaches with the clear turquoise water in the background. Of course that is a fairly trivial example, but just helps to show that behind every beautiful photo that makes you wish you had the money to go on that holiday, or the body to wear that, or the friends to do that with, there’s another story.
We are not completely deprived of the real world, we see photos of courageous woman battling cancer, starving children in third world countries, men at war and victims of domestic abuse, but we don’t see many of the average, the normal, the more common struggles. When you see a beautiful photo of a mother, father and newborn, you don’t generally see the photo of them 1 year, 2 years prior, being told that once again the embryo implanted didn’t take, they have one last chance to bring a little person of their own into this world, one more embryo, you don’t see the photo of the friend or family member going through the counselling, months of hormone injections to donate those eggs, behind every beautiful photo there are many stories, that story could have and has have ended with a beautiful photo of that amazing couple smiling with joy in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon instead, no baby, but unforgettable memories with each other, both beautiful photos, different endings, but the same story, looking at either of those two photos would make you feel joy (or jealousy, helicopter over the Grand Canyon? Yes please!), but there’s been a bit of baking behind those frosted photos.
With all this running through my head over the last couple of weeks, with perfect timing I received an email from my beautiful friend Casey from Sunbella. I met this incredible woman after a collaboration through our businesses, not only are Casey and her Mum changing the face of sun protection but she has now initiated the #beautifulwarrior movement and asked if I would be interested in joining them on helping woman feel more empowered and also empathetic towards each struggles. The frosting is positive and infectious, but it’s important to see that we all struggle, no matter how many beautiful photos we have.
When I first thought about the #beautifulwarrior movement I thought I was going to write about and share more of the visa troubles for my wonderful fiancé and I, but now, as I sit here with frustrated tears rolling down my cheeks and a bed full of used tissues I think I will share another silent struggle. As my readers, friends and family know I was married and divorced rather young and we have a cheeky little boy who is now four. They say everything gets easier with time, but there’s always that one thing that seems like it never will.
When we first separated I had majority care of the little man, the first few months were hard, there was a lot of hatred, in those first few months his Dad contemplated travelling round the world for a year, and in my depressed, frustrated and and angry moments I wish he had, obviously that would not have been ideal for the little man to not have his father in his life, but it would have made my life a lot easier. A year and a bit down the track from there he was remarried and settling into family life again and I had managed to re-enter the workforce. The obvious downside to starting a full time job to support yourself and your son is you then have to place your child into child care, which means less time with them but means you can put a roof over your head and food in your child’s tummy. It was at this point that we came to the decision that we would try 50/50, he laid out the terms, the change over times, he was the one with money for lawyers, and the most important thing, the confidence, I however, did not have the confidence, so I signed those papers, I did not try to change or question anything, just signed away. From the moment I started to work the real problems started. I will admit, I was an emotional wreck at that time in my life, I was working close to 55 hours a week, little man was not sleeping so I was up all hours of the night, I was struggling through a bad relationship and still felt like I was being controlled and judged by my ex husband. There were moments where I hadn’t slept in days, worked a 53 hour week, trying to run a household and cope with a toddler, so I’d ask my Mum if she could have my son for a few hours on Sunday so I could either just have a nap, get some washing done or have a little time to myself before I went insane, now I look back at those times and wish I had just powered through, because those moments are now used against me, they’re now made to make me look like a horrible mother and bad person, and to be honest sometimes they still do make me feel like it.
