Good morning everyone! Today’s the day I’ve been teasing y’all about for a while now :) This post could get a little wordy, but please read all the way through since this is something that is very near and dear to my heart.
If you’ve been reading Heather’s Dish for a while now, or even if you’ve just stopped by to check out the “About Me” section, you have probably read about the fact that I struggled with body image issues and disordered eating for 14 years of my very short life. I could go into detail here on how horrible it was physically, emotionally, relationally, etc; however, the hardest part of it all to swallow now is the realization that for 14 years I had no idea that I was beautiful exactly how I am. It’s not for lack of people telling me though. I have the most incredible family a girl could ask for, and my husband tells me every day that I’m gorgeous. The thing is that internally I was unable to see the beauty in myself and constantly compared myself to others.
As Nate and I continue to embark on the photography journey, we hear almost constantly the phrase, “Oh, you can just PhotoShop that out, right?” And I’ll be honest…when it comes down to it, PhotoShop is not a bad thing. When people pay for photographs they want to see the best possible version of themselves, and that’s OK. What makes me sad about it though is when I see videos like the one below from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and see the behind-the-scenes of what goes into making models and celebrities look the way they do:
Again, I’m not harping on PhotoShop or even the people who utilize it. The thing that kills me about this is the fact that young girls and women of all shapes and sizes will see photos that are touched up like this all over the world and believe that they are not beautiful because they don’t look like that. Research has shown that up to 90% of women are unhappy with the way that they look. These women and girls will go through their lives not ever truly believing that they are incredibly beautiful just as they are.
What I want to do is start a CELEBRATION of our natural beauty. What if we took things like wrinkles, smile lines, gray hair, blond eyelashes, crooked teeth, crooked noses, shorter necks, etc. and saw the beauty and the LIFE in them?
I have started FacesofBeauty.org as a place to post pictures of real women (and men!) and the beauty within them. It’s very simple actually: every post will feature one beautiful person (that’s YOU!) with a headshot that follows the following guidelines:
- must be wearing minimal to no make-up (no colored eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc)
- cannot have any editing of any kind;
- must be at least 1200 pixels on the long side of the photo.
Each photo should be accompanied with a 500-word or less description of what you think is beautiful about you and why, the story of your journey to self-love, and/or what defines beauty to you. Email the photo and paragraph to me at heathersdish [at] gmail [dot] com. Also, if you’d like to be linked to your blog just include the URL for it as well.
My prayer is that everyone who reads this today will join this celebration and spread the word to their friends and families. That you would email me your photo and paragraph, then copy this link and email it out in mass quantities and that the world would be moved by our transparency and celebration of the beauty that we all have! This is my formal request…bring on the emails!
I understand that I’m asking everyone who comes across this blog to participate, and that by participating you are taking a chance. You’re putting yourself out there. You’re exposing yourself. You’re making yourself known. But what you’re also doing is encouraging others to truly look inside themselves and see that they are beautiful as well. It is my belief that life is too short for anyone to take another 14 years to learn to love themselves, so let’s celebrate it now!
Do you believe that you are truly beautiful?