Proud2Bme | I Speak

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I Speak

By Victoria Renard--It’s 7:50am on the first day of school as students began to pour into the hallway. Joyous noises of friends being reunited fill the space as we wait in the hallway waiting for the doors to unlock. In the midst of all the noise I happen to pick up on a conversation next to me. “I am so ugly. Seriously I need to do something about this.”

Appalled I look over only to see one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. As she continued to talk negatively about her appearance and weight my mind stopped. I didn’t want to hear anymore.

In that moment I had a choice to make. A choice to hide, to block out all of the words being said from this group of girls, and to hide from the reality that their conversation was not only self destructive to themselves, but had a huge impact on my health and recovery.

I could  let these girls continue to talk negatively about themselves and potentially skew the way others viewed themselves, or I could speak up. I could choose to tell these girls the impact their words were having on me.

At this point in my life I was in a stable place in my recovery. If I had been listening to this conversation earlier on, I am pretty sure it would have thrown me into a relapse. But at that moment I was stronger and in tune with the truth of who I truly am. I knew I could walk away able to withstand and survive the comments without letting it affect my actions.

But was surviving enough? Why just survive when I could stand up for what I believed in and help others not to be exposed to comments like this in the future? I stood up with shaking knees and walked up to the group of girls. As I briefly explained my story and the impact their words could have had on me, my knees stopped shaking and my confidence rose. The girls apologized and said they had never thought about how their negative self-talk could impact the way others viewed themselves.

I left radiating. This one small encounter left me with a newfound sense of confidence and passion for not just surviving, but thriving. I wasn’t just in recovery, I was in victory. This one event led to more encounters and eventually a lifestyle of sharing my personal testimony and empowering others.

I choose to speak out and share my story because I want others to know they are not defined by their size, appearance, or what others think about them. I speak because I want those who are struggling to know that freedom is possible and there is hope for recovery.

The next time you hear someone talk negatively about themselves or someone else, I challenge you to kindly address their comments. Speak truth into the situation, explain the impact these words can have, and why you choose to not talk that way. By speaking up to bring light to the truth, we can work together to create a lasting impact in our schools, communities, states and nation.

Photo via here

About this blogger: Victoria is an energetic and fun-loving senior obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Dance and Arts Management and a minor in Business Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma City University. As the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Eating Disorders Association, she continues to pursue her mission of spreading ED awareness. In her free time, Victoria enjoys being actively engaged at her church, traveling, dancing, hiking and anything that involves being outside!

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.