How telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life – Part Two

Telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life

Wait for just a single sec! Before you read Part Two of Emily’s story, head here

The first meeting of Beautifully Made was eye opening in its own way and not in the way that I had initially expected. The young ladies who attended were those that I knew back in my high school days and had not talked to in over two years.

Actually, the last time I remember genuinely having a conversation with them was at a funeral for someone we all knew either from church or school. After the death everyone fell apart, whatever problems we each had were pushed to the forefront and we just spaced apart.

Incidentally, this is what we talked the most about because many of them had pinpointed the death to the most difficult moment of whatever addictions and demons they had.

This seemed to bring out a lot of confessions that at the time they would never confess to. All of them were “recovered,” but they never would tell others because of shame, and the fear of being thought of as “crazy.” None of us agree with the term “recovered” because there is no end to recovery.

There are good days and bad days, but the point is this mere fact is why we all needed to be a part of this support group.

It’s the fear of judgement

We all need a safe place where we are not called “crazy,” but can identify pieces of ourselves within one another. What keeps the majority of people from talking about hard moments in their lives is the fear of the judgment and the cruel words that always seems to follow that judgment.

Let go of fearEven when people receive the treatment that they need, words still hurt; we just learn better ways to cope with the pain we feel. This became extremely apparent to me the next morning when I was talking to a woman that I often see at the gym I attend.

She had overheard me invite her daughter to the meeting and she approached me the next day to confess that she used to have an eating disorder and she is still having a lot of difficulty with her addiction.

She was afraid to come to the meeting because of her fear of others knowing she had a few problems.

My eyes are now open to how common such fear is and what actions need to be taken.

Those with any kind of addiction or emotional problems should not be looked down on in shame just because others do not understand the battles they have had to face. There is a certain level of ignorance that is still held by many in the world today concerning psychological issues, and all things related with how the mind works differently for different people.

Anyone struggling with a mental health issue should be able to reach out freely without concerns of stigmatization.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I do not know how to solve this problem, but maybe, just maybe this could be the very first step to making it happen.

- Emily

Emily is 20 years old, and lives in North Carolina. For years she struggled with depression, an eating disorder, and self-harm. About five years down the line she decided to share her story in the hopes of helping others with similar struggles. After the idea came about, the rest is history.

Rest in Peace Robin Williams

Robin Williams was the voice of the Genie. Try to fight depression

Don’t you feel like you just lost a long-life friend?

Someone who taught you how to laugh, how to cry? How to laugh and cry at the same time?

Robin Williams passed away yesterday, August 11th, and according to media reports, he had been fighting some depression demons for a long time.

You think that people who are always doing funny things and making people laugh are just showing the rest of the world what they are experiencing inside… well, sometimes it’s just their own way to cope with the problems and aches they have inside.

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out if you feel depressed

“I’m sad”. We all go through moments when we cannot deal with our inner feelings and we look for ways to escape. Perhaps we can’t seem to see an exit door. Here, at Ugly Ducklings Inc, we have been fortunate enough to create a supportive community, where people in need might come to us and ask for advice. At the same time, we have some amazing group of people who are willing to say some words of encouragement at the moment they most need it.

After the sad news of Robin Williams’ passing, and how everyone has felt touched by his leaving us, it is very important that we reinstate, and encourage you to look for someone who can help you, as there will always be someone willing to be there for you. As Sky Williams said in his video “A message to the Depressed”, always try to look for someone who is near you, a friend, a therapist, a relative. If not, you can try the different hotlines available.

We have a list of resources that you can turn to if you need to. Just click here.

And to all those who have been in close contact with depression, either because of a friend, a relative, or because you yourself are suffering, this message is for you…

“I’d like to live in a world where happiness is as easy as buying a soda in a vending machine. But it’s harder than that.”

Special thanks to The Telegraph and MindFullUK for sharing this beautiful video.

I feel empty and alone

I feel empty and alone

Hello ducklings!

I have a problem that has been bothering me for quite a while.

I turned to a member of the Ugly Ducklings team and I got the idea of ​​publishing my problem here, since you are all amazing and you can probably help me.

A while ago I realized that I felt “empty” and alone, and I was filling my life with activities and hobbies that I did not necessarily want to do. But anyway I gave them a try. However, I realized it wasn’t really something I liked and I quit.

Since then I’ve been trying to find myself again.

 

But it is very difficult because that’s something I must do alone I think. So I started to engage in new activities that I like, in order to find where I want to go in life.

It went well, but when I’m home alone or at work where there is no people who are talking to me constantly I start feeling very apprehensive and nervous.

I’m worried, because I can’t focus and I keep thinking that time passes very slowly, and that makes me feel like I want to run away. When I’m alone in my house it’s not as drastic as when I’m at work, but still, I have days when I think about whether I’m doing things right or not.

