She was hiding an invisible illness. When she revealed it, it changed everything.
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Maybelline New York Beauty & Beyond

From an outsider's perspective, Bethany Schrock's life looked pretty perfect.

Like many other photographers, she uses social media as her primary marketing tool, and thus fastidiously curates her work and image for these visual platforms.

Photo via Upworthy.


However, on the inside, Bethany was dealing with a lot of pain.

She had a brain tumor that was sitting on her spinal chord and optic nerve. It caused her to have seizures and even affected her ability to move the left side of her body. So while she appeared fine to most people, her invisible illness was taking an enormous toll on her.

If she didn't have surgery to remove the tumor soon, her doctors told her things would only get worse.

“If I didn’t get the surgery I would lose vision and a lot of other scary things," she says.

So Bethany went through intensive surgery to have her tumor removed, and suddenly her illness was no longer invisible.

Photo via Bethany Schrock.

However, while the experience was certainly difficult, she wasn't upset about people getting to see her pain. In fact, she embraced it.

“Having a scar was almost kind of like a badge of, ‘hey I’ve been through stuff. I am sick,'" explains Bethany.

So she started posting close up, bold photos of her scar on her social media platforms for all to see. Bethany wanted to be transparent with her audience and finally show them that beauty doesn't have to mean looking "perfect." Along with the photos, she wrote open and honest messages about health and being sick.

Photo via Bethany Schrock.

Nothing could have prepared her for the responses she received in return.

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were saying, ‘hey, me too.'"

What's more, as Bethany began to recover and get back to her life, she noticed that small things, like putting on Maybelline mascara and brow gel, helped her truly embrace who she is now.

"It was the first time I finally felt like, okay, it can get better."

The whole experience inspired her to start a photography project where she photographs people who are also living with invisible illnesses.

But she doesn't just take and post their pictures — she distresses them in a way that shows the world what they're dealing inside. So for example, when Bethany photographed a woman with nerve pain, she burned parts of the photo to show what that pain might look like.

Photo via Upworthy.

“I really think pain is the number one thing that connects people," says Bethany.

Everyone deals with pain in some form or another throughout their life, but that doesn't mean they're any less beautiful for it. In fact, Bethany believes that living with pain can make you even more beautiful.

"It’s like, you’ve been through stuff," she says. "I think the people who are able to admit that are really beautiful."

Learn more about Bethany's story and work the video below:

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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