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!

I am an introverted person, and it’s okay

Introversion. A strength, not a weakness

In honor of May being Self-Discovery month, I wanted to share a recent discovery that I made about myself.

I’ve never been a very social person. Most of you might not know this, but I am a very quiet person. I’ve been this way my entire life, and it’s not that I’m shy or depressed or antisocial, I just prefer not to talk. I’m more of a listen-and-observe kind of girl.

Growing up I was always made fun of for being quiet. From 5th grade all through high school, I was labeled as “quiet girl”.

About introverted peopleI was always looked at differently just because I didn’t like talking. I lost the majority of my friends, because they thought it was un-cool to hang out with someone who didn’t talk or initiate conversation.

Everyone that I knew, including my family made it seem like being quiet was a bad thing. Not once in my life, including today, has a person told me that it was okay to be quiet, that it was okay to be me.

I started believing what everyone said. I thought for the longest time that something was wrong with me, that not being talkative was bad, I thought that maybe I would just snap out of it one day, but it never came.

Then, a few weeks ago, I made one of the most empowering discoveries about myself that I’ve ever made.

I was on Pinterest, I was looking at a bunch of inspirational quotes when I noticed one that really hit me hard. The quote was talking about Introverts.

Fact about an introvert person

I was completely moved, yet confused when I read this. How was being quiet an art? I always thought that being quiet was a bad thing. I wanted to know more, so I began researching and looking up more quotes.

I started with looking up the definition.

What are introvert people like?

Introverts (for those who don’t know) are people, who are very quiet and reserved. They are more interested in self-knowledge or self-understanding. Instead of going to a big social gathering they would prefer to stay at home and read a good book.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I felt like I had a disease my entire life and I was finally finding out what it was. This one sentence had described my entire life.

This glimmer of hope began to build in me, at realizing that I was not alone.

Famous people who are introverts

I also discovered that many of the world’s most famous and greatest people were introverts.

  • Albert Einstein
  • Steve Jobs
  • Emma Watson
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Warren Buffett
  • Rosa Parks
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Ingrid Bergman

Here are some more famous people who are introverts.

Continue reading

National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week – Ellie’s journey

Leading a great life with anxiety

It is Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week in the United States, and we got this beautiful post by Ellie. Check out what her advice is to all those who need to live with it every day and lead a happy life. Make sure you leave a comment below in case you have questions for her.

I was diagnosed with anxiety three years ago and have been living with it every day since.

Before I was diagnosed, I wasn’t really sure what was wrong with me. I had been struggling with going to college and talking to anyone but I thought it was because I just got out of my first relationship.

But it was much more than that.

Living with anxiety daily is definitely a struggle, but despite what people may think, there are days where you don’t notice it and you can be genuinely happy.

But there are days when you get so low and sometimes there’s not even an actual reason for you to feel that way.

Other times there can be a trigger, whether it be something small like seeing an advert or something big like an argument with someone.

For me personally, I get very anxious at night and find it hard to sleep. Other people suffer more during the day or throughout the day.

But despite the struggles that I face, there’s a lot I have learnt from having anxiety.

  • I’ve learnt that putting on a brave face is sometimes not always the best thing to do because talking to people about what you’re going through is very important. Even if they don’t quite understand, it can be very therapeutic.
  • Although, if you feel as though no one in your family or friendship group will understand, then talking to a professional is very important.

My counsellors helped me so much and taught me meditation routines:

  • Breathing in through your nose for seven seconds then breathing out of your mouth for eleven seconds.
  • If you practice these at a time such as when you wake up (or whenever you’re not feeling anxious/as anxious) then these will help for when you do get anxious and feel yourself panicking.

Surrounding yourself with negative people has an effect on your mental health, so toxic relationships/friendships can make your anxiety flare up.

But whatever the case, if you feel as though you do have anxiety, then please see a doctor. It is my advice to you.

I hope this can shed some light one what this issue really 

- Ellie

Ellie is one of the Original 10 of Ugly Ducklings Inc, and is our guest blogger for National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week. She lives in the UK, and is currently studying college. If you think you suffer from anxiety or depression, and need to talk to a professional, check our Resources page to contact someone that can help you.