First, let’s get the obvious out of the way:
You are beautiful.
You are awesome.
You are perfect and incredible just the way you are right this very minute.
Even if you have health goals to reach or addictions to kick or mental health issues to address, even if you are struggling with your sexual identity or infertility or coming to terms with your past in order to make your future is as bright and as beautiful as you know it can be…right now…you are enough.
I firmly believe that self-acceptance and a true love of self must come before we can make positive change happen, even if the change is simply being able to look in the mirror without judgement. Knowing our power is so very important. Loving who we are in the moment is even more so.
This, my friends, is the basis for a new anthology I am working on. The working title, Strong like Butterfly: A Collection About Self-Love & Body Image, comes from an essay in the anthology written by my best friend in which she speaks about being a survivor of domestic abuse. She tells us how one must never touch the wings of a newly hatched butterfly, no matter how fragile or in need of help it may seem, because the butterfly is stronger than it looks. When it’s ready, the butterfly can, and will, fly.
I am self-publishing Strong like Butterfly, and am proud to say that many of the incredible writers I have approached have already signed on to be part of the project. The stories they share will run the gamut from body image to sexuality to new motherhood to mental illness, with each unique voice reminding us all that we are just as strong as we need to be to soar.
I have started a crowdfunding campaign on Fund Dreamer, a platform dedicated to the causes of women and minorities, in order to make this book a reality. My goals include producing a professional quality book, from copy-editing to layout to cover design, the ability to pay each of my writers for their work to show recognition for the value of their contributions, and access to the proper promotional channels in order to bring the finished product to a wider audience. That last part includes plans for travel to multiple locations for book launch events and book readings and signings with as many contributors as possible, because connecting with each other and with our intended audience is crucial to the success of this book. It's a lot. But I firmly believe in what I am doing and that it is possible.
My own story is one of body dysmporphia, eating disorders, and a burning desire to break the cycle of self-hate and self-destruction before it becomes my daughter’s reality. I even wrote a Mostly Funny, Sometimes Not book about it called BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane. I won’t lie; I’m not fixed and I don’t think I’ll ever truly will be. The Eating disordered mindset is one that can never truly be escaped and when one says they are in recovery, most likely they mean that they are no longer actively practicing the disordered behavior. Every day, though, we wake up and remind ourselves that we are worthy of self-care and self-love and to treat our bodies with respect. Every day, I tell myself that even if I want to destroy myself, I’m not mine alone to destroy. I’ve got a husband who loves me and a little girl watching my every move. My todays will become her tomorrows.
I urge you to click the Strong like Butterfly campaign link and to make a donation supporting the publication of this anthology. No amount is too small and will be appreciated. For those interested in learning about the donor awards I’ve set up for this campaign, please be sure to check those out on the right hand side of the campaign page.
I’ll be sharing regular updates on the blog and via my various social media channels, as well on the SLB Fund Dreamer page itself. You’ll learn about who is contributing, have the opportunity to read a few excerpts from selected essays, and more. I’m so very excited and even more determined to make this happen. I hope you are, too.