T-Shirts Remind Us to Love Ourselves
When we decided to devote a week on CollegeCandy to eating disorder awareness, we wanted to get some facts and statistics from the experts. We reached out to the people who study and know these diseases best, and in doing so, met Stacey, a survivor who is using her rough past to help others. We immediately fell in love with both this woman and her message and wanted to introduce her to you.
Here is Stacey’s story:
Don’t get me wrong, I love guys (I mean I LOVE guys), but what if the story had been different? What if Adam had emerged from Eve’s rib instead of vice-versa? Would we be living in an entirely different world? Would a woman’s success be gauged monetarily and a man’s physically? Would aggressiveness be seen as a feminine quality and submissiveness as masculine? Would women eat whatever they wanted while men counted every one tenth of a calorie? I have no idea, but I asked this five years ago when starting EvesRib.com, a company that promotes positive body image and self-esteem in girls and women through fashion, while donating a portion of our proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association. However, this was not the only thing that led to The Creation of Eve’s Rib.
I used to miss school because I was too ugly, miss parties because I was too fat, and miss life because I was too [insert any and all negative adjectives here.] It was assumed that I would grow out of this after high school, but things only got worse. While having a blast on the outside—seriously, an All-American, collegiate blast—I perfected the art of self-hatred on the inside, and no one was the wiser; sometimes not even myself.
After starving, binging, vomiting, over exercising, rinsing and repeating, I somehow sought help. The people to come to my aid were not trained professionals, yet had been immersed in the field for years. Some were young girls, just like me, others were older men I had nothing in common with, other than we all disliked ourselves. I met these people in a support group I had found online and soon began to truly care about them. I listened to them talk about themselves with the same hate I had been throwing at myself for years. Although there was a difference, they were all smart, beautiful, funny, useful, and capable people.
Then it hit me: if these amazing people hate themselves with the same force that I hate myself, just maybe I’m not so bad either. (If I were Oprah, I would call this my Aha! Moment, but I’m not, so I won’t.)
As I gained recovery, I realized that there are a lot of us who feel this way and need to be reminded multiple times a day that we are just “perfectly imperfect.” So I began creating t-shirts with messages like “Obsessing Over Pounds is for British Bankers” and “Know Your Beauty,” this way when we look in the mirror or pass someone else wearing a shirt, we remember to love ourselves if even for just that second.
Now here comes the part I did not anticipate. When I created EvesRib.com, I thought, I was “better,” and therefore, completely unaware of the recovery I’d receive through building this company. Constantly promoting loving one’s body really starts to stick after discussing it a hundred times a day. Though I originally started this project to help others, there is no doubt that I have reaped the most benefits. Of course, however, this does not mean that I am superhuman. At times, I still look in the mirror and balk at what I see; however these instances are now fewer and my rebound time is quicker. In seconds, rather than hours, I am able to realize that I am none of those things I sometimes feel and I never was.