A couple years later and we reach now, obviously right this second I am sat in front of my laptop writing this for you from the UK, so I am on my best behaviour for fear my telephone sessions with my baby be taken away from me, but when I return home it will go back to how it has been, me only having my son one or two nights a week. As I had to work, and for me to work my child would have to go into daycare, my sons Dad threatened to take me to court, he thought he had more right to have him as he worked from home and I didn’t. After all these years of stress and heartache, I just couldn’t once again go through the months and months of mediation sessions and the court process, I couldn’t handle the stress that causes not only between my ex and I, but also my fiancé and I and also the stress that puts on our son, its not fair to everyone, so to keep peace, I agreed, he could have majority custody. Looking back now I don’t know if this was a weak moment, and I should have battled and persisted through the months or years in took to fight, fight for my right to work and be able to have a life with my son, or if in fact it was strength, and it was the right thing to do, his Dad is home, he has a loving family with a step sister, they have a house and mortgage, the perfect little family life and my feet are still struggling to find the ground a little bit.
Sometimes, its moments like these, where I’m sat here bawling my eyes out, that I wonder if its all worth the struggle, would he better off if I just gave up, its a hard thing to contemplate, its also a hard thing to talk to people about, most of it I keep to myself, I don’t talk to anyone about it. It’s not an empowering thing, to have no control or say in your own sons life, to have to beg for an extra night, to have to explain exactly how and where your child will sleep whilst in your care, it does make you feel like a failure as a parent and as a person. Do I love him so much I have to fight or love him so much I have to bend, to make sure his life is stress free, and the people around him are stress free, as his life is the most important. There is no measure on true love, you either have true love or your don’t, I love both my fiancé and my son, I will not say I could not live without them, but I will say I could not live without them being happy.
So in a nutshell (having Austin Powers visions as I type that), that is one of my struggles, I won’t be the only mother, or father, going through this at the moment. It’s hard, very hard, I have another friend just starting her journey down the same path and my heart breaks, there’s nothing I can do for her besides be a listening ear, just like there’s nothing that anyone could do for me besides listen. If I had one piece of advice for the parents out there separating, be fair, don’t let yourself take a more dominant position over the other, these are peoples lives, one argument, one stubborn moment can effect someone’s whole life. We all get thrown different curve balls, we all have little ping pong curve balls and giant bowling ball curve balls, it doesn’t make any individuals life better than another. I had to get a full time job and put my son in day care, but I couldn’t be happier, I found independence, financially and spiritually, I went through another bad relationship, I couldn’t be happier, it taught me who I was and what I stand for and I fell in love with someone I have to fight to live in the same country with, and couldn’t be happier, he is my true match in every way, but none of these curve balls should determine how much time I get to spend with my son, but they do. You have to start seeing the good in every situation, I could say “I only get to see my son one night a week” or I could say “I get to spend one amazing night a week with my son where I can devote all my time to him”, its my choice now, I can’t change the past, and I can’t give people compassion, but I can make sure I am in charge of my feelings, and I choose not to be miserable, besides, we never know what curve ball could be next, it might be a life changing one ;)
It’s hard for me to share this, but I hope in sharing my story I help other parents out there, be respectful to each other, life is to short and we only get one chance at it.
If you would like to join the #beautifulwarriors and join us on empowering woman through sharing our struggles head to the Sunbella website for more information and while your there why not give this wonderful woman a few minutes of your time and vote for her for the Ausmumpreneur Awards.
That’s two rather deep and meaningful posts over the last week, I shall make sure the next few are light hearted and full of all things beautiful, pineapples, beaches, bikinis and flamingos.
Until next time, peace, love and coconuts xx
Em is the face behind The Illusive Femme blog. You can follow her on Instagram here or have a read of her blog here.
"I may come across as bubbly and confident, but I'm actually an anxious, nervous creature in most foreign social situations.
I also struggle with anxiety and find it pretty hard to manage sometimes. Turning into a shaking, dizzy mess isn't fun. To top it off I find myself comparing myself to other people all too often.
I need to work on that."
Hey – I am Adelle, I’m a graphic designer, photographer and well…I guess blogger too right? I am so down to earth that I literally have dirt under my nails. I do get off the beaten (style) track occasionally and have been known to shop for groceries in my ugg boots in winter and bare feet in summer. What I am trying to get at is…we all have our habits, flaws, hang ups, bad days, good days…we are not perfect! Follow my journey (without sounding too cliche’) on fashion, fitness, health and lifestyle here in little old Perth.
