Embody Love Movement
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Dancing has always been my passion. I cannot put into words the feeling dancing gives me. I have poured my life into dancing and choreographing. Unfortunately, my passion and love for what I love brought out a part of me that I never knew existed. Throughout middle school, I suffered from an eating disorder. Looking back on it, I did it because I wanted to be the best. Constantly in the dance world you are told “you don’t have enough technique”, “you aren’t tall enough”,  “you don’t have the look we are trying to portray for this piece”. I vividly remember being taken into the back of the studio with my fellow dancers, and one by one we were to step onto the scale and our director would tell us how much weight we needed to lose. Almost all of my dancer friends were not eating correctly, just like me. We struggled with wanting to achieve our dreams and figuring out the right way to do it. I can remember walking into a Saturday afternoon rehearsal and my friend was holding a milkshake from lunch. Our director looked at her and said, “either throw it up or throw it out”. We were socialized to believe that to be the best we must take these measures. After years of hiding this from my parens the truth from my parents, I came clean about what I had been doing. They quickly got me into treatment and took me out of that studio.  I came back as as a stronger dancer and I would argue a stronger person. Although I do not suffer from the disorder anymore I struggle every single day with accepting my body the way it is.

            Hearing the accounts of the those that spoke at the Embody Love talk brought me back to a very dark place. It has always been extremely hard for me to admit to others that I suffered from an eating disorder. I always felt that people would view me as weak or a cheater, trying to cheat my way to the top. However, after hearing the stories of others’ journey to loving their body has made it a lot easier to talk about my own journey. Between the night of the talk and now I have shared my story with others. It was extremely comforting knowing that others have gone through similar struggles. It really showed me that I need to be kinder to myself and embrace my body for what it is. I love that the Embody Love Movement is speaking to younger girls, showing them that beauty comes from within. I wish when I was younger that I had a group of people that told me this. This movement is absolutely beautiful and so inspiring.

            Meeting and hearing Stacy Nadeau speak was such an amazing   experience. Nadeau spoke about her part in the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. It was awesome to hear about her experiences with the five other women and the Dove team. That campaign has touched so many lives and is helping to change the way media portrays the human body. What really touched me was when she spoke about the vital role we each play in changing the way women view themselves. For example, if you bring yourself down you are in turn bringing down another person. She really opened my eyes to the fact that we need to change the vocabulary we use to describe our bodies. Women need to end “Fat Talk”. She emphasized the fact that we are set up for disappointment by society. We are constantly fed these photo shopped images of celebrities and models. I know, personally, they influence the way I have viewed my body. They falsely portray women. Stacy mentioned that a Harvard study revealed that only 2 percent of women feel comfortable calling themselves beautiful. That sickens me. It sickens me because that means so, so many women are in pain and struggling with their body image, just as I have. I love that she promoted all around healthy living. It is not about being skinny or toned or tan. Beauty comes from being healthy, both mentally and physically. Hearing Stacy speak really empowered me to think differently about my vision of “beauty”.

            After attending these two events, I can honestly say that I have been inspired and challenged to help change women’s view of beauty. I want to be an active part of the movement to end negative body image and “Fat Talk”. Even after years of being over my struggle with eating properly up until these talks I wasn’t okay with accepting myself for who I was. But I can finally say that I am proud of my body and I am finally okay with speaking about my struggles. I hope that one day sharing my story will help someone as much as these two events have helped me.