After years of battling a disordered relationship with food and how I saw my body I started to really do the work of body image and self acceptance. By far the hardest part of recovery. Everywhere you look our media and society are saturated with images telling and showing us the way we are supposed to look. As women we are forever too thin, too fat, too loud, too annoying, too quiet. We can’t gain too much weight in pregnancy and we must lose it right away. We must have small waists and big breasts and we are killing ourselves to obtain these ridiculous ideals. The more I dove into this work the more I realized that true confidence and self acceptance in myself could not be achieved until I accepted myself 100% for the way I already was. I already knew I wanted to help other women, it has been my goal since publicly disclosing my struggles with my eating disorder but I decided I wanted to reach out to my fellow local woman; I wanted to start a movement. Thus The Way You Are Project was born. I want other “normal” women of all shapes and sizes like myself to look in the mirror and be okay with themselves the way they are. In my experience I have found that when we open up and share our stories of struggle we ignite and encourage others to do the same, thus change is born. The women I collaborated with to form this shoot all had some ties to body positivity. Some like me were deeply passionate about it already, others knew it was the road they wanted to take for the future, and a few of them were living the notion already without even knowing it. We came together for this project to share our stories of hurt, betrayal, and most importantly strength to hopefully reach others to love themselves, just as they are.
All of our participants thought of a phrase that either held importance to them within this movement or was something someone had said to them in the past. I felt this aspect was important because it highlights the incredible damage that our words can do to others and it also conveys the reliability of this issue. No one is immune from suffering from body image issues in our fat phobic society, yes even thin women.