Campaign For Confidence is so much more than a mostly naked photo with strategically placed produce. It’s more than a Kale Yeah! Sticker stuck to a bathroom mirror. It’s more than a blog post… it’s a movement. It’s a celebration of our bodies + the journey to love them. The simple truth is that our insecurities run deep and it takes years of exploration, work and forgiveness to love + accept ourselves just the way we are. The path is flooded with tears, self-loathing and the ever present “I’ll start tomorrow” followed by one last pint of ice cream… sound familiar?
This blog series is devoted to telling the real life stories of the people behind the Campaign For Confidence photos.
Join the Campaign here.
Contact us to share your story in a future Conversation on Confidence! You must join the Campaign via a photo submission to get in on the conversation.
See all posts in this series here.
Roz. Roz and I met in a yoga studio. And then in another. I wanted to hug her before I knew her. I was drawn to her open heart and unapologetic quirky nature. She's among the Campaign For Confidence submissions that I photographed myself. In fact... in the middle of packing and getting ready to move from California to Texas (though at the time we had NO idea where we were moving to) Roz came over to celebrate the REALness that we were experiencing. She came over to say... I see you, I've been here. It's going to be ok -- pack your favorite coffee cup and ditch the rest and CHEERS to your adventures ahead! And so in the midst of boxes, rampant emotion and controlled chaos we marched up the stairs into the "good light" and took her Campaign photo. And it made my whole day.
When I think of getting REAL Roz is top of the charts. She's lived it. Tried it. Learned from it. AND chosen to live from the center of love in the most practical + moving way. I'm honored to introduce you to Roz + share some of her story here with you!
THEN + NOW + TOMORROW
Q: Who were you before you joined the Campaign For Confidence? Were you told or taught things early on in childhood that contributed to your self-confidence or lack thereof?
A: The Sunday Funnies spread out over the floor I sat and tried to decipher the pictures to see if I could make out the story. I could not wait until I knew how to read. My grandmother sat while my mother put curlers in her hair. “Rozzie come here!” my mother said sternly. I pull myself to my feet, and place myself at her side. Reaching her hand out to grab for my mid-waste mother states boldly “Rozzie you’re getting fat!” At that time my head could not compute FAT what is that? So I began the stomach grabbing exercise as the meter for FAT. Mom started me on Aid’s Candy with coffee in Kindergarten, restricted food diet when I did eat. I believe mom was trying to groom me into what society decided was perfect.
Kindergarten photo, my fat age.
I spent most/all my life wishing I could be someone other. Never accepting or knowing myself. I learned early that people could not be trusted and being “me” was not enough to be acceptable. Those early lessons served as the foundation for my beliefs and direction of my attitudes about self and others. In school I loved those girls, the popular ones who got good grades easily. They giggled on the bus huddled together, making plans of fun. They were the ones who became cheerleaders, class presidents and married well. I could be their friend, but we were not cut from the same cloth. You see I bought into the Ego chatter and discounted my gifts. I didn’t even know what my gifts were.
I was a troubled teen, self-hate, Alcohol, Bulimia & thoughts of suicide fueled my daily existence from my teen years well into my thirty’s. Multiple repeated cycles of abuse, addictive relationships, and disconnect with what I hoped for and what my life was.
In March 1993 I live in a home with my daughter, parents, brother, my sister and niece. I just got home from work, I am exhausted and I had been on Meth for a month. I weighed a little over ninety pounds with my 5’2” frame if I ate or slept it was minimal. My mother looks at me, and says, “You look so lovely.” I drug myself up the stairs and slink into the shower. The warmth of the water softly caresses my sore skull, softening my shoulders, and healing my spin. I thought to myself, “I am going to die.” My feet are numb and my limbs are blue, all the veins are showing, my heart wants to stop. “Enough…this is enough”, I tell myself. It is not our fault that this society values thin, youth or status. I clearly remember crying while driving, (my only private place) cringing with an over whelming guilt that what I was doing to be “gorgeous” was killing me, and associating my interior to the stinky, black mold that sludge that cakes the inside of the sink drain. That should have been the teller that I was not living a congruent life. That was an experience fueled by misdirected beliefs.
Q: Who are you now?
A: Now. I love myself. I love myself more than any other person can or ever will. That is a huge gift of the work I have done.
Q: What are you still working on?
