Family

It's rough out there for people who don't love their body. This blogger wants to change that.

'Every single baby step toward positive body image and attitude should be celebrated.'

It's rough out there for people who don't love their body. This blogger wants to change that.

Posting these real photos of myself is one of the scariest things I've ever done.

These photos are untouched. All photos taken by Emil Costrut, provided by me.


But I'm doing it anyway, and here's why.

I'd love to be one of those people who doesn't care about what others say about me.

But when you're already insecure to begin with, having those insecurities mocked is a little bit difficult to overcome. I've been called "ugly," "fat," and "gross" many times over the years, both online and in "real life."

If you keep hearing these things often enough, you have to make quite a big effort to stop believing them; only then can you still feel beautiful.

Today, I feel beautiful.

I used to hear: Ugly. Fat. Gross. Stop Eating. Kill Yourself.

But it took some time to get here.

When I was little, I was skinny — the kind of skinny that caused people to jokingly ask my mom why she wasn't feeding me. Then, one New Year's Eve, I got a very bad case of food poisoning, which lead to my hospitalization.

The hormone they used to kick start my liver (which had failed) caused weight gain, so much so that a few months after leaving the hospital, I weighed almost twice as much as before.

I started feeling insecure about my body when I was in primary school.

Some people say small kids are angels, but I beg to differ. No one can be quite as cruel as a kid. I was bullied for my weight, for my teeth, for my style. At that age, it was very hard not to listen.

Even when I was a child, I always loved browsing through my mom's glossy magazines. They were a safe place for me for a long time, especially when I was being bullied.

However, no matter how many pages I flipped, I never saw anyone who looked like me. My body type was only given as a negative example, as something you had to get rid of, as something that was mocked by society. The "juiciest" news in tabloids, besides sex scandals, came when a celebrity gained weight.

As a developing teenager influenced by what society defined as a model and ideal body for women, I became obsessed with my weight.

There were several years during which I felt worthless, unlovable, and ugly because I thought the only thing that mattered was being skinny. At one point, it got so bad that whenever I entered a room, I would first analyze everyone to see if I was the heaviest in the room.

Even now, it's very hard for me to lose weight. That's why my biggest fear for years, since I've been blogging, was that people would see what I really looked like and judge me.

It's easy to hide a little extra weight with the right clothes, the right angles, and Photoshop. We've never edited anything excessively on my blog, Wings for Liberty. But from today on, I don't want to liquify anything at all, not even a little bit.


Why am I sharing these photos of myself?

Because I want curvy teenagers like me to be able to see girls like themselves, all prettied up in fancy clothes and photos.

I want them to feel proud of their bodies. Some days it's hard to not listen to the mean voices, but if you don't learn love yourself, who will?

It's not going to happen overnight. Dark thoughts tend to linger much longer than the good ones.

But every single baby step toward positive body image and attitude should be celebrated. Your beauty and value are represented by so much more than your body.

Now I see: Honest. Beautiful. Brave. Proud. Happy.

By posting these photos of myself, I'm facing my biggest fear so that I can kill, once and for all, my biggest insecurity. I am honest and unedited in these photos, both in my body and thoughts.

Most importantly, I'm proud of how I look.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

How we talk about Black Lives Matter protests across America is often a reflection of how we personally feel about the fight for racial equality itself. We're all biased toward our own preferences and a fractured news media hasn't helped things by skewing facts, emphasizing preferred narratives and neglecting important stories, oftentimes out of fear that they might alienate their increasingly partisan and entrenched audiences.

This has been painfully clear in how we report on and talk about the protests themselves. Are they organized by Antifa and angry mobs of BLM renegades hell bent on the destruction of everything wholesome about America? Or, are they entirely peaceful demonstrations in which only the law enforcement officers are the bad actors? The uncomfortable truth is that both extreme narratives ignore key facts. The overwhelming majority of protests have been peaceful.protests have been peaceful. The facts there are clear. And the police have also provoked acts of aggression against peaceful demonstrators, leading to injuries and unnecessary arrests. Yet, there have been glaring exceptions of vandalism, intimidation and violence in cities like Portland, Seattle, and most recently, Louisville. And while some go so far as to quite literally defend looting, that's a view far outside the mainstream of nearly all Americans across various age, racial and cultural demographics.

But what if we step away from the larger philosophical debate and narrow things down to one very important fact: the vast majority of those stirring division at protests are white.

And if you don't believe me, just listen to Durham, North Carolina's mayor and what he had to say about how white people are "hijacking" Breonna Taylor's legacy and transforming a movement that has suddenly split Americans after having near unanimous support just a few months ago.


Keep Reading Show less