An amazing initiative brought into our social media realm by Casey Bryden from Sunbella – teaching us all that rather than tearing each other down, we should unite, talk about our fears and battles – support each other because we all have personal issues that we are fighting. The hashtag is being used across all social medias to reach out to others who may be contending with things similar to ourselves, this should bring us together rather than tear us apart.
My own personal battle has always come from feeling unpretty (Oh TLC, you got me by the heart strings with that song), I grew up with a face full of freckles and I hated them. I remember always asking my Mum when they would go away and she said with age they would fade, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I would avoid going to the pool because the chlorine made them stand out even more. I hated sleeping over someone’s place and would try to wake up earlier to reapply makeup. I was laughed and teased because of it, leaving me feel ugly and a freak.
As an adult, I went to work once when I was 21 without makeup on, and was constantly asked what the hell was wrong with me because I looked so sick.
I have been wearing make up since the age of 14, I found it my way to cover up the “Battle Scars” (Or sun kisses as my Mum would so nicely put it) and hide behind it, but no matter what my family said, I still looked in the mirror (and I still do) without makeup on and think I look horrible.
Today, I took off my camouflage (albeit the mascara), stripped the foundation off my face, I realised I had uneven skin tone, large pores, slight wrinkles forming, redness, bags under my eyes and acne scars that I can’t do anything about. Makeup did this to me because I feared what people thought of my face. Guess what? My freckles faded, they faded so much that I look at these pictures and I can’t even see them anymore – but the bucket loads of makeup that I slapped onto my face for all of those years left me with even more problems.
If I had my time again, I would have tried to find confidence in myself to go bare faced more often, taken the criticism and maybe told people to keep their opinions to themselves. Unfortunately, I am so far gone I don’t know how to dig myself out of this ridiculous low confidence hole where my face is constantly covered up with makeup, glasses, and my hair just to take peoples attention away from how bad my face looks (In my opinion). I am doing this today because I want young girls, even boys to see the damage that can be formed at such a young age – be confident, be yourself and don’t let your feelings be crushed by people that don’t matter around you.
You can also be part of the motion, share a #BeautifulWarriors image on social media and confess to your battles, give others strength and support and remember that covering up only does so much, inside is where you need to find yourself!
"When I was 20 years old I had rare eczema on my face. For over six months I stayed home, deferred university and at times had to drink through a straw, the rash was so bad. After Chinese medicine and time, my face healed. It was difficult thinking about my truth as I've pushed it to the back of my memory but because of it I have learnt to not take health for granted. Share your truth."
"For years starting from a young age I used to hurt myself in every way possible. From deliberate sleep deprivation to cutting myself so deep that I accidentally hit a vein.
Depression plagued my being. It started with the bullying at school and ended with self hatred, social anxiety, addiction to self harm, substance abuse and a broken heart. For so long I lived with a broken heart. Nothing would fix it. Not alcohol, drugs, boyfriends, girlfriends, razor blades, or hurting others.
And then I discovered unconditional love. Relentless, forgiving, raw love. I found my saviour. Jesus. He took my broken heart, and made it whole again. Now I am a survivor. My scars a reminder of the love that healed me from inside out. Now I choose self-love not self-harm. My addiction to self-harm ended 3 years ago, and I'll never go back. I live by grace, and forgiveness.
I have a past but now I also have a future."
Nadine was raised in Mauritius, with a laidback island lifestyle and climate influencing the fashion around her. German influences from her mother and travel throughout Europe combined with her current life in Perth, Western Australia have given her great exposure to different cultures, styles and trends, fuelling her passion for fashion and creative expression. She runs her blog Modern Girls in Vintage Pearls with friend Kari. you can read more from them here: http://moderngirlsinvintagepearls.com
“Individually we are warriors. Together we can be an army, we’re all fighting our own battles but seeing other warriors fight alongside us gives us strength.”