A: I'm always learning to be patient with my body. I had a hysterectomy in January and shoulder repair surgery in May. My body has been through so much and there are things I came to recognize that I just could not do. As a means of not fighting to be beauty bound, I colored my fun platinum hair with sassy long bangs to a short, brown pixie. I just could not lift my arm to do my hair. I tell myself to keep it simple… my inner beauty is not defined by my exterior appearance.
I am still learning to listen to myself. And I know when I don’t, I feel stuck in the mud. It is hard to wake up in the morning, I become congested, or I get the ever awful migraine.
I'm also learning to ask for help. Of course, in the process of learning limitations, I see where I put too much of myself out and then resented that others did not naturally step up to assist me. I had to recognize that I set myself and others up for disappointment, less so than just saying, “Can you please help me?” It felt like jumping off a bridge at times. So the practice and path is still ahead of me. There is no such thing as done, good or bad, right or wrong, each bumping of the head leads to the next experience. Really I'm just learning to see the miracles that are in each lesson.
Q: Was there a moment of truth in your life when everything changed?
A: It took divorce from a violent man for me to get into Yoga. The path to health and healing began there. It was through Yoga that I came to want to change my beliefs and life direction. What I have found is that each person’s path is different. We can learn something, we can then come to believe something, and we continue to practice something, then it will become your own.
Loving myself has increased my sense of self. When I practice Yoga in all areas of my life my experience is one of peace. I know an internal peace. My Internal Self is Timeless in contrast to the reflection of the mirror that is a time bound forty-nine year old with wrinkles and flaws, a clear contradiction to the internal scenery when I feel present. My Internal Self is youthful, healthful, ever loving, and sweet.
Q: Food is a powerful vehicle for change. What role does food play in your life?
A: Just as each day is new, so is my relationship with food. Since I worked with Lacy, my understanding of food has grown. Identifying what food ‘is’ and what it ‘is not’ has given me greater respect for the life giving force that it provides. I like food as medicine. I eat roots to ground me, I eat leafy veggies and fruit to lighten up. I love to garnish my smoothies with pansies & zucchini blossoms to encourage joy in my heart. I love the complexities of teas and I look at coffee more like an herb to be used sparingly. I have a garden with zucchini, kale, tomatoes, several types of mints (I love to make tea) and cilantro. I enjoy eating food right out of the ground, it is such a joy.
I found a soy chorizo from Trader Joe that makes a great starter to both the zucchini or kale sauté dishes and I allow myself to experiment with food. I love my Mila (Chia product) in my smoothies I notice that it really helps my nails grow.
Q: What is inspiring you lately?
A: All I can think of reading this question is Jen. One of my yoga instructors Jeff Lang just got married to his finance Jen Bulik-Lang who was diagnosed with Lung Cancer last December. She has an idea of ‘when’ she is going, so it would appear between now and then… Live. She lives with abandon, she allows herself to be silly, change her wig color, dance with joy and love with enthusiasm, Jen is a light. I see this love of life in so many of my Yogini friends, Lacy, Giselle, Anne, Prajna, Matese, Emily, Erica, Jenn Field and on and on. The loving support is the most attractive aspects of yoga for me.
My family was directly affected by Lung cancer in 2010-2011 when my sister- in -law Rae Lui (who was also a Yoga instructor) was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and spent a year in and out of the hospital before she passed. As with my brother Nick, my heart just goes out to Jeff & Jen. The one thing that really impressed me about Jen’s diagnosis is her focus on living. Really? Yes, really.
Q: Is there one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s in need of encouragement regarding their body, body-image, self-confidence, food, or life in general?
A: Live. Listen to yourself. Journal. Everything belongs. Shatter the myths of diets. Be Patient with yourself and others. Know that you matter, and that you are perfect and beautiful. Love yourself more than anyone else ever can. You can do great things, just by giving your smile. Much peace and love I wish for you on our journey of life.
Thank you, Roz! I am so honored to share some of your story and to have you in my life! Love you big time!
You can connect with Roz via Facebook.
To donate to Jen you can click here or mail to: Jen Bulik-Lang 650 Castro Street, Suite 120-280 Mountain View, CA 94041
They are 75% to their goal for her Bucket List vacation to Hawaii!
post format inspired entirely by Kelly Rae’s Possibiltarian Project Interviews.