#BODYPOSITIVITY Campaign With @kancaite from @lessdrama.agency, A New Agency in Town
- Rugile, please tell us about your relationship with your body in the past.
I remember feeling rather negative about my body image since I was a kid. I was a cute round shaped 10 year old, and in fourth grade – which sounds like absolute madness now – I had the idea that I need to change my body so I started dieting. As a child, you don‘t get to refuse to eat what your grandma makes for you, so you try to eat as little as possible. I felt guilty about every bite I took, I felt sad seeing myself in the mirror. I compared myself to beautiful skinny grown up women on TV and magazines – things like that really got into my head so I felt the constant need to change my body. Also, I never told that to anyone, I kept it like a secret, so no adults could help me.
As years passed, I kinda grew out of it naturally and wasn‘t thinking much about weight, but as a 16-17 year old after a series of unfortunate events, I decided I must get extremely skinny. I did. It did not make me any happier or confident though.
- What was the breakthrough moment when you realized this pressure to be skinny is bullshit and that you gotta start loving yourself? Do you remember the exact day?
Well, when I got skinny, I realized it was all an illusion – as I mentioned, it did not make me any prettier or happier. People did not start liking me more. My grades did not get better. I guess it‘s the realization that nobody sees you as a scale number – people see the whole „you“, the person you are, which is much more than how much you weigh.
But it did not happen overnight, there was no exact moment – it was a long and rather painful process. Sometimes, even now, I get the ideas of becoming skinny again – but I don‘t start hating myself for it, I just let those thoughts pass. I realize it‘s not me, it‘s not what I want – it‘s what the media tells me to do. Advertising makes you feel bad – too fat, too hairy, too imperfect - on purpose, so that you‘d buy something to make yourself feel better and become more like the “ideal“ people on ads. I guess I also realized that.
- How do you keep that self-love game going? What are your self-care and mental health practices? Also, how do you nurture and appreciate your body?
First, I get to know my emotions – it‘s a thing I learned in therapy. When a negative thought about my image pops into my head, I acknowledge it: I realize there must be a reason why I got this exact mean idea and then I start looking for it. Was it something negative someone said about someone‘s body? Am I comparing myself to other women once again? Am I feeling bad about something not looks related and I just project the worry to my appereance? Eventually I find the answer and I feel great about myself again. If I don‘t, I meditate – I calm my body and mind that way and the answer comes itself.
No „instagram self care“ ideas can make you feel better – there are no magic sheet masks, no healing bubble baths, no positivity inducing mimosas. I enjoy all of it – but when I feel down, any of it does not make me feel better about myself. Self care is only succesful if it comes from your head – when you have the right thoughts. I realize that each one of us is beautiful in our own way, everybody has flaws (and if it seems that someone does not, believe me, they do, it‘s just that some of us are better at hiding it), and there is no need to be jealous of anyone else‘s appereance – to acknowledge your own unique beauty, you must celebrate all the ways others are beautiful.
Ironically I started appreciating eating a healthy, balanced diet only when I came to terms with my own body. When I was trying to get skinny, I would eat something completely unsatisfying and bland and then I‘d binge eat for two days, then I felt terrible about it. Now when I started eating intuitively, I eat so much healthier – it makes me feel great. Also the occasional less nutritious foods don‘t make me feel guilty any more.
- What are your favourite parts of your body?
I appreciate every part of it so I really can‘t choose one. I love my sometimes untamable and puffy hair, love my freckled nose, my double chin because I look funny in most selfies, I love my arms I used to hide because of keratosis piliaris (there is no normal title for it sorry) that help me do things, I love my breasts which seemed too small when I was a teenager but they seem just perfect now, I love my squishy Rubenesque belly, I love my touching thighs and strong legs that carry me round. I am thankful for each and every part of my body.
- What are your favorite parts of your personality?
I am extremely passionate about things I love: whether it‘s a person I adore or the things I do. I can give my whole self, attention and work towards it. Also that I‘m curious and always eager to learn new things. Also some time ago I noticed that I spend a huge part of my time daydreaming. Being a dreamer makes me happy – it‘s a great trait making yourself feel better.
- What's your favourite quote to live by?
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies- "God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Read it in „The Man Without a Country“ when I was a teenager and haven‘t read anything wiser and simpler than this since.
- How not to get overwhelmed by all those social media and general media "skinny you" "beach body" standards? What would you advise to our readers?
Well, first, you must understand that it‘s just business. Women always wanted to look like other women. Media just wants us to feel less beautiful so that we‘d buy things they make us think “beautiful“ women have so that we‘d feel prettier ourselves.
Some people say it‘s best to run away from people or places that make you feel bad about yourself. It‘s true at some point, but in general I must disagree – I think you should start understanding why someone‘s being mean about someone else‘s body image. The more you think, the more you realize the negative person feels insecure about his or her own looks. Then you can tell the negative person something nice about their looks. In some time you‘ll start noticing the person itself has became much more positive and loving. You got to spread the love yourself to see the change!
Also the other thing I learned - I guess you just have to celebrate other womens‘ beauty. Seeing skinny, „beach body ready“ women should not make you feel any worse or jealous. You must see it as someone who‘s equally as precious and beautiful as you are - someone as human as you. That‘s when you start appreciating your own looks.
- When do you feel most beautiful?
I don‘t know why, but I feel the prettiest when I work hard, when I can‘t feel my legs at the end of the day. When I‘m productive, I‘m living my life to the fullest. I feel strong, powerful and therefore it somehow makes me feel confident and beautiful.
- Anything else you would like to share? Thank you for your time.
Focus on what‘s truly important in life: your goals, relationships, your own personality. Keep your body healthy, but most importantly don‘t forget to keep your mind healthy, your thoughts healthy. Find a mindful way to stay sane. If you feel like you can‘t do it on your own, seek for help. Self love and acceptance will come naturally.