There is a famous quote – “Be Yourself, No one else is better qualified.”
However, there is so much pressure to be someone else. We see it in fashion, friend groups, trends on Instagram and in person.
Being different is difficult. But….when we follow our own unique roadmap, and allow ourselves to be who we were meant to be, we can lead the way to a life journey filled with authenticity and purpose. Usually, when we do this, we meet others who are very similar. We find our peeps!
Here are some very unique and inspiring people who have done just this.
First up….Montana Kimel identifies as she/ her and is a queer, cis gender woman, who is following her mission to teach and inspire. She is currently living in Los Angeles as a Master’s student, studying a dual degree in Community engaged education and gender studies. Montana introduced herself as someone who lives in a small, fat body. She quickly backed that up to say, “that fat is not a bad word, rather it’s a descriptive word and that all bodies, are good bodies.”
Montana was always self conscious about her body image throughout her life. With beauty standards everywhere, they send a message about body type, but those types are not always reflected in reality. Montana described herself as a ‘body acceptance advocate’, who is trying to debunk myths about health and wellness. She says that fat has nothing to do with health. In fact, the stigma, has more of a negative impact on health, than actual fat itself. Therefore, we must unlearn these stereotypes and not make assumptions based upon body image.
Social media can also be a wonderful way to view all body types. We must seek out those communities and challenge our own body standards. Do not focus self worth on your body.
Montana then took us on an exercise to imagine a cute, fat puppy. “Think about what you would say to this puppy about their physical attributes? If that is what we’d say or think about a fat puppy, then why are we so hard on ourselves? Think of that puppy!”
Montana wants to live in a world that celebrates who we are as people and has nothing to do with what we look like; one which celebrates every body. We are diverse, so let’s celebrate all that with all and live in that beautiful world.
Our next speaker/performer was the wonderful Julia Simon. Julia has found her voice and we were so lucky to have her on our program to share her very unique story. She spoke about her invisible disability; one where her brain is wired differently. She said that she had to always fight for help that was required. In doing so, she learned to speak up for herself and found that music helped her to live! Then Julia went on to beautifully perform the fitting song, ‘This is Me’, from The Greatest Showman.
Next up, was our Shining Star, Logan Petersiel. Logan identifies themselves as they/them/their. Logan’s inspiring story has led them, not only to their own self discovery, but taking us on a journey to truly accept others for who they are and who they are meant to be. Logan spoke about leading their life as a non-binary tween and shared their truth. Sharing their story, is how Logan can make a difference. Logan spoke about their journey in coming out as non-binary and how it changed their life. Logan is also a childhood cancer survivor. So, they always felt different, as they described themselves as ‘a 1000 piece puzzle’. Logan shared some background into the language of pronouns and preferred names.
As part of the LGBTQ+ community they hope to promote kindness and supporting others. Respect preferred names and pronouns. Make others feel safe and secure. Logan referenced recent attacks on LGBTQ+ community and how important that support is for the community and how it has changed their own life. Logan spoke about their participation in Jake’s Jam and the music they shared. Logan thanked their family for their love and support and hopes that others will learn from their experience. They finished by saying that effort is more important than success. Continue to learn from people by making an effort. Such an important lesson!
Final words came from Lindsay at One2GiveTo who collected over 3000 books last week! They hosted a book fair and the books were given to a partner school. She spoke about the importance of reading, choice and dignity in receiving these books. Next, they plan to help yet another school. This fair will be organized by a high school in Malton, that seeks to help their entire community. Gently used books are appreciated, so check out their Instagram to see how you can support this wonderful initiative.
Thank you to all our guests for being who you are! Continue on your journeys and spread your messages of empowerment and kindness to all.