On Jan 25th I shared this on my newest Instagram account, This Is Brave.
“My name is Julie.
Why did I start This Is Brave?
A good chunk of my early adulthood I spent so much of my time lacking self-esteem and struggling to cope with my feelings built upon a challenging childhood. In 2006 I met two ladies who shared their stories of recovery and it changed everything. I struggled to feel alone and ashamed to talk about it. But hearing their stories made me believe there were health and hope in time. Recovery didn’t happen overnight, nor was it a simple formula. No, it took more than a few new ways of looking at life, learning to trust, practising assertiveness, saying goodbye at times, and ultimately learning to forgive. Not easy. From there, it was re-teaching all the skills I didn’t learn as a child and again, not easy. But those ladies gave me hope, they inspired me and I believed in their stories. Although my story was so different than theirs, they profoundly spoke to me. I had a dream after that journey. One that not only inspired women to share their stories but also a place that spoke to us like those women spoke to me. To break the silence that we must struggle alone, too afraid of misunderstanding. Yes, some people may misunderstand, but because they have their own story. And those who don’t, who open their arms to you, know the value you hold despite your story because they have been there too. Secondly, I want to inspire beauty beyond what the magazine cover shows us. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin has been a journey that I promised myself I would stay true to. To learn to love each wrinkle, curve, flatness, bulge, and more and create a space again that focused on the belief that all women are beautiful and not because of what they look like but because of who they are and the strength they hold beyond the surface.
Thank you for being here, for supporting each lady who shares her story.”
On January 8th, I launched something I have had in the works for just over 6 months. I only shared my ideas and plans with one person with the fear I wouldn’t be able to pull it off or feared I would lack the confidence to do it (thankfully that person was beyond encouraging and believed in me more than I believed in myself at times). I had this dream well before 6 months ago. It was after battling my own issues with self-confidence, depression and a life-altering eating disorder I remember clearly feeling like I had to do something to advocate for these battles, what it was I was not sure and for years I forgot about my dream. At 31, while driving to a shoot it came to me. It took 6 months to think through the logistics, create a site and gain enough confidence to step out in it. On January 8th, I did it. It was my birthday and I could not have thought of a better day to publicize the dream I have been dreaming.
To learn more I have it posted in more detail on my “who we are” sections of the This Is Brave website. But to give you a general idea, This Is Brave is a blog that was created to not only inspire women to share their stories but also to create a place that gave other to know they are not alone in their trials. We all have them, everyone does. We don’t always see them and sometimes with social media, we really do believe some people couldn’t be or haven’t struggled in their life, but that is simply not true. We all have a story.
We have had three amazing ladies share their stories so far, everything from struggles with miscarriages, infertility and post-partum anxiety. This blog is going to branch into much more. I am incredibly inspired by women facing cancer in their spouse, saying “no” to domestic violence and more.
This Is Brave is a place for no judgement, for women of all shapes, sizes, colours, religions and more to share their story. I personally will also be sharing my story this Monday morning specifically hoping to reach young girls who struggle with body issues and food issues.
I also plan to recommend some amazing shops and blog that continue to inspire me and give back as well as a few government mental health resource links you can also find on the blog. I am so excited for 2018 and all this little blog has to offer. Although I am not currently taking submissions please check back in the next couple months if you feel this is something in your heart to do. Thank you for continual love and support.
And if you need a song for today, “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman is your song.
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or counsellor nor are the authors of the blog posts. Please no these posts are written from personal experience and we always recommend you talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about your health.