#BeautifulWarriors is one of the most empowering and positive social media campaigns I have had the pleasure of taking part in. Casey Bryden, Co-founder of Sunbella decided to launch this campaign to unite women and support each other through sharing their battles and “truths” via social media.
The concept of #BeautifulWarriors was born six months ago when Bryden decided to use the concept of “warriors” as a theme for a photoshoot for Sunbella, comparing the parasols to “a shield that could prevent some skin cancer battles.” As a small business owner she spends a lot of time on social media and noticed “that sometimes the positive online personas contradict the difficulties us and our friends are having in real life.” As powerful as social media is it has perpetuated a culture of validation and increased everyone’s levels of #FOMO because of the highly edited lives that we portray.
After this realisation Bryden decided it would be “a good idea to try to get some truths into social media, to show that our lives aren’t as perfect as they may seem, and hopefully help people to not feel as alone with their problems.” The campaign is all about trying to be more understanding and supportive of others and in the long term be more empathetic, “we’ll be all a lot stronger if we stand together, rather than tear each other down.”
“I wear this warrior face paint for every other girl and woman who feels uneasy in her own skin, even if you can’t see it now, you are beautiful.”
And so I have taken part in this campaign as I am guilty of having a curated social media profile and most people, even those close to me would not know the internal battles I suffered and still have. The thought of sharing my “truth” actually terrifies me as did taking these photos, but the whole process has been rather cathartic and I hope that anyone who reads this will find the same.
I’ve battled depression and related issues since I was in my early teens and low self-esteem has followed me into my twenties. If you know me personally, follow me on Instagram or read my blog you might have noticed that I hate looking directly at the camera, to this day I still feel uneasy in my own skin. This campaign has enabled me to open up about this issue and to some degree tackle it with these photographs, a big thank you to Ryan and Jessica who were both very very kind and wonderful on the day!
Show your support by taking a photo of yourself wearing warrior paint, #beautifulwarriors and share a “truth” that you normally wouldn’t share on social media.
Photography by Ryan Ammon and makeup by Jessica from J H Society <3 Nadine
Read more from this inspiring lady, Sophie Main, on her blog:
I have never faced great trials … never been diagnosed with serious illness … I have never buried my child .. I have no great trial that I have had to shown strength and courage to rise against and conquer. I have struggled daily with the ordinary trials most women come across. Doubt, self loathing, depression … the list goes on. Each day I fight this and each day I keep going.
Just like each and every person out there … I struggle with my weight, with how I look, with what I eat, with how I parent. I refuse, however, to let that struggle define me. I am fierce. And it is the times that I struggle the most … that I forget that. The frustrations of social media is that it only captures the perfect in someones life. The perfect gourmet meal, the perfect outfit, the perfect happy snap of children. Or else it captures the heroism. The amazing moments when ordinary people do extraordinary things. The before and after weight loss picture … the near death experience… what about the perfectly ordinary moments? what about the celebrations of everyday life? We have created this culture of always looking for the next best thing …we are so busy focusing on tomorrow that we are missing out on today. So busy focusing on what we can be tomorrow, how we can be anything … we never see ourselves now.
I was terribly guilty of this.
