Last year Kjerstin Gruys decided to go a year without looking in a mirror, including the entire time planning her wedding and the BIG day! When I read about her intriguing story in a women's magazine last year I immediately subscribed to her blog to follow along with her challenge.
Now that the year is over she says....
"Now I think a lot more about how I feel, than how I look."
I started my blog around the same time Kjerstin did, March 2011. She published hers right away, I wrote in mine for over a year before publishing. She was braver than I, or maybe just more ready to share herself and her story. Once you put yourself "out there" as a blogger, your stories live in cyber space and it's impossible to take them back. Especially if, like us, you are writing mostly about your life, it takes a kind of "Teflon" attitude that whatever feedback you get you will have to be resilient and let it bounce off you. (It's okay, you can't please everyone anyway).
She inspired me as I read some of her posts while writing mine. Our blogs are not about exactly the same thing. Kjerstin is a sociologist and Ph.D. student. I am in entertainment. However like most American women we both deal with issues of looks and body image and both talk about it in our blogs, to varying degrees.
I have never had an eating disorder, but have dieted several times like many others and have lost and gained the same 15 lbs over the past 20 years. I have found that for me, exercise and sports are a necessity in my life because if I do that regularly I feel energetic, attractive and confident! If I don't, it brings me down and pretty quickly. This blog is about her today, so I'll stop there for now.
Kjerstin has had a lifelong battle with body image and in her case an eating disorder and was brave enough to share her story. This is why I am blogging about her blog today, to share with others who struggle with this. Also, I see her going far with her seminars on image and fashion. She is trying to change from the inside out, society's perspective on women and beauty by going directly to the fashion and media industry and urging them to represent reality instead of "skeletons with skin" to model the clothes us normal size women buy and wear, for example.
She inspires me because I have always felt that the way the media and fashion industry portray these "perfect" images of women is, whether intended or not, actually a form of oppression. It makes many women feel less than they are. This can affect someone not only because they can develop an eating disorder, but because if you place so much of your value on looks and on top of that don't feel like you look good enough, it can affect your choices and take your focus away from the what you do have to offer. As consumers, we are the ones with all of the power, and if we start to stand our ground, things will change for the better.
A recent news feature about Kjerstin's personal story and her efforts to change society's perception of beauty:
Here's her blog:
A Year Without Mirrors