When I was twelve I stood by my middle school locker singing the song to a popular diet shake commercial. And was actually looking forward to going home and drinking it in hopes that my waist would shrink like the model on tv.
When I was in high school I would only eat one fat free granola bar at lunch time for fear of getting fat. And dream of returning to school after Christmas break ten, fifteen pounds lighter and attracting the attention of everyone I knew.
I didn’t have an eating disorder or a weight problem. In fact during this entire time I was quite thin at 5’10″ and less than 130 lbs. But my interpretation of myself was skewed and completely out of touch with reality. Which unfortunately is really quite normal for women these days.
How could it not be? With television shows and magazine covers populated largely by perfect thin and fabulous bodies. Not to mention the seemingly effortless hair and makeup that probably took a whole team to put together.
And now after three kids, and one twin pregnancy that left my stretch-marks with stretch-marks of their own. Well I’d take back that seventeen year old figure that I hated so much any day.
I now worry about how these expectations will impact my own daughter.
So, when I got the opportunity to review the book Operation Beautiful by Caitlin Boyle i jumped at the chance.
See, in her own words Caitlin was her, “own worst enemy.” Putting herself down and suffocating herself in negativity the way so many woman (and men) do. And found herself in a public restroom staring at her own reflection when inspiration struck. She scribbled the words, “you are beautiful” on the paper and stuck it to the mirror.
The result? A worldwide campaign to change the way we look at ourselves and each other. She posted a photo of the note on her blog and started a tidal wave of do-gooder copy-cats sticking post it notes all over. The book is full of inspirational and personal stories of followers proclaiming the world and its inhabitants Beautiful.
Public restrooms, hospital walls, office elevators, self help books in bookstores. You name it, someone has posted it. One participant turned a stop sign into a mosaic makeshift billboard imploring drivers to, “stop (their) negative thoughts and feel beautiful.”
Another group of high school girls snuck in to the restroom after school and plastered the mirror with every inspirational idea they could think of in every color of post-it note under the sun. A veritable art installation proclaiming not only their beauty but the beauty of all the girls at the school.
And the phenomenon still continues live on operationneautiful.com A self proclaimed war against unrealistic expectations and negative thinking! With just a little bit of rebellion mixed in for good measure. What could be more fun?
I personally can not wait until my daughter is old enough to understand what this book is about. I think I’ll buy a case of post-it notes and take her on an operation of our own. We’ll plaster every skinny model magazine cover we can find with notes declaring the beauty of real people!
Then again, maybe I’ll start early with her big brother tomorrow! Don’t worry (mom) I’ll keep a copy of the book in my diaper bag to prove that I’m on a mission of justice and beauty, not a tagger.
But wait, there’s more! I’m going to give away one copy of the book to the reader that comes up with the best story of their own Operation Beautiful. No, I haven’t got confirmation from the publisher yet. But, I love this idea so much I’ll buy it myself if I have to! Just don’t tell my husband!
So, where are you going to leave your note(s)? On your own bathroom mirror to inspire yourself everyday? On your daughter’s mirror to remind her of how amazing she is? The possibilities are endless!
Come back here and tell me about your experience. I’ll choose one fabulously creative and inspiring story on September 10th by random.org to be the winner of the book. Happy posting!
Or if you can’t get to a post-it note soon enough let me now what you plan on, or would dream of doing. And then try to make it a reality later.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out this video here.
The book is also available in bookstores now, published by Penguin.