When I received the press release and video link to the?"What's your #BeautyLegacy" campaign by Dove, I watched it in awe of the responsibility it takes to be a parent to a young child (I don't believe only girls have self esteem or even beauty issues), but I couldn't relate and set the email aside.
I'm not a mom. I've never wanted to be one. It's one of those unexplained life choice I've given up ?trying to get the world around me to understand. I'm an aunty, but only to a pack of boys, so I get a free ticket on this #BeautyLegacy thing. No?
Of course not!
I don't voice it often, but I have huge issues with the abuse of social media as a soapbox for people's causes, now that it's become an opportunity to grab their moment of limelight. I get asked to be involved in so many, because let's not kid, I have a following and I have a voice that people pay attention to.
It was when I went to the Dove Self Esteem Project website, that I had two realisation.
Everyone behind this project means it. They aren't asking for a Facebook selfie or a silly challenge. They are asking people to get involved, to impact the closest people around them and spread the legacy from there.
Then I saw that they aren't asking just parents and teachers (or the usual, celebrities) to get involved in a vital introduction to the school curriculum ... they are asking mentors too. They have real stories, with real people and I'm a big fan of real!
I have worked for years to be noticed as a mentor. That's the whole essence of Project Me. So I watched the video again ...
I grew up as the ugly duckling in my family. I was even teased about it. I had braces, glasses and was the only sibling of 5 who got acne.
I managed to wangle my way into the cool group at school, but remained the nerd among them. From my childhood I can tell you many stories that left permanent scars on my esteem, with some that still impact my worth today. They definitely impact my relationship issues ... of which there are many. Ask any guy who has tried to love me and they will tell you that I get so easily wounded by any lighthearted, playful comment that may touch the memory of the teasing I went through by the people I expected to love me most.
When I was in primary school, the boys used to rate the girls in a stupid game. They would write down the names, score the girls and then add up the scores. I never got a low score ... because I was never put on the list. I'm nearly 42 years old and I will forever carry that ugly scar.
I'm not ugly! I'm actually damn beautiful!
My weight has been the biggest tell tale sign of my injured esteem, but I have finally settled into loving my sexier, fuller self. I'm sure there are still nasty boys and girls out there who call me fat, but with age, a good dose of therapy and enough "I don't give a shit" affirmations, I really don't care.
What I do care about is me and that's the most gorgeous #BeautyLegacy I can possibly think to pass on to anyone. I literally started caring about me. I went from being a frumpish, overweight, apathetic girl and blossomed into a woman who truly believes that how we treat ourselves is how the world will treat us in return. I paint my nails, style my hair every day, put on body lotion (the Dove kind), I dance around my room when I don't have time to go to gym and smile at myself in the mirror, even on my busiest day.
I have a reputation for being this crazy, busy, business woman ... and I am! What no one realises is that I take time, every single day, for ME! I meant it when I made myself my own project and I think without it I would be a frazzled mess, workaholic, unpretty, bitter and resentful person.
So here is my #BeautyLegacy, as I watch the sunrise and have chosen to take my "me time" to write this blog post ...
We are beautiful from the day we are born. It is irrelevant what the rest of the world defines as beautiful. Beauty starts from deeper than just skin deep. It starts from the simple act of "being nice, being kind". Sadly, that's not the way of the world and everyone is a critic, who believes that the meanest response will gain the most attention ... and that's what we all want ... attention! I'm 41, but I look like I'm in my early 30 and when people ask me why I look so young, I tell them it's because I'm kind and loving and it shows all over. Okay, genes pay a part, but for the most part, just remain the bigger, happier, decent person. This post may not even be read by a young girl or boy out there, but it made me stop and be grateful that I got through my youth with the few scars I did. It worries me that the world has become a meaner place and so I've signed up for the Dove Self Esteem MENTOR role. I have no idea what that means today, but hopefully one day I will be able share my "Project Me" story and show the world that I didn't have to be a mom to touch a child's life!
Now I ask you, What's your #BeautyLegacy?
If you are a blogger, I would love for you to write one and share it with DOVE, using the hashtag.
I do hope you watch the Dove Legacy YouTube video, check out the Self Esteem Project (and sign up) and follow Dove on Twitter and Facebook.
Dear Dove, thanks for choosing me to be a part of your journey. It took me a while to realise my worth, but that's how it goes with self esteem ... whether you're 14 or 42!