I’ve been trying to think of how to write this particular blog post for a while. I have been so excited to talk about my platform, I just wanted to find the perfect way to do it. I wanted it to be good enough for my lovely readers. I began to stray away from what I was trying to teach others with my platform, and I decided that this post would be a more personal one.

My platform is Self Acceptance and Empowerment, and as much as I’d like to think that I’ve found the secret to living a wonderfully happy life filled with acceptance, I, like the majority of the population, still struggle on almost a daily basis.

Something we all need to remember is that perfection is an illusion. Between taking a photo, and posting it on the internet or publishing it in a magazine, there is a gap dedicated to altering the viewer’s perception of beauty through photoshop. Individuals come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no “ideal” body type. Whether you are a size 2 or 22, you are gorgeous.

Originally I wanted my platform to focus more on individuals like myself, who live, or have lived with physical disabilities whether visible or not. For example, my hip dysplasia, the cause of both of my hip reconstructions, was only visible through a “waddle” I had when I walked, or the forearm crutches I used to help me get around. Now, my only reminder of the past is two fading scars and a small limp when I walk. I wanted to use my experiences to empower other youth who spend a great amount of time in hospitals, encouraging them to understand and believe that their illness or disability doesn’t define them. However, through my last 3 months as Miss Teenage North Calgary, I have been made more aware of the other illnesses and disabilities people face.

Finding ways to incorporate my crutches into family photos.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at a young age, and through high school, they both found their way to suffocate any feelings of love I had for myself. It was another huge challenge for me to get out of bed some mornings with the knowledge that I would be plagued with the face of depression yet again. One day, I saw a photo on instagram by an account called Wear your Label They had a shirt that read “It’s okay not to be okay”. This idea slowly began to change my perspective. I eventually no longer felt that my mental illness was my fault, and I slowly stopped feeling the pressure to force myself to feel happy. Through further exploration I found that there was a whole community who was dedicated to empowering individuals like myself, and just how many lives had been changed by this ideology.

I saw the importance of not only empowering individuals with physical illnesses and disabilities, but the mental ones as well. This led to my passion for encouraging others to see themselves in the best way, to love themselves the best they can, and to see how truly incredible they really are.

Emily, Miss Teenage North Calgary 2017

Written by: Emily

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