I just had an incredibly difficult pregnancy with twins. I do not do pregnancy well anyways so with the twins … every problem was multiplied. I normally get severe hyperemesis that generally goes around 20 weeks gestation. With this pregnancy it wasn’t as severe by lasted the entire pregnancy. I was dehydrated and severely anaemic. By 30 weeks, I could not walk more than about 20m before I had to stop. I had incredibly low blood pressure and often fainted or passed out … dizziness and vertigo were my constant companions. By 32 weeks, I began vomitting blood that no one was really willing to stand up and say what was causing it. I was hospitalised countless times. By 34 weeks, I was hospitalised til the babies came out. At 34 and 4 days, my body was in so much distress that I went into labour and they couldn’t stop it so I had a c section to get the babies out. I was weak, I was exhausted and I was petrified. They came out and were rushed into special care. They were a good size and were breathing and only needed to be helped along instead of intubated. As I was in Recovery, I began bleeding heavily. I was haemorrhaging and needed to be taken back into theatre to fix it. My twins were 12 hours old when I was able to meet them. 4 days later, my wound from my c section split open. This was from doing too much. Walking too much, standing up and down … trying to be as active in our twins lives as I could. It felt like a white hot knife cutting me. Another surgery to close it. I was still vomitting blood which all the Dr’s told me would stop once I had the twins. I couldn’t eat anything. No pain meds nothing. And I was too scared to say what was happening because I knew they would keep me away from he twins to rest. I lost almost 21kgs in the first 12 days. My stomach lining was ripped and needed to be repaired. Another surgery .. keyhole this time. I was much better .. I stopped vomitting blood. I came home with my twins. The 2nd day home, my 17 month old fell back off a chair and I knee jerked reacted to stop him hitting his head. I felt a rip then went to lay down. I woke an hour later in the worst pain of my life. Something was wrong. An ambulance ride, an x ray or 2 … I had an unusual amount of gas in my chest cavity but the Drs assured me it was from the keyhole surgery a few days before. I was put into the surgical ward to be monitored overnight. No one saw that my stomach had perforated. No one believe me when I said I couldn’t stand the pain. I spent the entire night, unable to move, frozen in fear, paralysed by pain, unable to speak, to move, to sit back. Perched on the edge of my bed, only able to whisper the word “Help" over and over again. Finally, the next morning the new drs came in and said I needed surgery so they could check. I just needed to lay down so they could give me general anaesthetic … I couldn’t move. Pain medication … top notch … took an hour of constantly being administer every 5 minutes for 1 minute before I could lay back enough to knock me out. Days passed before I woke up again. I had drains and tubes coming out everywhere. Such was the damage of the tear. In the 12 or so hours, the stomach was open, blood, bile and acid was leaking into my chest cavity. I burnt my organs, my lungs … I was in such pain. I hadn’t seen my newborn twins in days. I just left them with my mum. I got to see them in hospital although wish I didn’t because they had to leave and that felt like my heart being ripped from my chest. I recovered. A day or two then I came home. To Premature newborn twins. On a 3 hour feeding schedule. Never mind Recovery or healing … I had to be a mum.
I've skipped over some details but you get the point … I had a hard time. But you know what? Did I rest? Did I take it easy? Did I give myself time to get over the trauma I just experienced? No … I compared myself to other woman. Woman who breastfed, woman who were out with their children doing activities, women I saw only a snap shot of their lives’ through social media. Over the next 5 months, I consistently gained weight til I was about 20 kilos HEAVIER than I was when I had the twins … I wasn’t eating perfectly but I sure as hell wasn’t eating to pack on that much weight. So what did I do? Did I have patience with my poor body? Did I love me into good health? No …. I compared it to other womens … other mum who had birth who bounced back and looked amazing. I hated myself … called myself fat and ugly … shamed myself into exercising way before my body was ready to. Did I once stop to think that my body was so low on everything, it thought it was being starved? That it was holding onto every little thing because it was so depleted? I was having blood tests still and after 2 blood transfusions and 4 iron infusions I was still anaemic. Still my body needed help. But did I give it help? No! I hated on myself so much that I thought if I kept the house clean, it would be ok. That if I did 100 things with the other kids it would be ok. That if I was so amazing at all these other things, put all these other pressure on myself … no one would look closely at me and the absolute mess I was in.
