Bona Fide. Being Real.
But if we are being real, then let's be really real. We often have a mask on, a perfected side of ourselves that we show the world. It’s hard not to with all the social media platforms at our finger tips, photoshopped & airbrushed models we see when we are checking out at the grocery store in our sweats, & not to mention the insane amount of pressure that subtly makes us feel inadequate in every way… it’s hard to feel good enough, worthy enough, & loved enough just as we are! Now more than ever, we get a front row seat into other peoples lives & it would be impossible not to compare ours to theirs. “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
We have our perfected side, the side of ourselves that is the least like our truest self. We have our “real" side, the side that we share when we want to open up, get deep, be vulnerable. Then we have our really real side that we rarely share with anyone. When we can share that part of us, the really real, ugly, stuff that might make people think of us differently or even gasp… that's when we are really living bona fide. There will always be a constant flow of things around us that make us feel like we need to be more, do more; but when we can take off the masks, filters, & edits (no matter what people might think)... that's when we are living true to ourselves. Living with nothing to hide, & vulnerably sharing the deepest parts of our insecurities, in hopes of helping someone… that's when we are being true to ourselves.
My really real side is something that my husband, who is my best friend & safe place, doesn't even know about me. Not because he would be mad or angry… no. It really has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with me: my heart, feeling entitled to more than what I have, the need to feel good enough, worthy enough, pretty enough. It’s a reflection of how I view myself & the brokenness that is there.
I have always struggled with wanting to be smaller & prettier… beautiful. My senior year in high school, I battled with an eating disorder that was damaging in every way. It took so much away from me. Looking back, this struggle brought me to my greatest strengths, but only because I let my struggle became my story, that I shared with the world in hopes of helping even just one girl. At one point, my eating disorder was my really real side & it was a secret that I was ok with taking to the grave with me. But we grow & change, & our deepest secrets die if we don't keep them locked up inside behind the masks, filters, & edits. I have shared this countless times & I am not ashamed by it. But if I am getting past that & down into the dirty stuff in my life right now… although it doesn’t look the same, I still struggle with body image, beauty, & control.
If I feel ugly, it can completely ruin my day & in a split second I question my beauty all together. But isn't beauty more than the way we look? How can I question my beauty based on something that is the smallest factor of true beauty? "If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies... how very different our ideals of beauty would be."
It seems like I am living a bona fide life… when you look at my Instagram, you will see an "honest" feed about my struggles with type 1 diabetes, my dreams to have kids someday, inspiring quotes, & a handful of picture of myself........................ that I have edited to make myself feel more beautiful. If I take a picture & I don’t think I look good enough, I don’t hesitate for one second before I am editing it to make me look "better"! I have my own set of scary standards... that usually include making myself smaller, patching my pimples, & defining my freckles. It started out harmless, I would edit my arms just a little bit or make my the curves of my stomach smaller, but a little here and a little there & over time it has altered my perception of beauty.
Every time I edit a picture, whether to make my arms a bit thinner or my waistline more narrow… I am saying I am not good enough the way I am. Yet, I don’t believe that at all. Oh, it's just a little nip & tuck on my arms (just a little)… it can’t hurt anyone. True, maybe it won’t hurt anyone, but it surely hurts me & my view of myself. It hurts the control we have to inspire girls to think of their bodies as beautiful no matter what shape, size, or weight they are. I am passionate about telling girls that they are beautiful & unique & perfect just the way they are; but for me, it's different... it's not enough. If I don't think I am pretty without nipping and tucking my arms, then how do I expect them to feel pretty in their own skin.
Absolutely no more! I want girls to be able to look at me & really see me “imperfections and all”. I want my life to be an example that we don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. There is so much unique beauty in each of us, if we just open our eyes & search for it. None of the photos on my instagram or blog or anything for that matter will be re-touched. Raw. Honest. Finding the beauty that is already there, without the need to re-touch it. Finding beauty in my imperfections instead of editing them away.
Feel good about the unedited version of yourself.
Let the world see you without filters.
Be rooted in truth, rooted in self-love, rooted in confidence.
Put yourself out there & be the reason the worlds perception of beauty is changed.
Accept your flaws & imperfections.
Be proud of the things that make you unique.
Love your curves or lack-there-of.
I think Jennifer Lawrence (from the movie The Hunger Games) is beyond beautiful, but I would be silly to think it was her outer beauty alone that drew me to her. She is beautiful, but the confidence she has in her body image, that really draws me to her. In an interview she said, “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress. I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, 'oh I want to look like Katniss, so Im going to skip dinner'.”
If I told you, I thought I was beautiful I would be lying. I have a hard time loving myself & not being critical about something... anything! Yeah, sometimes I feel cute or pretty, but more often than not, I look in the mirror & wish for a different body. Sometimes when I look at my arms I wish the “reshape” tool was a real thing so I could make my arms look how I think they should. How totally screwed up. Typing those words out on my computer, makes this real, really sad… there is no one else in the world with a body just like mine & I would be willing to throw it away to have a different one, someone else’s; one that's no longer unique to me, one that fits the mold.
I knew when the girls behind Bona Fide asked me to write a post for their blog, that I was going to have to get really real. Get down & dirty into my little secret. But, oh how thankful I am for it. I knew when I started to write, I would have to be true to you & to myself, & with that I would have to make a promise not to re-touch my photos no matter how bad I wanted to.
Bona Fide: (adj) not counterfeit or copied.
Real: (adj) fact, actual, true
Genuine: (adj) not fake, not pretended, undisputed credibility
We all have struggles & insecurities, & I choose to bring them them out into the open, so that you know you’re not alone. We have an opportunity to kill the worlds completely altered ideas of beauty & replace them with ideals of grace, self-love, confidence, & honesty. From here on out, what you see is what you get, & I will intentionally aim to fall in love with every inch of my body... un-edited & un-touched.
You are beautiful JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
You are good enough JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
You are loved JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
You are ___________ JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
xoxo, Brooklyn Powell
Brooklyn— I think we all can relate to EVERY WORD you said. Especially myself. Thank you for getting vulnerable, raw and bona fide with us! We are so inspired and happy that you were bold and brave enough to tell us your "secrets". Body image is something that we all struggle with, including men and even children! It is so important for us to be real with ourselves and this world that promotes perfectionism. Because at the end of the day, none of us our perfect and we are striving to be better each day. Let's make sure to feed our minds with healthy images and thoughts about ourselves. We are all unique and beautiful, and like Brooklyn said, you are beautiful just the way YOU are! xo | Laura
Brooklyn also created a FREE DOWNLOAD in our shop that says "love yourself just the way you are". Thank you, thank you for creating this free print for us all to be inspired and live by!