Anxiety comes to me like a storm, so I end up eating a lot of sweets. The last time I did that was two days ago. I’m triying to stay calm and think positively and I would really love it if you guys could help me with any kind of advice or encouraging words.

Thanks in advance!

- Ariel*

Ariel is a fellow ugly duckling who has been part of the community for around a year. She is 19 years old, and she wrote an Ugly Duckling Story that we posted a few months ago.

If you have any words of advice please add them as a comment below. Thank you. We will make sure she reads them.

Public shaming because of something you’re eating!?

Public shaming for eating food

Your body. How conscious are you of it? Of the way you look? Of the way people might see you?

It’s the society, really, and I think that media has a huge influence in this too. The constant input of photos, TV shows, and films showing slim figures and girls who might not seem from this world (and some are really not, as they are significantly modified thanks to graphic editor programs) make you think twice about your figure.

But then there’s other girls -and boys too, don’t forget boys- who don’t feel like they have to subscribe to this image of what a “perfect body” is, and they feel perfectly fine with their current weight.

And what if you are eating something while walking to work? Or perhaps indulging in a scrumptious cupcake that you promised yourself as a reward if you finished your paper on time?

What if someone stopped you or caught your attention while you’re in the bus, nibbling on a yummy snack, just to make you feel bad about what you’re eating? That’s one kind of street harassment no one talks about these days. 

That’s the reason why we wanted to share this with you. No one has a right to criticize you or make fun of you because of what you’re eating in public. Don’t let them get you. Click here to watch this interesting discussion on the subject.

How would you respond to someone who mocks you because of your figure or what you’re eating? Tell us in the comments.

The power of music

celebrate-music-banner

Music, an everyday concept that we often take for granted. It is everywhere, all around us, and we’re often not even aware of it anymore. Yet, it is the one thing that connects us as human beings. Like Hans Christian Andersen once cleverly pointed out: “where words fail, music speaks.”

Music is a form of language that is commonly understood by every human being on the globe.

  • It brings joy, comfort and liveliness into the world.
  • It can communicate emotions like no other.
  • It can create mutual understanding between people from different social backgrounds, ethnicities and social classes.

Music inspires. That, to me, is the true beauty of it.

To celebrate this form of art and to encourage amateur and professional musicians to step out of their comfort zone and perform in public areas all over the world, Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) has been introduced.

World Music Day - June 21Over 108 countries and 726 cities around the world yearly participate on 21st June and offer free concerts and music events in streets, parks, squares, public and commercial buildings. It is the perfect way to get together and to enjoy music styles of all sorts. At the same time, it promotes the connection between city centers and rural areas, not leaving anyone out.

For amateur musicians Fête de la Musique is the perfect opportunity to reach out and let other people hear what they have to offer. Even for professional musicians it is a great chance to get a feeling of what it is like to perform in front of a different backdrop than the usual concert hall. The events during this day also promote the encounter and exchange between amateur and professional musicians.

And I just had to show you this example. A flashmob in the Copenhagen metro that I saw recently.

Fête de la Musique was established by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, in 1982. He discovered in a study on the cultural habits of the French, that five million people (one child out of two) played a musical instrument. This was the beginning of his dream to bring these people out on the streets and make music accessible to everyone. And it obviously worked! Starting in France, the event soon spread out across the world and still gets picked up by new countries every year. If that isn’t an indication that music is important, I honestly don’t know what is.

To see where Fête de la Musique is celebrated in your area (and how you can participate), visit their website!

Comment below and tell us what music means to you!

- Maaike (UDI Research Assistant)

Josh Dallas NAHS charity fundraiser

Hello Ugly Ducklings. 

Today’s post is dedicated to our great friends, partners, and favorite people from the Charming Angels community and the fans and admirers of actor Josh Dallas from the tv show Once Upon a Time.

Last year we united forces for our first charity competition, where we had the support of these wonderful people. With their help, we raised $600 for Mental Fitness Inc!

Now, we want to help them spread the word on their new campaign in favor of Josh Dallas’ high school’s theater department.

They’ll do a series of raffles starting on June 9th and you only need to donate a small amount of money to participate and get a chance to win one of these!!!

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 1 – Novel signed by Josh

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 2. Complete Season 1 DVD signed twice by Josh

Make sure you read all the instructions over at their website: Josh Dallas NAHS Theater Dept. Charity Drive.

If you can’t donate money, then there’s something that’s free and super easy to do: tell others about this, so more people can help and support this great cause.

Stay awesome Ugly Ducklings. And thank you!

Swan Out,
- Marie

30 days of hope project

JUNE is HERE! That means that #30DaysOfHope begins now!

Ugly Ducklings, we know that through this community we have helped, support and encourage lots of people, and both our lives as well as theirs have been touched by the positivity and the advice that we post here.

Two of our dear friends from when we got this movement going, Zachery, and Amy  -who are part of the Once Upon a Fan website- came to us to get this thing going. What better way to bring each other up than with #30DaysOfHope? 