One night, the twins just tag teamed me all night and after 5 months of little sleep, one night of no sleep absolutely did me in. My husband was getting dressed for work and I said to him in such an eerily calm voice that he shouldn’t go to work today. That I was scared that I would go to sleep and never wake up again. Or that wanted to shut the twins up. In whatever way it took. In a clear state of mind, I would never hurt my twins, or my other kids … but I wasn’t in a clear state of mind and I was so scared that I would hurt them I begged my husband not to leave me alone with them. I cant even explain that day. I spent the entire day crying and my beautiful husband recognised that I needed some professional help.
I look back at this and I cringe. I cringe at my behaviour. As I write this, I see what happened with a completely different frame of mind … I went through one hell of a ride. And instead of recognising that … I spent my time looking at women in completely different situations than me .. judging them to be doing better at life than me. I hated on myself. I put ridiculous pressure on myself … I drove myself into a ridiculous state of crazy. Instead of showing love and patience like I needed, I became my own harshest critic. I ripped myself, my self esteem, everything to absolute shreds. I thank God for that horrible day. Because of that fall, I now stand tall today. I have a long way to go but I know the answer is not through harsh comparisons of virtual strangers. It is not through competing with other mums. It is through loving myself and recognising that we are all fighting a fight, a battle. By showing patience and love to me, I can more easily show it to others. By seeing my own battle, I can now see others. And we are warriors, beautiful warriors in a war the world is fighting with us.
By sharing my darkest moment, I hope to shine light on yours. Stop comparing, stop competing, just live. In the moment, in the ordinary. Find your heroism in the mundane. Stop searching for your big moment and just live. Really live like you’ve never lived before. The big moment will find you. Let go of all the bullshit. Let go of how the world tells you to be. To conform. Stand out. Shine. We are in this life together. We are all fighting together. If we stood together and simply recognised this … we would be unstoppable. Unstoppable in our battles. We need just stand together.
So I’m standing with you … will you stand with me?
We all have our own battles. Be it a managing a household, running a corporation, dealing with an illness, overcoming an injury, running a classroom, initiating a start-up, working two jobs, learning a new job, chairing a boardroom, coming out, completing an education, looking for a partner, planning a wedding, raising awareness of a cause, getting divorced, being bullied, being a carer, being a mum, dealing with ignorance of your situation, quitting an addiction, trying to have a baby, being pregnant, giving birth, losing weight, getting fit, making ends meet financially, finding time for friends, finding time for ourselves...
But our social media profiles look like galleries of perfection. Whether intentional or not, most of us are creating the perception through social media that our lives are perfect. Our Instagram feeds are largely filled with yummy meals, the flowers our boyfriends just gave us and glorious sunsets.
But we all have our battles, and sometimes seeing everyone else's "perfect" lives can make those battles a little harder to deal with.
Maybe it makes us feel a little isolated.
And maybe, because we don't know the truth, it's even causing us to create a culture where we think it's ok to tear each other down, instead of working together to build each other up.
Fighting a battle and not knowing there are others fighting alongside us can be tough. Seeing others fight alongside us gives us strength.
We are asking women (everyone from mums to media personalities, business women to bloggers) to share a “truth” about themselves, something that you wouldn't normally share on social media... We want you to show that we are all warriors with our own battles, And that we are in this together.
You can share your story, share what gives you strength, share how you see the bright side, share a cause that is close to your heart or simply tag a friends that are #beautifulwarriors in your eyes.
Post a selfie with warrior paint (which can be ANYTHING... vegimite... lipstick... suncream... glitter) along with your story and tag #beautifulwarriors
Share your story it not to gain sympathy, but perhaps for empathy or to raise awareness of an issue or just to make us smile. But overall, to show that that there are others fighting alongside us.
Individually we are warriors. Together we are an army
Follow along or share your story on Facebook or Instagram. #beautifulwarriors
Six months ago we came up with a concept of "warriors" as a theme for a photoshoot for Sunbella because, let's be honest; you need to have courage to carry a parasol (regardless of how stylish it is) and it is essentially a shield that can prevent some skin cancer battles.