Friday, October 31, 2014

Story behind the blog


Today:

The issues of negative body image face young kids, girls and women from all cultures and from all walks of life.

The more I worked in the theatre scene in New York, the more I traveled with the mentalfitness, inc. nonprofit and the more I taught yoga and mindfulness, the more I realized that these issues were frighteningly universal.

Over the last four years, I have been writing a book called Healthy Selfitude and in it, I provide exercises that teach self-acceptance through an array of arts and mindfulness techniques.  It was while I was writing this book with a clinical psychologist (Dr. Laura Lees), that I realized there needs to be a single place where individuals can come together to offer one united message through our diverse voices. That message is simple — self-acceptance.

When Heather approached me and offered to donate the WeAreTheRealDeal site to our nonprofit organization, I instantly hoped this might be a way to try out that universe.  I contacted my mentors, friends and colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds.  You’ll find on the site body image bloggers, psychologists, therapists, poets, dancers, musicians, artists, yogis, martial artists and chefs.  The goal is that through their unique voices, they help teach the old and young to embrace self-acceptance.  The hope is that there is at least one Contributor for everyone — at least one writer who can reach every audience member.

Our Assistant Editor, Tracy T and I are excited to hear what you think.  Reach out to us at: WeRTheRealDeal@gmail.com.

~Robyn Hussa, Editor of WATRD
Founder of mentalfitness, inc.

 

The Formative Years:

This is one crazy grass roots effort that almost never came to be.

It all started with frustration.

I was sick of talk, talk, talking on my blog about body image issues. After blogging for over 3 years on the same topic, you’ve said it all, done it all, seen it all. I wanted action or I wanted out.

As I stewed, I stumbled upon blog posts from other mothers who were moaning and groaning about their own body image issues. These ladies were letting it fly, no holds barred, ripping themselves to shred’s — fat this, fat that, cellulite thighs, wrinkled face, saggy boobs, and my personal favorite the good ole’ fat ass. Their community chimed in with their own negative opinions of themselves, followed by words of support for the blogger.

As I read the diatribes I immediately thought;

“What if their kids read their self hatred posts? How would it impact their own body image? Is it possible they realize this and just not care? What about all the other youth in their life – nieces, cousins, sisters, etc – is this the role model they want to be?

WeAreTheRealDeal Session Friday 24th 1:15-2:30

The thoughts got me hyperventilating, but this time, instead of firing off yet another rant, I funneled my negative energy into something productive. Something that paid off.

Turns out BlogHer was having a competition of sorts called Room of Your Own (ROYO). ROYO allows BlogHer members to post their ideas for a conference session, and then members vote on the one they would be likely to attend at the BlogHer Conference. So, I whipped up a description of the idea I had in mind:

Blogs & Body Image: What are we teaching our kids?

I stuck a chord.

Dove Campaign For Real Beauty

Dove Campaign For Real Beauty

The session was not only selected, it received the second highest ranking among 75+ submissions. Match this with the fact that the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty agreed to sponsor the session, and we were golden. Things don’t just come together like this.  Not in my world anyway, so I tend to believe this stuff happens for a reason.

Then it was freak out city.

“What the hell have I done? I can’t do this. I’m way the heck too busy. I’m not into it that much, plus I am tired as hell (had mono in the midst of all this saga)….so I contemplated dumping the whole thing.

No dice.

Along came Carla, the phenomenal-non-stop-energy-enthusiasm-fitness-freak of a blogger MizFit, to knock me into reality. She got my adrenaline pumping again. Plus, we had the panelists on board;

Claire Mysko offered her Healthy Beauty Pledge as a way to call for “action” on this body image revolution we were devising.

Roni stepped in to help with graphics and building the blog.

Kate Harding was put in front of my face one morning as I read the Chicago Tribune.  As I read about the Queen of the Fat-o-Sphere, I fired up my laptop and contacted her to join us.

Here’s the kicker about this panel;

None of us have met.

Our first face to face meeting will take place just a few hours before the session.

Bloggers out there will get this, others will think we are nuts. Its a weird thing that happens out there in the blogosphere, relationships grow fast, connections drive actions, and before you know it you are part of this amazing group of individuals who all have the same passion. None of this would even be remotely possible without the web (now let’s hope they don’t turn out to be complete freaks).

But hey, what’s life without taking chances?

———

We hope you enjoy WeAreTheRealDeal.com….I guarantee you will find here not just interesting conversation, but many, many, new friends.

Keep it real,

Founder WeAreTheRealDeal.com*

Heather Blessington

aka mamaV

*A blog created over a long weekend with little sleep,  kids jumping on top of me, a husband keeping the lattes flowing, and a great team of simply fabulous women.

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