So come! Don’t miss this for the world! Remember to follow us on Twitter, @UDucklingsInc, as well as @TheZachVan, and @Amylia403

30 Days of Hope

How telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life

Beautifully made
We are still in awe with this beautiful post by Emily, whose Ugly Duckling Story we shared a couple of months ago. Here’s part 1 of Beautifully Made. Make sure you leave comments for her below!

Ever since I shared my story with Ugly Ducklings Inc, my perception on events have changed and many of them I saw mirrored in my daily life.

The idea of Beautifully Made came up about a year ago, but I really had no basis for it when I was still battling within myself. However, I decided to re-launch this cause recently because the timing was finally right.

After I finally got my story out there it has been easier to smile and I want others to be able to feel that joy as well. Recently I revisited my old church where many teenage girls were talking about their life problems and that is when I realized that maybe the deep scars only brought by those closest to you are not that uncommon.

There were a massive amount that were abandoned by their fathers or were abused and each of them seemed to be taking it out on themselves. Whether with cutting, an eating disorder, or drugs, they were experiencing shame and pain beyond measure because of what someone else had done to them.

What Beautifully Made was created for is a safe haven for these young ladies to share their stories and gradually come to the point of acceptance. Teaching them that what may have happened was never their fault and to try and teach them to love every part of themselves.

When someone has hurt you to the point of destroying a large part of you, there is a space of darkness that eats you alive.

Only when you accept what happened, forgive whoever had done it, and release that pain can you really go forward.

That is the objective that I am trying to accomplish with this growing group. No story is too deep and damaged that you cannot recover from it.

The core of what we stand for is within Psalm 139, it is a very good projection of what we will all try to understand about ourselves and the world around us.

Psalm 139

We are starting as a small group meeting at a friend’s house and a Facebook page, but I am hoping that we can make the idea spread.

This is not just a problem in the small state of North Carolina, it is worldwide. Even giving just the smallest bit of hope to those going down similar paths that we have previously walked through can mean all the difference.

Even if you are still recovering from old wounds you can help influence others for the better.

I guess I’m just trying to say that whatever you have been through or are going through, every piece of you is beautiful.

- Emily

Emily is 20 years old, and lives in North Carolina. For years she struggled with depression, an eating disorder, and self-harm.  About five years down the line she decided to share her story in the hopes of helping others with similar struggles.  After the idea came about, the rest is history.

Skin Cancer Awareness month

get your moles checked to prevent skin cancerWhen people hear the word cancer they can’t help but feel a little scared.

Even if they haven’t suffered from it themselves the chances of knowing someone who is living with or has died from cancer are big.

People do a lot of things to help others and to protect themselves: they raise money for cancer research organizations, they do self-examinations of their body, they get vaccinations, but what about the little things like,

  • Not staying out in the sun for long periods of time between 10am and 4pm
  • Avoiding getting a tan, and UV tanning booths
  • Maybe just remembering to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of other commont types like breast cancer.

It is said that one in five Americans will develop it in the course of a lifetime. So, why aren’t people doing everything in their power to stay safe during the sunny days?

Because they want to hide their natural pale skin.

They go through desperate -and dangerous- actions to get what they want without thinking twice about the risks. But why do they so desperately want a tan? Having a tan isn’t something society has brought on.

Yes, people who go get a tan might have gotten inspired by seeing a specific celebrity and want to get it themselves, but in style, there’s nothing that says you have to have either a tanned or paled skin.

Both are in style.

Melanoma

Jennifer Morrison, moles removedIn November 2011, actress Jennifer Morrison did an interview with US Magazine called “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me: Jennifer Morrison”. Most of them were fun facts about her, but number 22 was more serious.

“22. I have seven scars from having moles removed.
One was a melanoma, six were precancerous. Get your moles checked!”

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Continue reading

It’s International Day Against Homophobia

Be true to yourself What better way to be part of this important day than with an interview with these girls?

The road to equality is still a rocky one but if we all keep talking about respect, and tolerance, we may gain some extra yards quicker.

We had the amazing chance to chat with actress Andrea Verdura, and her beautiful girlfriend, Angela, who talked to us about being gay, finding true love, and most importantly being true to yourself.

Here’s our pop quiz part of the interview (and just wait until Andrea gives us a surprise when she answers what her favorite fairy tale is!)

And, for our second part of the interview, here are some of the things they had to say…

  • People never think that being heterosexual is a phase.
  • Straight men make comments like they think they can change you.
  • Any kind of change starts closest to us and then it spans outward.

Their advice, their outlook towards life, and their future projects just made us forget that homophobia even exists! Let’s keep in our minds that we can also make part of the change, ugly ducklings.

Leave us a comment and tell us what you loved the most about our chat. And if you seek any kind of support from the LGBT community, you can check our Resources page.

Until next time Ugly Ducklings…
- Swan Out!