#YouSparkle: Spreading Empowerment, 1 Sticky Note at a Time

IMG_7878

Kindness so often benefits the giver equally or more than the receiver. Last week’s #SparkleFriday event provided a poignant illustration for me.

Like other participants, the mission to engage in an act of kindness to share publicly on Black Friday highlighted thoughtfulness in my daily life. It also illuminated new opportunities and made me wonder what extra steps I could take in honor of our sparkly celebration.

My sister and her family were visiting that week, and I had this brilliant idea to engage my four nieces in a positive body image crusade. “Let’s plaster the city with positive body image affirmations!” Isn’t that every adolescent’s idea of a dream vacation? 😉

On the day I’d planned for us to paint the town empowered, I left the paper messages behind. So after they left for the airport, I took the messages around myself, figuring I’d post a few on public restroom mirrors. Then a funny thing happened; I didn’t want to stop.

My heart pounded and swelled as I placed messages of body-love and self-acceptance on mirrors, near gym scales and on store shelves housing risky diet products. In every instance, my thoughts spun back to the days when I could have used such messages; in fact, they could have helped save my life.

IMG_7891

I’m so grateful to be fully past a serious eating disorder and decades of body-hate, to see diet pills, scales and weight loss products without a smidgen of desire. To have time, energy and passion for pursuits that fill and enlarge my heart, rather than minimize and hurt me. To be able to give and connect with others. To be healthy, happy and alive. On the “alive” side of the paper messages.

As I placed one near diet shakes at a local grocery store, I spotted a woman slowly perusing weight loss pills nearby. I recall that trance-like state well—feeling torn, but desperate, as though the whole world is watching/judging/loathing you, when in fact, the judger/punisher is you. Our eyes met for a millisecond before hers darted away. Then she turned and shuffled away.

I sent her some loving thoughts, placed a message near the pills then headed to the restroom to post a few more. As I walked toward the store exit, I saw the woman again. She’d  returned to the diet pill section and stood staring at what appeared to be my note. I considered tactfully approaching her, when she took a phone call and wondered off. I have no way of knowing if the message influenced her, but the possibility moved me to tears.

IMG_7880

It breaks my heart that so many fall victim to the mega-machine known as the dieting and weight loss industry. While an estimated 3% currently develop full-fledged eating disorders, countless more develop disordered eating thoughts and behaviors that keep them from living full and vibrant lives. The epidemic runs so deep, it’s considered “normal” to follow restrictive diets, weigh our selves compulsively and tabulate calories (or fill-in-the-blank) as though they mean more than we do. The energy and money we as a culture invest into risky, ineffective body-altering tactics could end world hunger numerous times over. But it’s difficult to change when the negative messaging is so darn strong.

Back at home, I received responses to my mini affirmation crusade through Facebook and Instagram. “Can I do this, too?” one woman asked. “I need those!” said another. My friend KM Huber suggested we carry this on as a movement. It’s so simple, she pointed out—something anyone can do. (Did I mention that she’s brilliant?)

I imagined troops of women taking over the world with armloads of paper, scissors and tape! Um…

WAIT! I thought. Sticky notes!

I’m so pleased to announce the launch of #YouSparkle, a sticky note movement with an empowering purpose!

I’ve designed #YouSparkle sticky notepads, each of which provides 50 opportunities to empower others with a simple, uplifting message. You can add your own words or leave them as-is. Post them in public places, in your home or office or in a loved one’s lunch box, pocket, dresser drawer or Christmas stocking. Or simply keep them around as reminders that you’re beautiful precisely as you are.

More notes and designs will follow, but I think we’re off to a pretty spiffy start! I’ve included my website address on the notes so that finders can learn more and gain related resources, if desired. The hashtag is meant to inspire conversation.

You Sparkle sticky notes

To join me in spreading body-love this holiday season or any time, visit the new store section of my website to place an order. Prices range from $4 to $13  for 50 to 150 notes, and 100% of the proceeds support my mission to help women embrace their bodies, selves and sexuality and do away with all-too-common shame.

You can also support #YouSparkle by sharing your use of the notes throughout social media, including the hashtag, and interacting with and supporting others who post.

As I’m sure you’ve learned many times, words and messages, whether negative or positive, can change lives. I really believe that simple empowering gestures like this one can go a long way. Take it from the lady running around grocery stores with Scotch tape! Better yet, give it tape-free a try. If you do, I’d love to hear about it. ♥

Leave a comment

14 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful message and I think it could make a difference. If not for the transport price I’d get some myself but that’d be some expensive sticky notes.

    Not so sure I like the message though. “You’re gorgeous the way you are” is something I’ve heard so many times it feels redundant. Particularly because I know nobody is perfect and there are people I’ve met who I couldn’t stand and I’d never say anything like that to them and wouldn’t want to hear them say anything like that to me.
    I don’t know. I think it’s over-simplified, I guess.
    Perhaps, to me, the message ought to be something more along the lines of “you’re not just the sum of measurements and scale units”. Make people see that they’re more than their looks instead of trying to make them think looks don’t matter, because they do – just not as much as we like/hate to think.

    That doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an awesome idea. Great project!

    Reply
    • I’ve been thinking of adding downloadable cut-out-your-own docs with similar messages — and you could always create your own at home. Regardless, I’m glad you like the idea! More in-depth messages will follow, but I chose to start with the basics, and really believe we’re all gorgeous–inside and out. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Thank you for your wonderful words, August; they mean a great deal to me. Your huge heart, so open and so generous, helps people every day with loving who they are as they are. To me, that is the #YouSparkle movement, one note at a time. Thanks, again, for making so much possible for so many.
    Karen

    Reply
  3. I am dying to go to the mall and stick these on dressing room mirrors!!

    Reply
  4. I’ve surrounded myself with people who believe in positive body images, so it was shocking for me to talk to an old friend yesterday who has a poor self-image. I love the message behind this, April, and I hope I’ll be able to make a positive difference in her life (and others’ lives).

    (Let me know if you have any pointers of what I could say or how I could approach her about this. 😉 )

    Reply
    • The people in our circles make such a difference, don’t they?

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Gently bringing the issues up with her in private, without making any references to her appearance (if that’s part of her struggle) is generally a good starting point. Feel free to drop me a note if you’d like to share/hear more specifics. 🙂

      Reply
      • Do you have a “How to” post for helping friends/family with poor self-image? If not, maybe that’s a post idea for you. *hint hint* 😉

        In this specific case, she’s always talking down about herself, specifically her looks and how she’s getting older. After surviving an accident that totaled her car, her top concern was that she’d get “fat” because she hurt too much to do her usual exercise every day. 😦

  5. Catherine Johnson

     /  December 5, 2014

    That is such a wonderful thing to do August. Your reach will be far and wide with this great message. My six year old is already saying weird things about not wanting to be fat and she is very slim.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Catherine. She’s lucky you’re her mama! If I can ever help at all, please say the word. And thanks for the support!

      Reply
      • Catherine Johnson

         /  December 5, 2014

        She has another odd habit that you have covered. Maybe I’ll shoot you an email sometime 🙂

  6. Raani York

     /  December 7, 2014

    What a great message, August!! 🙂 It’s one of these times when I have difficulties to embrace anything, least my beauty or my body… I’m feeling weird and unwanted… I did enjoy your post anyway.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: